My friend Amy Tavern, a jeweler and artist, tagged me to participate in a Blog Tour and to tag three blogs that I like to read. Amy is one of the reasons I started keeping a blog. I was inspired by her commitment to her blog, and the way she posted about her process and artists that inspired her work. I've been keeping this blog since 2009 and if you go back to the first posts, you will see what feels like a completely different person to me now. That's what's so fascinating about these things, they're records of our transformations as people and artists.
I love reading artist's blogs, I subscribe to dozens of them and read them every day like a morning paper. These three blogs, I selected because they combine images of process and work with insightful musings on daily life and all the highs and lows of being an artist. They all also happen to be people I have known at some point through Penland School of Crafts.
Michelle Moode is a printmaker and bookbinder who lives in Spruce Pine, NC. Her work feels like an ongoing collection of ephemeral visual experiences and thoughts. I recently spent two weeks with Michelle at the Paper Book Intensive, making paper, books, and generally having an incredible time. Her blog is a mix of process and personal reflections.
Christina is makes gorgeous furniture and sculpture, primarily in wood. I got to know her when we were roommates for two years at Penland as Core Fellowship students. She is originally from Germany and lives in rural Virginia with her husband. Her blog includes images of her process and wood shop, and also lots of envy inducing images of things on the farm that she and her husband grow, can, and eat.
Jean is an artist and educator who lives in Chicago. I met her in a class at Penland six years ago. She makes graphic novels, which are funny, honest, and truly unique, and somehow coaxes the most amazing Photoshop work out of middle schoolers I have ever seen. She is also a fearless traveler, and those experiences are recorded in her blog.
I had a studio visit yesterday, a process that is at once terrifying, exciting, relieving, and question forming. It's terrifying to expose new work to criticism, but it's exciting to talk about it out loud to someone who cares. It's a relief to realize you have a place in the room, to ask questions and participate, to be seen and heard, but it's a process, at least when done right, that brings many new questions and challenges to the table. I feel grateful to have the opportunity to do this, and thankful to the people that gave me their time. It's a good thing, to have all these new things I have to think about.
I thought of my heart being hunted
behind the surface of heaven
this happened before your father was woven
before your biting son
I saw it a long time from being
I saw it crossing inlets of limestone despair
This week, I made some books and boxes for myself, something I don't do that often. It's fun and good practice, I often make things for myself to try out something I don't normally do or brush up on techniques. I made myself a notebook with a "magical symbols" print I made while at Paper Book Intensive for end papers.
:: egyptian inspired symbols, relief printed end papers ::
:: rounded spine with cloth headband, the cover boards are beveled to fit the curve ::
:: embossed leather, it was one of my samples from Paper Book Intensive ::
In order to solve my problem of not enough flatfile storage space, I've also been practicing my clamshell boxes, in various sizes and shapes, and seeing how fast I can make them. It's like doing time trials to qualify for the imaginary Bookbinding Olympics.
:: Deep clamshell box for storage ::
:: ephemera storage problem solved ::
When I'm in between projects or not feeling the thunderbolt of inspiration, getting my hands moving clears my head and reboots the thinking process, and if not, I have a new notebook and some fancy clamshell boxes!
I've been working on a project titled "Oracles" that combines digital stills with experimental writing pieces. The project emerged from an interest in the concept of "creative utterance", the ability to create by speaking specific words. The source text of all these pieces is the Egyptian Book of the Dead. To create these poems, this source text is run through translation software in dozens of languages to intentionally mistranslate them. Through this process spontaneous new content emerges. The results are unexpectedly lyrical and strikingly visual and the original text is completely transformed. The texts are then edited into short poems.
I would like to make these into an artist's book and video installation. Sight and sound shimmering in and out of focus. Interpreting the oracles.