Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, change of mind

I'm suffering from change-of-mind-itis, which is linked (medically speaking) to anxiety about my New Year's resolutions/everything and can probably only be resolved by a brain-ectomy, which I hope isn't happening any time soon. I guess I'll just have to live with myself, as usual. On the bright side, it's only January 2nd and I've clocked up hours in the studio! Hurrah!

While I was there I realised why my earlier idea of making a leporello sadly won't work: my darling Epson printer takes maximum A3 sized paper, and an A3 sized sheet of paper folded down into a leporello results in a few folded pages measuring approximately 7.5cm x 10cm which is very small. Even doing something on A3 etching paper such as 280gsm Hannemuhle will result in something fairly unsubstantial - hardly worth bothering with and definitely too small to fiddle about making a hard cover or a box.

Hmmm. So what should be Plan V? I've been through so many! And then I took a look at my bookshelf and noticed the fortuitous alignment of the Lark book of 500 Handmade Books and Carol Barton's The Paper Engineer, Volumes I & II.

I really, really want the form of my book to convey something about the physicality of the ideas within it. As mentioned before I struggle with the structure of my books before anything else (although content implicitly gets a mention in my thought processes along the way). What intrigues me most about Jeanette Winterson's text is the image I have in my mind of the boys crawling round among the scrolls, making tunnels and running up and down ladders to find things. And the second thing that intrigues me is what might have been included in the library.

I wondered if I could adapt an accordion structure with a folded cover to represent the tunnels through the greatest collection of knowledge available in the world at that time. This afternoon I played with a sheet of A3 paper, slit lengthways and joined together at the thin end to make a long strip that I could fold into an accordion book. Then I made "ladders" from tapered strips of paper and began to attach them to the pages.

I tried many variations, most of which were too complicated, before I settled on three ladders and one tunnel.

Yesterday I was playing with text, discovering that Aristotle's Metaphysics was written sufficiently far in advance of the library's construction that one might reasonably speculate that it would have been included in the collection. I learned New Testament Greek while at university and it was good to know that the Reverend Morgan-Wynne's thrice-weekly lectures retain some benefit because it turns out I can read Aristotle's Greek! I'm not saying I understand what all the words mean, mind,. After all, the New Testament has a somewhat limited vocabulary so while I'm fine with loaves and fishes I need a dictionary to help me with words like 'art' and 'experience'.

At the moment I'm thinking of printing the text from Art & Lies on the paper first, then blind embossing it with the Greek text before making and attaching the ladders.

It may all change again, of course, but as of this evening I feel a quiet satisfaction with the idea, at least!


Angela said...

Wow! Sounds great. I love hearing about the process, especially since we work in totally different ways. I am fascinated by the fact that you work with the form first and then the content. Blind embossing sounds lovely.

I know you've decided on a different form now but I think there may be a way to get your printer to do what you want. Doesn't the Epson do panorama prints? I 'fooled' my old Epson printer once into doing something it said it couldn't do by doing a panorama print and also creating a custom size paper. It was an A4 printer so you should be able to get an even bigger length of paper on the A3.

I hope this isn't messing with your head even more now you have decided on the new form :-)

moreidlethoughts said...

Ooh, Angela! I wish I could fool my lil A4! However, I think Canons do not like to be fooled!

And, Sara, I know the angst and uncertainty...I think I know where I'm going, but the mock-up is still problematic!

Ampersand Duck said...

So good to read this. I especially like that you have a personal connection with the ancient language/s. I've been waiting (!) for a spare moment to enter that slab of Latin into a computer translator to see what gobbledegook turns up and maybe play with it...

ronnie said...

hey duckie - I HAVE put the slab of latin into the translator.... and as expected it returned a slab of even MORE confusing text (online translators are rather weird)

on a separate note - from my experience I've found that almost every printer can be 'fooled' into printing outside their supposed parameters....all you need to do is plonk in a custom paper size into the list of paper sizes(and make it to the length of the piece you want printed) and hit the 'print' button....wheeeee (oh and make sure the long piece is feeding straight into the can get rather ugly ... ie it may get munched up...if you feed is skew-if). I've put custom sized paper through Canon and HP and Lexmarx and Brother and Epson and more over the years - we've all survived the experience.

that said - it looks like your project is moving under its own steam sara! gosh I like to read about how people come to their arty decisions...thanks for sharing the story so far

Fiona Dempster said...

Sara - your story and tales of exploration are fascinating. I really love that you are working so hard to realise your dream - the telling of the boys tunnelling. It is exactly how it goes for me - an idea, sounds like it will work, practicality then suggests not really possible, and so on and on we go, digging, delving and finding a way through. I really appreciate you posting on this - its very comforting as well as intriguing.

Abigail Thomas said...

ronnie, thanks for the printer tip; ive 'fooled' mine before now but not with any serious length of paper. . . . now might be the time to try?

sara, love your process and ideas; i need to post about my odeas soon; booked a few days off work in a week or sos time so will have a play with things then and post soon.

alison said...

Sara this looks amazing and I admire what everyone has written and the ideas.
I am starting to sort my thoughts into the written form and naturally it changes as a new idea is born but I am keeping with it.
At this stage a very simple style book of possibly eleven images with some text.
What materials I need to use to create a "feeling" about chosen paragraphs etc. So as you can guess I am rather a methodical person.