Saturday, December 10, 2011
And thanks to all 85 of you who posted comments to enter into the drawing. Your comments were wonderful and mind-expanding! If you haven't read each other's comments yet, I urge you to do so. You'll get so many great ideas. I wish I could have answered them all individually. If you want to order the book, it's available on line as well as in bookstores now. Thanks, Everyone, for being a part of this.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
intriguing book called Personal Geographies. (The cover is to the right.) I meet regularly with a group of journal keepers, and if you're like our group, from time to time you find yourself bored with the whole process, feeling guilty for ignoring your practice for days on end. Jill's book will give you a vitamin shot, a booster shot, a lively tonic of ideas and approaches to use in your journal practice. Jill's own art as well as her journal keeping is full of cartographic imagery, and she defines a map in a slightly different way than the traditional one. I am quoting from Jill in the next paragraph because she explains so well what her book is about:
You don't have to be a world traveler or a professional cartographer to embark on a grand journey of self-discovery through mapmaking. Personal Geographies gives you the tools and techniques you'll need to create artful maps of your self, your experiences and your personal journey. Chart the innermost workings of your mind, document your artistic path and create an unfolding maze of your future dreams and goals.
Inside Personal Geographies you'll discover:
21 mixed-media map projects featuring artistic techniques like working with alcohol inks and pochoir, painting on a black surface and carving custom stamps
Insight into the world of traditional and contemporary maps and how they relate to and inspire personal mapmaking
A gallery of maps by contributors from around the world to spark your own creativity
From mapping your head, hands and heart to recording powerful memories or experiences, the maps in Personal Geographies are a gateway into the fascinating and meaningful world of you.”
Above is a page from Jill's book, to give you an idea of some of the examples she has included. I was one of the happy people she invited to try out her prompts for map-making and to submit cartographic image-based artwork to the book. The book nicely reflects its collaborative nature, and the many different approaches taken by the artists in the book are a good example of how the reader can use Jill's prompts to produce their own work.
Between now (December 1) and December 10 Jill is holding a giveaway. If you would like to be included in the raffle of a free copy of Personal Geographies, write a comment below in which you mention some way that you might use mapmaking of any kind in your journal. On December 10 I'll put all of the names of the comment-writers in a hat and select a winner. I'll send the name and street address (having first notified the winner via this blog so that you can email me your street address) to Jill's publisher, and they will ship the book to the winner.
One other thing-- Jill has set up a blog for the book, so check it out at http://personal-geographies.com/
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
At the end of the trail our final clue involved finding a date (1893) carved in the road cut that ran alongside that part of the railroad. Railroad workers had carved dates and initials in many places along the cut. The kids loved scrambling up the rocky road cut, and at one point Mike had to talk his daredevil Luca down from a pretty high point, which he somehow had managed to get to without our seeing him fly up the rocks. Our final clue told us to look for a twin oak behind the petroglyph. Luca and Barnaby found the treasure box! In the box was a rubber stamp of railroad tracks, shown on this page. We each got to stamp our notebooks with the stamp and then we signed a log book in the treasure box. Hooray for the Girl Scout troop that wrote the quest!
Every time I go to New Hampshire I go searching for loons, which I never see. My daughter-in-law tells me she spots them occasionally at the dam near their house; my son sees them when fishing at a nearby pond. But they always elude me. So this trip I dragged people to a supposedly loon-populated pond every chance I could get. The first three trips were on drizzly days and there were no loons. Finally my husband and I and a Vermont friend who was visiting us went out to Grafton Pond on a sunny, breezy day and we were rewarded! Three loons! They didn't do their loony cry, but they were wonderful to see, low in the water like heavily-loaded barges, really big ducky things. And while the loons were diving for food out away from shore, we also spotted an enormous snapping turtle in the pond right below the rocks on which we were perched. Finally!
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
After we visited the museum, we were looking around the grounds. The building is mid- 19th century brick and is situated on a small river (which was close to flood level that day due to recent floods in that area), from which the machinery in the original building was run. Most interesting to the boys and me were some chunks of old bricks scattered around the parking lot in the weeds near the banks of the river. We decided they were old bricks as they matched the bricks in the building perfectly. So we collected a few chunks and took them home to grate on a paving stone in order to make paint. The kids and I took turns grating the brick chunks and then carefully brushing the brick dust onto sheets of paper to transfer to a container. After a long afternoon of grating (which was very satisfying and during which the boys actually had little fights over who got to use the stone when) we had collected enough pigment to grind with a mortar and pestle and some gum Arabic from an art store in Hanover. We added a drop of maple syrup to improve the elasticity and wetness factor of our paint, and the resulting paint can be seen on this page.
We also mixed some of our red orange paint (Windsor Red Ochre) with some white gouache that I had in order to make a pretty apricot colored pastel, also shown here. Stay tuned for more pages from New Hampshire!
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Meanwhile, the image above is from one of my books that is in the show, an accordion-folded book, the pages of which are one very long hand-colored woodcut print called Row, Row. The article below includes another image of a book from the show, Susie Hall's Fall Folios," plus the newspaper review, which makes interesting reading as it gives a nice overview of some of the work that's currently being done in this field. I'll also post my other three books from the show.
(I'll move this posting to the Exhibitions page of this blog for easy access in the future.)
|from Felicitous Space by Gwen Diehn|
|from Imrana by Gwen Diehn|
|from Ice Fishing in New Hampshire by Gwen Diehn|
Monday, August 22, 2011
The place itself is unbelievably beautiful, almost a cliche of itself-- the valley with low mountains in the background, the old buildings, the cute little blacksmith shop, the cows grazing in nearby pastures, tiny buildings in the miniature village of Brasstown (which lowers its own New Year's Eve ball, just like Times Square in NYC, only Brasstown lowers its ball from a flagpole outside of a store on the main street). But the studios are serious and well-equipped, the range of classes taught broad, and the work produced impressive. So if you're looking for a class to jump-start your practice in the New Year, the Folk School might be just the place for you!
