Monday, December 21, 2009

Secret Sunday

Yes, yes. I know. It's a looooong story,

In the mean time, Seth Apter of The Altered Page, has begun the 4th edition of his zine, The Pulse. Over 200 artists are contribution their answers to a series of questions about their work, processes, and artistic lives. Every Sunday he has been publishing some of their secrets in entries he calls, "Secret Sundays." Yesterday he published one one of my secrets for art making resources: used books for their pages and for making altered books which I got from a branch of my local library.
So here are some of the books I found at my library on my last visit - hardcovers 50cents, soft covers 25cents: The book in Hebrew is A Little Town in Germany, by LeCarre, The Macbeth (the little volume all the way to the right) is not only notable for being published in 1889 with a signature of the owner dated 1890, the title on the spine was erroneously printed upside down. the little book at the top of the stack is Hamlet. The Fearful Passage (to the left of Macbeth) was published the year I was born.

Yesterday was Secret Sunday #5, check out more artists, their secrets from the first Secret Sunday and The Pulse at thealteredpage

P.S. I haven't forgotten my promise of a giveaway. It is coming and better late than never.
P.P.S. Best wishes for very Happy Holidays to all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Book About Death the movie

This fantastic youtube video was made by Angella Ferrara with music by Garry Schyman – Praan. An abbreviated exhibit was shown at the Queens Museum of Art 11/1. The entire exhibit will be traveling the country (and maybe the world). And next year there will be a new one. Of course I will make a new piece for that one. I am impressed at how moving every viewer finds the art. Check out the blog for A Book About Death for all the credits for the video and the lyrics including English translation. Lovely.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Book About Death

OK, I did it. I accomplished Goal #2 which was to make a piece for A Book About Death. If you remember, this group show is the brain child of Matthew Rose, a collage artist and writer living in Paris Each artist has to send their piece to The Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery, NYC in the form of 500 postcards. See my postcard, front and back above. The opening of the show is 9/10/09 from 7:30 - 11:pm. The show runs through 9/22. Everyone who visits is free to take postcards from each of the artists.
Here is a link to the blog about the show

And here is a link to the gallery
As of this posting, there are a total of 356 artists participating. I think the hope was for 1,000 artists. Maybe they will still make it. Perhaps not all the artists who are submitting work have sent their work to the blog? Anyway, do check out the blog. There is some really great art there.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

DisCo Part Deux - The Great Reveal

I know. I know. We don't have to discuss it. I will start with last things first and progress backwards in subsequent posts.

You remember my piece,
The Measure of Breath? Sure you do. I hung my package out on the terrace on 3/14 and took it down on 5/1. Here it is at the end of its life out in the elements.
Ready. Steady. Drum roll. Here she is in her reincarnation.
Her name is
Souflee Renait (Breath Reborn). Dolls, music, boxes - 3 elements I enjoy.
Thanks again to Seth Apter of The Altered Page He always has such wonderful, intriguing ideas. Check out his recent posts and check out the other artists who have posted their Part 2 pieces. There are so many wonderful, talented artists out there!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

International Fluxhibition #3

Voila! My completed piece for the International Fluxhibition #3. The name of the piece is Amus-i-Kit. It satisfies all the elements of Fluxus art - wordplay, fun, the use of common and found objects, a kit with instructions. And, its subject is music, a common theme in Fluxus. If you checked out the links in my last post, you might have noted a famous Fluxus music composition was Drip Music. John Cage is one of the most notable Fluxus composers.
Here is the Amus-i-Kit instruction sheet so you will know how to play all the "instruments." It is folded up in The Sound of Silence compartment. After I make the member of the audience sit back down in his seat, all will be in the mail to Texas on Monday.

And here is an update on the lovely bush in the park. More pods have developed. Though it has occurred to me that they are really fruit. This time I concentrated only on the fruit because I just love the colors.

