Many centuries ago, in November of 2019, I made a visit to the Birren Color Collection at the Haas Family Arts Library at Yale University. I spent a few days digging through examples of 19th and 20th century fabric swatches and color cards. This was all research for an artist book project that might somehow connect these beautiful objects to the origins of landfill culture and planned obsolescence. When I returned home, I began making sample books out of my clothes and sheets and matching colors to my walls. I planned to use my domestic space as a framework for the project, using what was around me when at home. Soon after, Covid-19 gave domestic spaces a new significance and I struggled to find a way forward with the project that was not mired in the pandemic. The swatch books hibernated in a drawer for over a year while each of us struggled through a private Covid experience, many of us from home.
And then, as if a switch was thrown, I suddenly found myself interested in the project again.
There will be two components to this project:
I am making an effort to use what I have. For paper: a heavy stack of offcuts given to my by Michael Bixler 15 years ago. For the text I am distributing and setting type from dozens of ziplock bags of loose Bembo that I inherited somewhere along the way. (I owe someone a huge thank you here, but who?)
What is this project now? It is still related to my original intentions, I think, but is also inevitably tied up in a pandemic year. Its production necessitates activities that I find calming during periods of anxiety: winding thread, cutting cloth, working in the home, thinking about the home. I am committed to finishing it without overthinking it.
More information on this soon. Thank you Sarah Scarr for your help with this project.
PS does anyone read blogs anymore? I am too boring for Tiktok and have no dance moves. Maybe I’m all alone out here.
You are not alone. Keep writing!
Thanks Michael! When oh when will I see you again! (and I still owe you a print!)
I don’t in fact read blog posts apart from yours, but I do read yours. I hope you are all well and happy or at least content. I’m retired now for a full month, doing lots of stuff including setting a book. I make lots of mistakes. Love Chris
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Congratulations Chris!!! Book time is mistake time. xoxo
You are definitely not alone! I religiously read your posts as soon as I’m notified by email. Love your work and your attitude.
And by attitude – I mean your excellent sense of humor that comes through so clearly in your posts.
Thank you Paul! (and I appreciate your generous interpretation of my attitude!) Best wishes,
Also checking in… Blogs are definitely kinda deprecated, but there’s still a dedicated audience.
Thanks Derek! whew.
I read blogs! And I don’t have any of the other things that normal people have. And I appreciate your blog. And your creativity! And I positively love the idea “ I am committed to finishing it without overthinking it.” I will probably print it (on an uninspired laser printer) and hang it on my wall, so I can remind myself what good advice that is, about most everything, every day. Thank you.
Thank you Kim!! I think I needed this pep talk!
I read blogs (and write them) and I’m really interested to see where this project goes!!
You are so not boring! I always enjoy a glimpse at your thought processes. And ditto what Kim said about not overthinking as a motto. I love that the pandemic allowed us the time and space to realize how important those simple tasks of life and our art are to our mental well-being. Keep on keeping on. I’ll keep reading.
Thank you so much Ann! big hug from T town.
Sounds great, looking forward to seeing the finished piece.
Not alone! Another reader here who isn’t on TikTok or IG or FB or even Amazon Prime. I’m always excited to see one of your posts land in my inbox. I enjoy reading about your projects and processes – invariably gives me something to think about. How is it to set Bembo from a bag? How do you find the letters you want and how dinged up are they?
hahaha the Bembo. First I distribute it from bag to case, then from case to stick. I was really worried about their condition, and part of my impulse for setting that type for this book was to check on the value of the type and decide whether to continue this monumental task of organizing it. It ranges in size from 24 point (not much of that) all the way down to 8 point. I haven’t been brave enough to diss the 8 point yet. Thanks so much for your message, Selene!
Still reading here on the other side of the pond! Who has time for TikTok and endless podcasts? Reading is quick and easy and you can go back to it. Keep on keeping on
Haha thank you Su! I think of you often and hope you are well!
Definitely still reading – – every post! I’ve long admired your unique combination of whimsy, patience, artistry, curiosity, and faith in your own vision, which leads you to produce and communicate consistently thoughtful, thought-provoking, and beautiful work. Please keep on writing!
Thanks so much Cara!
I still read blogs, and am very thankful to have recently found yours! I got an old copy of Creative Bookbinding by Pauline Johnson from a friend years ago and have had a lingering desire to make boxes and bind books. Your posts are an inspiration, and fun to read. You have me looking at dividers on eBay again!
Thank you Brian! Come to think of it, maybe I could use some new dividers too. . .
Please keep writing! I’m an art student doing a little research project on your for my bookbinding class! Blogs like these help me learn what a being a successful working artist means. Your process and insight hav helped me learn how I can make my practice more physically and mentally sustainable! Please keep writing, I promise we don’t need Tik Tok to find you – Lori
Thank you Lori! Your message made my day.
UH! I could faint right now! Its amazing to hear from you. I’m so glad I was able to bring some joy to your day! Wishing you all the best- also I’m really in love with your work Half Premonitions of the Moon. I’ve been listening to bullroar videos on YouTube all day!