Friday, December 28, 2012

Group 8 - Title #91

This book presents postcard imagery and scans from original letters in a book format developed by Hedi Kyle that she calls the panorama book. I like the structure for presenting images with what I call text snippets.

The title I selected, I make wallpaper from your postcards, relates well to one of my ongoing studio projects as I have been working with an inherited archive for many years. 

The archive includes  correspondence from throughout the 20th century, to and from people I do not know or barely remember from my childhood. A recurring theme throughout the correspondence is the question of what to do with old letters.  Evidently letters were sometimes returned to the original writer as my archive includes letters both to and from the same person. 

There are occasional concerns expressed about the content of the letters being too  personal to leave lying about;  one writer repeatedly writes about how difficult it is to decide which letters to keep and which to destroy. I selected snippets from those particular letters - letters from Mrs. M.W.Wylie of Manhattan, Kansas, to Mrs. Geo. C. Wheeler, of Denver, Colorado (and my paternal great-grandmother) - written in 1966 to use for my book.

The text block  is of Fabriano paper with photo reproductions of postcards from Manhattan, Kansas, and Denver, Colorado mounted to both the front and back panels. The text of the letters  and selected for this project is 

“The mail carrier came just now with no news from Denver. I’m thinking ‘no news is good news’ . . . Discovered dozens of your families’ letters. Too many to keep - so I’ll have to burn most of them”.

Selections from the letters were scanned and printed then transferred to the text block via solvent transfer.  The covers were attached with a split board technique. The covers are thin boards, the outer one wrapped with a watermark paper called Signature. The book is housed in a simple wrapper, the colophon  appears on the back page of the wrapper. Both book and wrapper have a recessed laser printed label.

 The title, I make my wallpaper from your postcards, gives one solution to the question of what to do with old correspondence. My project uses another.

The copies to everyone in Group 8 will be sent out in January.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

#43 Grains

A Grain of Brown Rice

by Janine Whitling 


Well, I know I've been super quiet in BookArt Object, but I have been quietly getting on with it in my studio. I'm relatively new to the book art medium so it has been challenging for me to find my voice within this context. I really like the medium of resin and have made a book art using resin before, so thought i'd extend that style within this group.

My word was GRAIN, so I came up with a grain of brown rice made out of resin. Its a capsule that is hinged on one side to open up and reveal three scrolls, each scroll with a recipe that is based on brown rice as the main ingredient. 

I have embedded the collophon into the inside base of the resin, you'd only see it if you took out the scrolls.

They took quite a bit of work getting the colors right then tweaking the shapes and polishing the resin, but I'm really pleased with the final result.

Two copies have gone out to the two Sarah's and I have the others finished and ready to send, but I was waiting for the crazy Christmas rush before sending them as I don't want them to get lost. So watch out group 11 for your copy after the silly season has finished :)

with love, Janine

ps yes, you can follow the recipes for some yummy treats too! but best to do it with gloves as the paper is delicate

Lights, Camera, Action!


I've borrowed a lighting kit and a light tent from TAFE (I may have mentioned this before), and this afternoon I spent a merry hour or two figuring out how to set it up without either experience or instructions.  The first task was to iron the pop-up light tent, which is approx. 120 x 100 x 100cm and therefore not easily fitted onto the average ironing board.  No matter.  Dearest husband took photos of me half in and half out of said tent while ironing, but since the image of me being swallowed by the tent isn't flattering, I'm not going to show you, so there.
Ironing over, I rearranged all the furniture in my studio to fit the darned thing in, worked out how to insert a box under the inner lining layers so that the books come up to a height that means I'm not going to kill my back while taking photos, positioned it all ready and... realised that I'd left a vital cable in one of the boxes the big lights came in, which I'd used to prop up the piece of board that raises the books to the optimum height... so I had to take it all apart, remove the cable and start again.  Oh well.  I'm now an expert in putting the whole kit together, natty umbrellas and diffusion sheets and everything.
I've only photographed two books so far (another twenty or so to go!), alternating between my portrait and macro lenses in order to get 'complete' shots and details.  It's fun!  And in the process I'm taking notes about book dimensions, construction, edition number, maker etc.  The idea is that we'll have a complete catalogue of this edition - hopefully - before the books are sent to Sarah Bodman.  That way, BAO will have an archive of its own work, I'll send the photos to the individual makers for their own use, and if we need pictures and information for exhibition catalogues, press or articles, for example, we'll have them.

#53 Protein

My little book has arrived safely at each destination so now my post on the process! 