Off to make a needle felted pig for my friend, Lenore, whose birthday it is tomorrow. She loves pigs; so a pig it is. Oink. Snort. Snuffle, snuffle. Then I have to work on some pages for Jackie's RR book which I recently received from Jane in the UK. My RR book is currently in Thailand!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The delight is in the details

As promised - though a tad late - here is our lovely park bush. Imagine my surprise when I came upon her expecting to see more flowers and found them all gone in the space of a mere 3 weeks. Well, I guess a plant's life is a fast one. Kind of like a mouse? Or a butterfly? But look carefully. See the little green things? I don't really know what they are, but I'm guessing they could be pods. Her leaves have changed from bright dark green to an almost teal duskiness. And I really like the little mauve stubs left after the blossoms. I will be very interesting to see her next stage. I still think she is still just lovely. Don't you?

This is proving to be a valuable lesson in really seeing what I am looking at. The bush represents what most of us do every day when we look at our environment and the things that are in it. We tend see it all as a whole. But if we take the time to really be with the some of the things in it, we can be amazed at all the beauty that exists there. We have so many opportunities for wonder and delight in the most mundane things, but fail to see them being so casually focused on the big picture. You know the expression, "The devil is in the details?" Well, I think the delight is in the details.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Plans in my immediate Future

Just to let you know about future plans I have... I figured that if I commit them here, I will just do it.
1. I will be entering a piece in International Fluxhibition #3. This is a cyberspace exhibition of Fluxus art. If you google Fluxus, you can learn what this genre is . You can read about the exhibition here This is another wonderful venture by Cecil Touchon, an incredibly productive and terrific collage artist. Here is Cecil's website where there are links to his online museums. He prints actual paper catalogs for each show and they are available for purchase at reasonable cost. The exhibit is not juried and the deadline for entry is June 30, 2009 - so I better get my show on the road. And you, too, if you want to enter.

2. I will be entering work in The Book About Death. This is "1000 artists contribute 500 post cards each to create an unbound book about death." There will be a live exhibition at the Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery in New York City, NY. The exhibit opening will be Thursday, September 10, 2009. The exhibition will go from September 10 - 22, 2009. You can read all about it here On the site, you can also see some of work that has already been entered. The submission date is September 9, 2009, so you have plenty of time if you are interested in entering. The concept is brilliant and the brain child of Matthew Rose, a fabulous collage artist living in Paris, France. You can see his work here Any one who is interested in submitting art to this exhibition should check out the blog where you can download a pdf file with all the details. The more artists that enter, the better. This is not a juried exhibition, so all entries will be accepted.

3. I have begun a book collaboration with an artist friend, Patricia Bronstein We plan to do a book a month over the course of a year. June is Month #1. I am up first and I have decided to make an altered book as the substrate. Haven't yet decided the theme. But I did pick up some suitable raw material yesterday from the $1 stalls at The Strand.

4. I have a surprise giveaway planned for my readers by the end of this month. So tell all your friends to keep track of my postings and doings.

5. I will be posting a photo of our lovely bush in the park either by the end of today or early tomorrow morning. Haven't visited with her since 5/11, so I am excited to see where she is in the circle of life.

I will be posting photos of all of the above as they happen - plus any new unplanned developments that grab my attention.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What I've been up to lately

Quite a lot, actually. For starters... I have been doing some needle felting. I made a sweet little lamb for a friend who will soon give birth to her first child.

I went to another "Lounge" at the Center for Book Arts in NYC . This is the greatest place. Once a month on a Friday night, for $10 ($5 if you're a member) you can take an interesting little 3 hour workshop. They supply all the materials, beer, soda and munchies. At the end of the night, you walk out with something terrific that you've made. I just love the place! Check them out

So here is what I made at the last 2 monthly Lounges. At the April Lounge, we made a Coptic bound journal. I made mine with pockets in both the front and back inside covers. The pockets and stitching were my own special touch to the model they taught.
Inside front cover

Inside back cover

Coptic binding - spine. I just love the way it looks and I love making it.

