Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I am still working in the altered book format and finding it both enjoyable and challenging. It is a project that I have thought about doing for quite a long time.

The page above is an homage to t s eliot's 'Lovesong to J. Alfred Prufrock.
It uses paper, acrylic paints, fiber and beads.
Here is a close up of the right side of the mermaid page.
Beads and fibers on the bottom and along the left side.
This is the left side of the page.
I had used this image in an earlier version but was not pleased with it.
Also, uses fibers and beads and a vintage button that has the appearance of something one might find in the ocean.
My altered book celebrates the three ages of a woman's life: maiden, mother and crone.
The text on this page above reads:
"The human woman gives birth just as the earth gives birth to the plants. She gives nourishment, as the plants do. So woman magic and earth magic are the same. They are related. And the personification of the energy that gives birth to the forms and nourishes is properly female.
From the Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell.
This page is the left side of a spread and is incomplete.
Here is the right side of the celebration of 'mother'.
The text reads:
"The middle aspect of the Goddess is the Mother-Queen. She Who Rules. She is always celebrated for Her fecundity. She Who GIves Birth to New Life but what about her "ruling" aspect, making decisions, taking responsibility, contributing leadership to what has been created? Middle age is a mental state. It begins when you accept your own power and are willing and proud to exercise it, by shaping your own life and contributing society at large. "
Paper, acrylics, antique lace, hand-painted dryer sheet.
This page brings together the maiden, mother and crone.
The text reads:
"Most ancient symbol systems recognized the triangle as a sign of the Goddess's Virgin-Mother-Crone trinity and at the same time as her genital "holy place", source of all life. The triangle represented the Virgin Moon Goddess called Men-Nefer, archaid deity of the first Mother-city of Memphis. The triangle itself was worshipped in much the same way that modern Christians worship the cross."
I don't think it is entirely complete.
I have re-worked this page several times and am liking it now although I think it needs some work still.
The text on this page reads,
"How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you.....a place of women where you were received and affirmed? A place where other women, perhaps somewhat older, had been affirmed before you, each in her own time, affirmed, as she struggled to become more truly herself."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The first page (above) is meant to be a celebration of the crone, the 3rd and final phase of a woman's life which she attains at the age of 56. It honors her wisdom and her power.
Paint, paper, fibers, fabric sheers and burlap, found objects.
I haven't decided if she is complete........
The next page is based on text about looking at the moon, 'solitary and mid-sky', and coming to know oneself completely, in every aspect.
Paint, paper, mesh ribbon.

The third page is based on text from a marvelous book entitled, Circle of Stones and poses the question, 'how would your life have been different' if you had a circle of women, older women who helped you to be comfortable in your own skin, your female-ness?
Paper, organza, antique lace and ephemera, vellum image.
This one is not finished.

This little piece is part of a page entitled, Faith, that was not sacrificed (to pentimento).
I had attempted to photograph it several days ago without success;
this try worked just fine.
These are shiney fibers over faux suede and entrapped under tulle and surrounded by satin stitching..

This final photo is from the page entitled, Hope.
It is created from bits of antique lace laid over muslin
and topped with a layer of fabric glue and then painted.
I am quite enthralled with this process.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pentimento & An Altered Book
(I love that word)

Pentimento; the freedom to change, modify what has been done.

Yesterday, I practiced pentimento on my altered book.

With more time in my playroom, more focus and more energy
than at any other time during this entire summer,
I was able to look more critically at the initial pages of my altered book.
And didn't like some of what I had done.

An altered book is a great format for pentimento:
just cover over with paper or gesso. Start over.
I did: liberating myself from what hadn't worked.
This idea of pentimento is a nice nudge to the 'inner critic'.
You know the one, that says:
"not good enough."

It was so freeing to just move away and helpful, too,
as I really like what I've done and will post them later today.

Oh by the way, the image on this post is one of Celia Thaxter's Garden on Appledore Island, one of the Isles of Shoals. Larry and I will have our annual retreat there in September with a group from the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A Mixed Media Altered Book

I've been working in an altered book format for the last week or so. The book is a pristine old journal found at an estate sale or auction some time ago. It is cloth covered with the word, "Record" on the cover. The only writing inside was a lightly penciled name: the father of the atomic bomb. Strange, interesting, curious. I covered over the name.

Today, I want to post some the book pages in progress.
Paper, acrylic paint and distressed lace.

The lace technique was in Quilting Arts magazine and t
he finished product has great texture
(I tried getting up close and personal with the camera but still couldn't do it justice).

Here's how I did it.
Bits of antigue lace are laid over muslin to cover the entire surface. Using both straight and patterned stitches as well as free machine work, I sewed the lace tightly and then applied a thin layer of fabric glue the lace. After drying, I painted it with opaque paints and dyes. It just has so many intriguing uses: mount on driftwood, use in collage, little art quilts and so much more.

Fabric, paper, paint, fibers.
The text reads: "Last night I did not know that today it would be raining."
I received a card with this little sentence about 30 years ago and WOW just never forgot it .

The little fabric rectangle on the left is faux suede with lots of shiny fibers captured under tulle and satin stitched all around. Same deal: difficult to photograph.

Untitled, 1st spread
Paper, paint, fabric, photo fragments
Way more work to be done!

Girl Warrior I -- 1st page
Torn paper, acrylic paint, mesh ribbon, colored pencil.
She needs more work: the flowers are wishy-washy and the bottom left is totally incomplete.

I like her very much ~~ she exudes strength and purpose.

This is the cover of an antique book that is the catalyst for my altered book.
I'll post more when finished.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Postcard(quard) Trade with Deb
I found this wonderful beauty in my mail box recently. And what a treat it was to open!

Deb in Alaska suggested we trade and I was immediately pleased to do so. She is a wonderfully artistic quilter. Deb wanted one of my postcards with original ephemera and I sent one of the 1933 Chicago Worlds Fair. My quard from her was a total surprise as she made it especially for the trade. Isn't is grand!

You will LOVE her blog and her website:

Deb lives in Anchorage, transplanted there from the midwest. She's a full time nurse, wife, mom and grandmother. Her blog is a delight to read. Homey, cozy, warm and full of life. She has also posted images of their new cabin near Anchorage.

What I have enjoyed through her emails and blog are my memories of being in Alaska during three jaw-dropping trips. Several career moves ago, I worked for a research and training company that required a lot of travel to clients around the US. During that time, I made a number memorable trips to Anchorage and to Juneau.

Larry came with me on these trips. One year, we went to Anchorage in July: d
rove down the Kenai to Homer. Took the train to Denali. Drove to Seward. Spent a day in Talkeetna and watched for the famous bachelors (didn't see any). Also surprising was the 'newness' of everything -- towns that were incorporated in the 20th century; some that only electricity in the 1950's; one that had only recently paved an access road for autos. It is a show-stopping-kind-of-place.

Ate salmon and halibut and Japanese soups. I remember a picnic on the Kenai, eating fresh crab purchased in Homer; Larry took a photo of me wearing two sweaters and ear muffs. It was July.

We marveled at the late night sun. And used the over-worked word 'awesome' because no other word would do, was BIG enough, descriptive enough.

We returned in October that year to snow on the ground and nearly all-day dark. We watched little school children getting off the bus in what seemed like the middle of the night with snow falling.

So, thank you Deb for a gift of friendship. For releasing memories. And for a glorious tiny art quilt.

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet
and the winds long to play with your hair.
Kahlil Gibran