I chose the title 'Protein' because I love science-y things. I started brainstorming, thought; 'protein, diet, nutrition, milk, building blocks, body builders, bodies, genes, genetic code. . .code. . .hey-I could do something fun with codes.' I went to the library and checked out every last book concerning 'Protein' (juvenile books of course-simplified language-pretty pictures). I eventually read my way into amino acids and voilĂ , my code! 

Here is my intro to the book:

"Just like words are made up of letters, linking subunits of amino acids creates proteins. Of the roughly 500 known amino acids, twenty are used to build proteins in the human body. You've been given a card with these essential amino acids listed as an alphabetic code. Use the code to decipher the protein message you've been sent!" 

The book and amino acid code card were really small (2.75" x 3.5" - ish) so I decided to include a little magnifying lens. I'll admit that this was inspired by romanticized images I have in my head of Sherlock Holmes. 

The code shows an amino acid name and structure with a designated letter underneath. The message for the reader to decipher is
"Protein comes from the Greek work proteios,
meaning. . ."

Following is an accordion like structure. Each page presents an amino acid with a place to write in the corresponding letter from the code.

The answer is 'first place.' 

The book closes with the colophon: "Sarah Bodman wrote 100 short stories and buried them in the woods. A group of book artists resurrected these story titles, breathing new life into them. I chose the title 'Protein' because proteins are essential to life. I made the paper out of old T-shirts. I thought that they might like a new life, too."

I'm glad to have found the Book Art Object group. This project was quite the learning experience for me. If I had it to do over again (and, you know, I probably will keep working with this idea) I would make it a bit larger, would use letterpress and would make a better pocket for the code card (on my mock-up I used tape to seal the pocket and on the edition the gluing process made the pocket too small so I had to keep it open on two ends - not my initial vision!). 

All in all, the result was a fun and interactive plaything that I hope proved entertaining to my group members. Now it's time to start work on the second book I signed up for. :)

I've enjoyed reading the posts from all of the other artists on this site and your books are truly fantastic. What a fun thing to be part of!

Happy Holidays to all.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Finally Finished!

Well nearly.

Spurred on by Sara's post, earlier this week I managed to finish two copies of "Where the Dead Live" to parcel up and send to her, along with two copies of “Rapunzel”, hoping to meet the January deadline.

I finished Rapunzel in November, although I wasn’t organized enough to send it out into the wide world, and now, I have finally finished assembling the rest of the “Where the Dead Live”.

So for those of you in Group 2 and Group 10 there will be books on the way but I am going to wait until the New Year to send them out. I think they’ve more chance of not getting lost and arriving undamaged if I send them after the Christmas post. (I'll show more images when they arrive though if you want to see the work in progress its on my blog)

These two books have occupied me on and off for a year now and I can't quite believe they’re finished.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

One down, two to go.

Since few members of BAO read my blog it has been pointed out that I made a statement there that ought to be aired over here. 
So here is the post I wrote on my blog. As of today, Thursday 13th, I am working on the next title.

WORK IN PROGRESS     December 2012
With Sara’s latest announcement that she will be shipping Sarah Bodman’s copies in January I think several jaws dropped with a resounding bump!One of them was mine.
Yes, I could have completed the work several months ago. Probably should have! But, not being driven by a deadline [something I think MUST be addressed before any new rounds are opened], I have chosen to wind up several other projects before year’s end, thinking that the generally slow time over the Christmas-New Year break would be ideal for making my books.
Well, we all know what Mr. Burns had to say about well-laid plans!
I will be emailing the members of my 3 groups with an explanation of   grovelling apology for my tardiness and the decision I have come to.
In brief…I will try to have  Sara Bodman’s copies shipped to Sara Bowen in time, but the full editions will take a little longer.
For the moment, here are  some pictures of some of the work for ” The Daisy Chain.”
Below, Trial stages for “The Daisy Chain,” one of the titles I’m working on using The Turkish map fold.Why, yes! That is a remote control unit, along with box knife, pencils, eraser, cutting board…the usual book-y paraphernalia. The radio is my usual accompaniment/distraction, but I wanted the TV news update that day.
work in progressBAO work
Below, Attaching the chain
attaching the fastener

Further explanation of the construction once all parties have received their  books.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


A very brief update! I have a short post on my blog here. No need to hog this one.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