Friday, August 12, 2011
So last year Laura and I each made a journal for our neighborhood project, and we began research and image gathering. We've met nearly every two weeks for the past year to eat dinner at one of our houses and then retreat to the studio and work for several hours on whatever phase of the project we were on. Our journals have been repositories of the images and ideas we've incorporated into our prints and now our edition of books.
Below are two of my journal pages that gave rise to images on the print. One shows my sketches of bats that lived in the palmetto palms in our yard, a fun feature of our lives, as we hunted for the dead baby bats that frequently fell from the tree and conducted elaborate funerals for them. Bats were a feature of the neighborhood as they swooped around every evening scooping up bugs while we played Kick the Can in the street until the street lights came on.
The page shown below is where Laura and I worked on the idea of the religious syncretism that was very present in the amalgamation of French Catholicism and African Voudou in the neighborhood. This close connection of two different cultural and religious strains made for an interesting set of rituals and processions and ceremonies. On the page below, I used a general map of the neighborhood to construct an approximation of a voudou veve, which ended up a rubber stamp cut incorporated into the larger woodcut (lower right area, in brown). On the same page, Laura reflected on my sketch of a Catholic Virgin Mary statue that was treated ritually much in the same way the Voudou Erzulie Frieda was. We several times wrote in each other's journals as we developed our thinking.
We have titled our series (the large prints and the edition of books) Faubourg nan Main Bon Dieu, which means Neighborhood in the Hands of the Good God. In another posting I will show the finished books and Laura's big print.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
"The method of making the colour out of the seeds of the Crozophora [sunflower] is described in many medieval texts. It was prepared. . . in the form of "clothlets," bits of [linen] cloth saturated with the juice of the seed of capsules. The capsules were gathered in the summer, and the juice extracted from them by squeezing gently, so that the kernels, the seeds proper, were not broken, but the juice of the capsule was expressed. When a good supply of this juice was ready, cloths were dipped into it, dried, and redipped and redried over and over, until they had soaked up a substantial amount of the colour."
Thompson goes on to explain that in some cases the cloths were first soaked in lime water in order to neutralize the natural acidity of a juice and render the color of the juice more blue. In other cases the already-soaked cloths were then exposed to the vapors of ammonia to further increase the alkalinity and make the color more violet.
He goes on to explain that after drying, the clothlets were stored between the leaves of a book. "Clothlets were a most convenient form of colours for illuminators. It was only necessary to put a bit of clothlet into a dish, and wet it with a little glair [egg white] or gum water [gum Arabic, another binder] , and the colour would dissolve out of the cloth into the medium, forming a transparent stain. A good many colours were prepared in this way for late medieval book painting, as transparent colours came to be more and more prized by the painters of miniatures. Almost any coloured vegetable juice could be prepared in this way with at least some temporary success; and everything possible was tried; but the turnsole [sunflower] colours were the most satisfactory and important." (page 143- 144)
I'm playing around with making some clothlets using the bright orange sap of a celendine poppy plant from my front garden. Have any of you ever made paints from vegetable or mineral sources? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments section here.
Monday, July 11, 2011
I saw my friend over in another area, so I told her about the Mary. She was very interested as she already has a headless Buddha and we agreed that headlessness can be a good state, sort of a No Mind, No Problem state taken to pleasant extremes. We went back over to Mary, but this time it was clear that the price was not $29, but $59, sadly out of our reaches.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Eva G. commented that this mannequin series might want to become a children's book. I like the idea very much of taking her further. Definitely a series of prints, maybe an artist's book, maybe a children's book-- anyone else have ideas?
Monday, June 20, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
The mannequin wears a sign around her neck on a piece of red yarn; it says "Fragile! Nice complete vintage mannequin. Pants fit nicely. Hard to find teenager. $145" She also wears a perky straw and plastic fruit Easter Sunday church hat from the fifties complete with a net (were these nets called whimseys?) that creeps down over her forehead. Her eyes are a little strange and her teeth are extra white next to her painted lips. Best of all her limbs have been detached and tossed in the tub with her! What fun she seems to be having without any arms and with her legs playfully sticking out!
(The drawing I did with a black waterproof Pilot V-Ball pen on willow and abaca paper. I added watercolor when I got home.)
Sunday, May 22, 2011
While at the garden I did pen sketches only and made color notes. Later this evening I painted with watercolor and gouache and incorporated a few rubber stamps that I had on hand from another project. The paper in this sketchbook is handmade from willow bast and abaca.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Below are two pages that I did on another day while walking around the garment district in New York on a sketch crawl with some friends. We were encountering rejection everywhere we went: one store manager told us that if we drew in his place he would get in trouble with OSHA; another place told us we could draw but we would have to pay. We settled on drawing from the windows at a couple of places. Then we found a great manequin shop whose manager not only allowed us to draw but consented to sell me a lovely manequin hand, which shall be featured in my next Piece Works blog update (www.weRpiecework.blogspot.com).
On another day I went to the Brooklyn Museum with my sketch-crawling friends and visited the African section, one of my favorites.
Monday, April 18, 2011
This is a fold-out page that I taped in. It's a design for a custom wallet.
This page shows measurements and directions for the same job.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
This view shows the edible book from the other direction, showing the back view of the hogs and facing the forest hog. You can also see the acorns and apples that the forest hog eats. The grass is edible Easter grass. I never knew such a thing existed! In the background you can see a little bit of other books. Check out www.AshevilleBookworks.com for a full report on the festival!