And at the May Lounge, a portable leather strop to sharpen the blades and knives you use for book binding. Everyone got to make 2 strops. The lecture was given by an awesome woman who is currently working as a book conservator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art .

The strop closed, The strop with one side open. The strop fully opened.

As you can see, the strop is like a little book and it is bound with book cloth over binder's board. It measures 6" x 3" closed. The black panel is #600 emery paper and the brown panel is suede leather. The emery paper sharpens the blade and the leather polishes it. Now I know how to make a cloth bound book. I love, love, love making books!

And speaking of books... I am participating in a Round Robin with 9 other artists in my Handmade Books Yahoo group. Here is my handmade journal.

My theme is "The Sea and Ocean Life. I am having the best time. I hope there will be future Round Robins with this group.

Here is my contribution to a RR member's journal. Jane's likes Outsider Art and subconscious content. This is a new genre for me. It's a story with an Outsider Art sensibility. I wasn't sure about it, but she really liked what I did.

Page1 Pages 2-3

Pages 4-5 Pages 6-7

And finally, here as promised, is a photo of the bush in the park taken on 5/11. If you remember I was documenting it's life along with my collage, The Measure of Breath, which I made for Seth Apter's Disintegration Collaboration. The collage is now off the terrace and waiting for its next life. Here is the beautiful park bush almost in full flower. Isn't it gorgeous!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Community Garden Tulips

Couldn't resist sharing these photos I took yesterday at the community garden a couple of blocks from my house. The garden was full of nothing but tulips in every state of bud to bloom and every color imaginable. One needs a bit of cheer like this on a rainy, dreary day in the city. Don't you think?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Disintegration Collaboration - The final reveal

The first phase of The Disintegration Collaboration ended on May 1. Here are the photos. The flowering bush is just about at its peak. The Measure of Breath is singing its swan song for this life.

I've included some sections of the collage so you can really see the changes from the first post on 3/14 to today.

The safety pin, shiny and new, is now rusted. The fabric strips are faded and weak.

At the start, the key, rusted washer and shiny paper clip were all together on the chain. Now they have fallen and all are rusted.

So, now we are on to the next phase. I have decided to continue documenting the bush in the park as it progresses into summer, then fall, then winter.

This has been a wonderful thing to participate in. And I do believe we have not heard the last from The Measure of Breath. So... stay tuned.

Do check out where Seth Apter, the maestro of this symphony of art, has been documenting the bundles from all 123 artists who are participating in this collaboration.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Distintegration Collaboration - 1 week to go

These photos are 8 days later. We are now one week from the end of phase one of the Disintegration Collaboration organized by Seth Apter. As you can see The Measure of Breath has undergone some serious changes due to the heavy rain and wind over the last week here in Manhattan. I had to punch another hole and re-hang it because the wind had ripped it from its moorings. The mat frame is bowed and pretty faded, the papers curled, the fabric strips more shredded and faded. Now look at the progress of the bush branches so green and budding brightly. I find I do like the contrast very much. I also find I am no longer sad or concerned about the collage's deterioration and have fully accepted it as it is. In fact, I can honestly say I find it has a certain beauty of its own and like to see it most when it is moving in the breeze.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Disintegration Collaboration - 10 days later

Ah, here we are 10 days later. Now you can really see the process of disintegration of The Measure of Breath. It is dry, faded, drooping. Sigh
And here our budding branch. It is succulent, vibrant, firm. Sigh.
The juxtaposition of the 2 processes - the collage and the budding bush - illustrates the truths of life and aging. When we are children, we yearn for maturity, to be bigger, to be grown. And when we are mature, bigger, grown, we yearn for youth. Never do we expect that when we are grown and can do as we wish, the trade-off is the physicality of fading, sagging, drooping.