#56 Unchartered Democracy, Group 10

Un Chartered Democracy takes the idea of a charter as an official written document of government as well as a contract executed between two parties - the US Government and soldiers serving on its behalf.  A small number of US soldiers in Afghanistan have committed atrocities whilst serving their country and its promotion of democracy.  Their actions were disrespectful, unethical, unacceptable, unauthorized, unchartered.
I intended to make a thought-provoking book about the insanity of war and needless killing, the effects on young soldiers working in intolerable and stressful circumstances and how these situations create an environment where codes of conduct are broken. I wanted to also reflect on the innocent citizens caught up in the mess.
To suggest a map location in the Middle East, I used the Turkish Map Fold structure along with Islamic patterns in soft pink on the back of the pages.
The music pattern of a pianola roll containing words from Stars and Stripes Forever has been printed onto the pages.
The drawings depict some of the atrocities committed by a few US soldiers in Afghanistan, and parts of the drawings have been hand coloured with watercolour pencil.
I have been reminded with this book that although the artist creates a piece constructing meaning by reflecting their own thoughts, opinions and feelings, once it arrives in the hand of the viewer, the whole thing is recontextualised by the opinions, beliefs and knowledge each viewer brings to their reading of the book.  I would like to thank the BAO members who have received the book and have written eloquent and thoughtful responses, which have been much appreciated.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Goodness me, look at the time!

I came here to apologise to BAO for being pretty much absent for most of the year. To tell you the truth, I feel like I held my breath and put my head under the water in February, blacked out for a minute from holding my breath too long, and finally lifted my head to discover it's December. Or, it's a bit more like when you drive somewhere and then suddenly you're there, with no memory of any part of the journey, yet you did all the driving. I always get goosebumps when that happens.

So here we are, close to the deadline, and I haven't made my book yet. It's fully-formed in my head, and now I have to get it out of my head and into your hands. The last few days have been spent with paper swatches, sketch-books, a calculator and my trusty sidekick Padge. We've been back and forth on the phone with the lovely James of Magnani Paper in Melbourne, making an order and then changing it, discovering that the paper I didn't know I wanted but was forced to think about as an alternative and now I really really want it is actually out of stock. However, I remembered that I have a small stash of the paper I originally wanted, and that combined with what is left in James' stockroom should be enough. Phew!

I had researched my ideas at the beginning of the year, but the intervening months have shifted them slightly. I knew I wanted to make a dos-a-dos type of book, with two stories in the one volume, but the stories are now much more interesting than they were earlier. So maybe that lapse in time was a good thing.

 I've enjoyed getting books from my two groups over the year (and major apologies if I forgot to acknowledge you, I'm going to write nice letters when I send my book), but there haven't been that many, so I'm guessing that a lot of us are in the same boat. I've put out the word to my family that Christmas is very very low-key this year. Open a bottle of something nice, pull out a bucket of prawns, and presents to be kept very simple. Why run around for weeks fussing about one single day when there is book fun to be had and a deadline to meet? Luckily they are all fine with the idea.

So ready, steady, go. I'm hoping to be in that parcel to the UK, time to get printing. Watch this space!

Friday, December 7, 2012

“counting” completed!

#64 title “counting” from Sarah Bodman's An Exercise for Kurt Johannessen appealed to me right away and I could not but select it as my first choice. Here is my completed edition and some details associated with it.

The image comes from a photograph of my mother, the structure follows the traditional format of traveling icons from my heritage, and the faded number 10 in a repeat pattern on the right panel carries the significance of beginning and completion, reflecting my mother’s birthday and also the day of the month she completed her life cycle.
For the covers I used pages from an old book that subsequently I turned into trace monotypes (markings achieved through pressure from the back of paper positioned on rolled inks).

My  “association” to counting explained in the verses I wrote appears on the left panel:
Counting the steps from here to there, Counting the folds and then invert them, Counting the hours until that deadline, Counting the minutes for sun exposure, Counting the years since I last saw you.
Counting, counting and recounting, just to make sure not to lose count…

Bamboo paper, old book pages, mat board, PVA.
Archival pigment print, ink trace monotype; structure inspired by the Byzantine traveling icons’ strong presence in my heritage.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Books Posted, Group 3

Signatures Typed and Stamped

Dear Lovely Book Art People :-) I posted my books on Friday one day ahead of my self-imposed deadline.

Here is a little sneak preview.  This is a picture of all the signatures lined up ready to stamp and also one of the stamps printed. All books are typed on my lovely Silver-Reed Silverette typewriter and the images are printed with rubber stamps.

Hope they arrive soon.

Signatures Typed