For the past few months, I’ve been consumed with the idea of making “different” books. I’ve tried some soft covers, some Coptic bindings, some upcycling which were all fun stuff, but last week I felt the need to get back to the traditional, case-bound hard covered book. I started a batch of five and it proved to me several things. As much fun as the other books are, I don’t feel as if they are Real books and I get more satisfaction out of making a book I know will last than the novelties. They are fun, but transient. I can’t imagine that my hanging books or the floppy diskette books will be around in fifty years; the hard covers could be. That said, I know I’ll still make both kinds.
These are last week’s books.
These aren’t actually finished. They still need casing in. The fifth book has a leather spine, so it is taking a bit longer.
As much as I enjoyed the marbling class, I felt a bit frustrated by it. Since I was demonstrating, teaching and helping everyone, I didn’t have time to do any real work myself. I hadn’t expected to, but still … When I finally finished cleaning up everything and reorganizing my basement, I wanted to spend some time doing some real marbling. Here again, I have been playing with a lot of different techniques (over-marbling, masking, figures) and wanted to go back to form and color. One of the best things about marbling is that it’s so easy even a child can do it, yet it can take years to truly master different techniques. Maybe like playing a drum!
Again, my last few marbling sessions have been caught up in special effects. This time I was determined to slow down and enjoy exploring color and pattern. Turned out to be a great idea. I’ve had a marvelous week, in spite of the usual frustrations! Tuesday and Wednesday were unusually productive and so far I’ve produced over 50 pieces. And that’s not counting the “tray fillers”.
Again, my basement becomes my Studio and some of the papers.
Lots of things going on here! As you may be able to see, I tried to stay with a single color palette for several sheets, making small change in color and design from sheet to sheet. It’s hard to tell from the pile, but there are probably five or six sheets of each colorway. You can see it most clearly in the black set. I used only black, grey, white and one accent color for each sheet. I used the same pattern, but changed the size of the comb and the rake. The feel of the piece becomes quite different. The Dark blue set was on a very stiff card stock and is generally a mess. I haven’t used anything that heavy in a while and it takes getting used to! Since it doesn’t bend easily, it is very easy to catch air bubbles and the technique used to lay the paper on the marbling tray is a bit different. As you can see from the closeup, I was also having some problems with contamination in the tray about that time. With marbling, there is always something to keep me on my toes.
I love doing maps and did a batch from atlases, road maps and street directories. I also cut a Pennsylvania highway map into strips that would fill the tray when I was doing smaller pieces. Not sure what I’ll do with them, but they’ll come in useful some day. If not, I know a number of collage artists who will use them. My favorite map was the one of Turkey done in browns and yellows. It reminds me so much of the time I spent there many eons ago, travelling across from Afghanistan. Couldn’t do that now.
Marbling is always interesting and always a bit of a surprise. The colors are never quite what I expect, sometimes better, sometimes not. And there’s always that dreaded air bubble just waiting to spoil the perfect piece!
Now that summer is really here, my marbling trays will probably remained packed up. I just have to start using up or selling all this wonderful paper so I can make more!