Monday, April 29, 2013

Throwaway, Group 5

Hello everybody!
I am wishing that I could follow the same format that I have noticed in your posts, where documentation appears when an edition is done. My edition is not done but the second one has made it's way out into the world at this point, so it behooves me to write and show, even though it may spoil a bit of the surprise (however, the more I attempt to show pictures of artist's books, the more I realize they are inadequate to encompass the experience.) As for where this one is now, I was thrilled that it was selected for Artist's Book Cornucopia IV at Abecedarian Gallery.

Having made the second box and worked out a few more design improvements, I hope to have some jigs set up to make the rest of the edition go smoother. Members of my group, thank you so much for the the wonderful books I have received so far, and do not fear, Throwaway will be coming to you in the future.

The box enclosure aspect is a collaboration with my husband, the first of many, I hope.
I told him I would like the fold book to stand up inside in the shape of an “X.”  I’m pleased with what we came up with, although each one is very time consuming to make.  I think this structure would be called a cradle, since it keeps the book in a certain shape. The X is an important repeating motif.

Throwaway has been on a long journey of nearly a year. There were so many potential directions it could have gone in, some which I have vowed to explore in the future. I became less interested in the photographs of trash and recycled items I had taken, and more driven to explore a number of different ways things, people, the environment are part of the "thrown away." The amount of information I found was quite overwhelming, and I could have easily written a paper or two. But that would not be an experience, would it? I kept returning to the idea of crumpling up the paper. After trying a few different papers and having it tear, I settled on tyvek, which I had been using in other work to reinforce and join. Originally I had intended to print photographs on tyvek with my inkjet printer, but found it slowly bleeding and becoming blurry, not to mention how it could be ruined if water got on the surface. It became a letterpress project. It seemed to follow naturally to make plates using materials you might find recycled or thrown away, even though I might have  done photographic plates. Frankly, my budget would not allow for that.

The fold book inside, after printing, has been crumpled up like a thrown away piece of paper: symbolically representing every subject touched on within the folds. It has also been smoothed out and carefully refolded, and ensconced in this container, which seems far sturdier than the contents. The container also sets it apart as an object of importance.

How and when the contents (metaphorical or not) were salvaged cannot be answered. As an artist, perhaps I look into the future and imagine this. 

On the inside of the fold book is a map of sorts, as well as a “key” or map legend, which is a short poem, a plea, to reconsider, to alter the “mindset” of what is “thrown away.”

 BookArtObject Edition Four, Group Five,
Title #99 of 100 taken from An Exercise for Kurt Johannessen (2010), by permission of the author,
Sarah Bodman.
Throwaway (2013) by Julie Russell-Steuart explores ways in which our culture/economy tosses aside things.
With permission from, two people’s stories have been adapted poetically.  “Throwaway” materials like cereal boxes and string were used to make pressure prints on hand-painted DuPont Tyvek, a spun polyester material that is 100% recyclable and safe for landfills. The format is an accordion style booklet that opens up on the other side to a map style folding. The text is letterpress printed with hand-set types in English Caslon Oldstyle 37, Century Bold, Della Robbia, and Style Script. The box enclosure was constructed with the design and engineering skills of David Steuart, and is made from boards covered in hand-painted Tyvek.


dinahmow said...

A very interesting-looking response to an ever-increasing problem, Julie.
I allude to human arrogance and carelessness in one of my interpretations.
Congratulations on your gallery selection.

ronnie said...

ooo myyyy! loving the look (and thinking behind) this

Abigail Thomas said...

great to see it; looks like a very interesting construction

Helen M said...

Congratulations Julie on having your book selected. It looks amazing and lucky me in group 5, I can look forward to seeing one for real one day.