To my eye, the collage now has a character and presence it didn't have in its younger days. So each can be valued as beautiful in its own way. Youth, maturity and age can each bring a sigh to one's heart. Each can evoke the excitement of looking forward to whatever the next day brings. And each can be enjoyed in its moment. It all depends on how you choose to see it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Disintegration Collaboration Week 3 - 2 Sighs

This past weekend was the end of my week three in the Disintegration Collaboration. Well. I have found I have become so connected to my collage that I am mourning its dying as it is happening. And, much to my distress, the wind and rain last week enirely carried off one of its elements. It's as if it lost a limb. See here.

On the other hand, the bush in the park is thriving. There's something very gratifying about watching something grow. Don't you think? Like the progress of a baby. It just makes you smile and puts a song in your heart. See here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Disintegration Collaboration End of Week I

So here we are with an update to the progression of my participation in the Disintegration Collaboration - a photo of my The Measure of Breath collage 1 week later and a branch from the same bush in the park in an equal amount of time. It occurs to me that the trajectory of life to birth into life proceeds at a much faster pace than the process of life into death even though they occur concurrently. The buds in the first photo were small, tightly closed little nubbins that were erupting from the branch. Only 1 week later, they are emerging as leaves at the same time as their stem branches also grow like little tributaries from the main branch. The collage, on the other hand, is only starting to look a little tired and faded. It's hard to see the changes in the piece from the first photo to the second. And this piece was out in a bit of snow, rain and wind over the week. Think about this in terms of a human or animal life. In mere months we progress from conception to birth into the perceived world. But it usually takes a whole life long to die.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Encaustic Painting & Mixed Media

I took an Encaustic Painting and Mixed Media workshop taught by Vincent Baldassano at the National Academy School of Art this past weekend. Here are the pieces I made in the order I made them, top to bottom. The first uses a photocopy of a photo of my mother in California. She had gone to be with my father who was stationed there with the Navy in WWII. I was conceived there and she came home to Brooklyn to give birth to me. The next one uses a photocopy of a photo I took in Mykonos, Greece in 1971. The photocopy was transferred to the paper-topped wood with soft gloss gel. I used egg shells to evoke the streets which are slate mosaics white washed around each irregular tile. The third was an experiment in layering the wax and then scraping back. The fourth is a last minute try at the end of the class to try a different color palette and incorporate only natural objects. It still needs work to be a finished piece.

It's a good thing I am a collector and can't throw anything away. I actually go out with a plastic bag to collect stuff and just in case I find something that might have some art use in the future. I also can never just throw out a wilted flower bouquet without deconstructing the blossoms and stems for drying and later use.

I really loved working with the encaustic. It has an immediacy that I find compelling.
I'm trying to cultivate more spontaneity and less precise planning which I find hangs me up and stops me from proceeding. I also found the odor of the wax very pleasant.

When the wax has thoroughly dried, you polish it with a soft cotton cloth which brings up the intensity of the colors and the piece just glows. Another lovely property of encaustic is that it will last for eons (see the funerary portraits of Fayum) but can also be re-worked forever. I love it that I can re-work the piece at some future time if I wish. I am always undoing and re-doing things I have made. I haven't figured out quite why I do this, but I do all the time.

So... Can you guess what the next art supplies purchase will be?

A photo of the progress of my piece for the Disintegration Collaboration along with an updated photo of the budding bush in the park is soon to follow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I've been thinking about the Disintegration Collaboration. It occurred to me that it might be fun to add my own twist along side my decomposing collage. So, every time I post a photo to document the process as my collage deteriorates, I will also post a photo of something growing or coming to life. Today on my way to work, I left the house earlier than I usually do so I could check out the trees in the park across the street. Here is a photo of the branch of a smallish tree - or maybe a bush - starting to bud. The dark shadow down the middle is me because I was in the path of the rising sun as I was photographing. So my presence has become part of the photo literally as well as figuratively. I haven't decided yet whether I will continue to photograph just the progression of this branch or various trees around the neighborhood to document the progression of life as a contrast to the progression of death (the collage). With the two juxtaposed, there is neither a beginning nor an end just as in the cycle of birth, death, rebirth... and so it goes.