Today I went for my annual mammogram appointment. (Yes, ouch!) While I was in with the technician and she was, um, pressing the relevant parts, I suddenly started laughing. She told me that it is very unusual for someone to laugh during this process that everyone dreads.
What I didn’t tell her was that I suddenly had a vision of the book covers and finished books that I put under a lot of weight in my studio and leave overnight while they dry flat. I could just imagine those little sandwiches of paper saying “ow….” and then I took a moment to be grateful that I didn’t have to stay in this situation overnight!
A little levity never hurts and prevention is always a good thing. Are you or a loved one putting off this important medical screening? Please make your appointment soon!
Last week I finished unpacking my studio and starting working on several new artists’ books. They’re ideas I’ve had floating around during moving and recovery and, finally, I’m ready to get back to work. After months of getting a house ready to sell, moving for the first time in 15 years, and then having a hysterectomy and recovering from that – I finally feel like I once again have the physical and mental energy I need to dedicate to being an artist.
First, I had to start the week by beating myself up mentally. Why on earth didn’t I write/create/develop ideas while recovering? All I was doing was lying around, right?
Next, I had to forgive myself. Apparently I needed all of the energy I had just to heal. I wish I could have used that time more productively (I don’t think watching 63 episodes of Eureka counts as productive) but for some reason I couldn’t. I tried.
And finally, I’m dusting off the cobwebs (and my tools) and starting anew. I’ve started working on images for one of the new artists’ books. Family and friends are gamely standing against a white while for photos while wondering what on earth I’m going to do with them.
Photoshop is less intuitive right now – I know I used to know how to do all of this. I’ve started taking photographs every day – Oh, how I love to take pictures! So far mostly of my garden growing and some jam I made this morning.
I’ve hooked up my new printer, a Canon iX6520 (all by myself, no husband-who-is-an-engineer-tech-support!) and I’ve started testing it. My beloved HP that I’ve used to print all of my artists’ books went kaput and I feel like I’m back at square one. Can I use pages I’ve already printed with pages from the new printer? Do I have to start over? Will this printer print on Rives BFK as beautifully as that old printer?
And I’ve started working in my studio. I’ll post photos of the studio later this week. Right now I’ve got the radio cranked up and I’m remembering how to hold a bone folder and being grateful for my health, for being able to find most things where I look on the first try, and for my amazing new workspace.
Part of the CBAA conference was the member showcase where artists had the opportunity to share their work. Originally I’d signed up for a table but later I realized that if I was showing my artists’ books I wouldn’t be able to enjoy and learn from the wealth of other work being shown. It turned out to be the right decision. I spent two hours (and could have spent all day) talking to artists and looking at their work and learning not only about the techniques, content and strategies used in their art making but also formulating a list of questions I need to explore about my own.
I’ll start by telling you about Luz Marina Ruiz. I first met Luz Marina Ruiz in 2010 via one of her artists’ books at the Unbound show at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. I fell in love with her tunnel books: rich and vibrant, mysterious and welcoming.
After we go to any art show, performance or concert Greg and I usually share a meal and discuss the work – one of our favorite conversations after an art show or museum exhibit is for each of us to pick our “top 3” pieces and explain why. On that day both of us picked Luz Marina Ruiz’s tunnel book as our top piece.
I next met her, in person, at Codex and had the joy of seeing many more of her exquisite artists’ books. There is something about the angularity, the dense blackness and the vibrant colors that make her tunnel books particularly successful.
At the CBAA conference we had the opportunity to meet again and, this time, to discuss her techniques. In the tunnel books that I come back to over and over again, the black is printed on a press and the color is hand-painted. In some cases a thin layer of beeswax is also applied. She generously talked me through the entire process and gave me tips to use beeswax successfully. At the close of our conversation I was pleased to hear that Luz Marina Ruiz has joined the faculty at Mills College. I hope to have the opportunity to take a class with her soon!
Next: Laura Russell