Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas weekend workshop

So it's the second day of Christmas, and you eat leftovers from your Christmas feast, police up the torn wrapping paper and ribbons, get the chairs put back where they belong and your dining room table back to its original configuration, take a walk if the weather is at all decent.  Then it's the third day of Christmas and aren't you getting a little antsy to be done with it all?  Aren't you getting a little tired of the Christmas carols on the radio? Isn't it time for some art?

Fortunately, my favorite local museum, The Carnegie Center for Art and History, knew we would be feeling this way and held a workshop on altered books.  The leader was Ehren Reed, who works in various permutations of mixed media, especially books.  And since the Carnegie Center is a branch of the Floyd County Public Library, it was easy for them to find a whole load of deaccessioned library books for us to work with.

Ehren told us our first decision had to be whether to retain the "bookness" of our book -- in other words, keep the format so you can turn the pages and see what's inside -- or use it for sculpture.  Most of the others at the workshop chose bookness, but much as I love playing with text, it takes a lot of time to find poetry and I wanted a project I could finish in four hours.  So I went for sculpture.

At first I didn't know what I wanted to do, so I proceeded to cut my book apart.  When I got the pages detached from the spine and covers, I realized that the back was gorgeous, sewed in different colors of thread and stained from some mysterious event in its past.  I cut the pages away so the back was only about 1/2 inch tall.

That was nice, so I deconstructed two more books, found their backs to be equally interesting, then made this composition using one of the covers as a support.

Best of all, I now have hundreds of loose book pages that I can use in subsequent art projects.  Lots of poetry to be found there, or perhaps lots of support for collages.  Or who knows what else.

Altogether, an excellent way to spend the third day of Christmas.

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