Monday, July 10, 2017

Lucky 7 Book Art Bundles: Take Three and That's All!

Thanks everyone, for your interest in my work! The previous bundles sold out within 24 hours of announcement. Of the models, I think I'm down to what I can bear to part with now, and am posting these last ten bundles on nevermindtheart. Each is unique. Several have indicators on them that I made them, several are blank so you can use them. I hope you will use them, that's what they are for! More details at each individual listing

This is the last batch for the summer, anyway, but there are still Painted Paper Collage Packs, Creative Arts Process Cards, Star 82 Review subscriptions, a set of vintage letterpress party invitations, and other things available. (Addendum: 7/11/17 8:20AM, five still available.)

These are Deluxe Bundles and come with a bonus pack of 6 pieces of ephemera: letterpress or painted cards, notepad, book model and/or valentines (not shown, but included!).


21. Good Day Sunshine: gold and blue Japanese book cloth covered clamshell box that holds all the little books; pivoting panels with girl; flower fold with painted paper, gold embossing and gold ribbons; painted paper French link stitch with pockets; hardcover ledger style with beads and first page written as “Word Book encyclope/idea”; hardcover two-as-one with paste paper endpapers and white paper book block; painted paper fan book with post and screw binding; bonus: miniature hardcover stab binding with tabbed pages; (2) two-as-one with translucent cover SOLD

22. Drawing Room Burgundy: burgundy Japanese book cloth covered clamshell box; buttonhole with painted paper; hardcover fishbone fold with painted paper; handmade paper covers on pocket accordion with ribbon tie; hardcover multiple signature with shaped recess on cover and the word “fingerprints” handwritten inside with small square of painted paper; “admit one” flag book with tickets and reused bookcover; softcover painted paper covers with ledger style binding and white paper book block, small “key” charm SOLD

23. Expressive Notes: painted paper album style accordion; painted paper cover with exposed stitch binding and white book block; Coptic with distressed cover, yellow waxed linen thread, and “Said” debossed on front “This End Up” on back; hardcover wrapped with SF Bay Area map with small signatures sewn to accordion with white paper book block; painted paper wrapped box with attached scroll; hardcover blizzard book with music notes paper covering and white pockets, magnetic closure; painted paper two-as-one; bonus: Coptic with single corrugated cardboard boards

24. Gems: brush book with painted papers; buttonhole stitch with painted papers; hourglass binding with white paper book block; two-as-one with painted paper; purple and gold brocade covered shadow box or slipcase; handmade paper covers on accordion with pockets; painted paper circle accordion (lots of shiny pearlescence here!)

25. Tide Pool: paste paper exposed stitch with origami pockets; painted paper two-as-one; sparkly fishbone fold; hardcover stab binding with translucent pages; painted paper album accordion with window on cover and rounded corners, date stamped throughout “Jan 03 2006” (pink spot on back); portfolio with birdlike painted paper and cloth covers, red ribbon tie; paste paper covering paper over hardcover, stab binding with string hybrid with painted paper accordion inside

26. Sea Mystery: painted paper maze accordion book; painted paper woven accordion in softcover slipcase; handmade paper slot and tab; thick painted paper circle accordion; painted paper two-as-one; hardcover single signature; Coptic with painted paper and debossed, “Made In” inset painted paper and “AG 2005” on back  SOLD

27. Scenic Route: painted paper pages with French link stitch over tabs and “I Want To Speak to You in Your Own Language” in white on the cover, “2006 Golden” on the back; painted paper two-as-one; hardcover accordion with pocket pages made of glassine; small crossed structure with painted paper cover and dark painted paper book block; hardcover stab binding with map covers and “camping” written on cover, cream paper book block; hourglass binding with multicolored threads; Coptic with painted paper “X O X” debossed on the front cover, “AG 2005” on back; bonus; one small origami pocket SOLD

28. Sandy Shore: thick painted paper circle accordion; “admit one” flag book with tickets and reused bookcover; multiple signatures sewn through the hardcover, paste paper with mixed papers book block, attached found “sale price” tag; painted paper two-as-one; sparkly blue fishbone fold; hardcover split board binding with paste paper endpapers and white book block; paste paper accordion with hardcovers, backed with black paper, red ribbon tie SOLD

29. Circle’s Edge: two-as-one with translucent cover; flag book with painted paper flags and attached absurd words, title is “Wall spoon, wrapped hard covers; hardcover with painted accordion pages, gold foil stamping “At Circle’s Edge” and small hooked rug attached to the cover! also debossed “Alisa Golden”; exposed stitch with handmade paper, white paper book block with fold outs and circles cut in some of the pages; painted paper Coptic with “Gathers” debossed on cover, “AG 2005” on back, inset pieces of painted paper on cover; slipcase masquerading as a book with decorative paper covers, painted papers; hardcover portfolio with ribbon tie

30. Summer Beach Walk: painted paper circle accordion with “I want to tell you” handwritten on first page; hardcover with accordion and glass beads attached to the cover in a spiral, spirals stenciled on first page; painted paper two-as-one; painted paper two-as-one with “words and a” in small collage on cover; Coptic with red and white pages, reused book cover; hardcover multiple signature with paste paper covering boards and painted paper end sheets, cream book block; painted paper winged book with “The Big Chase” debossed on the cover, “AG 05” on back cover

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Lucky 7 Book Art Bundles: Take Two

No sooner than I announced them, the original Lucky 7 Book Art Bundles were sold out, almost. Thank you! I've been going through the studio to see what other models, seconds, boxes, and partially made projects and treasures I have squirreled away, and there seems to be a bounty. I've posted ten more bundles at nevermindtheart, in a flash, six have already sold (Addendum: 7/7/17 sold out, but there will be one more round coming next week, and I think that is all I've got! And you might want to take advantage of the new Painted Paper Collage Packs: once those are gone, they are gone). Each is listed as a separate item this time to guarantee that when you order you will get the one you desire. More details and photos at each listing. And some other new things as well!


11. Ocean: mini Coptic with two colors of thread (paired needle) and cream paper; medium painted origami pocket envelope; softcover ledger style with soft pages; hardcover with thick white and painted paper and ribbon tie; painted paper covering boards with white paper; painted softcover with bubbles/circles; painted softcover with exposed stitching


12. Street Color: frottage paste paper hardcover journal with rounded cloth spine and ribbon bookmark (boards slightly wide, could hold a writing tool here); buttonhole stitch with found papers; four mini models: Australian flat spine piano hinge, crossed structure, crown binding, album style; painted paper and half cloth with painted pages; bonus three: exposed stitch model with irregular map pages; two pamphlets: one single signature, one two-as-one SOLD


13. Spring Bright: frottage paste paper hardcover journal with white pages, painted endpapers; half cloth painted paper hardcover with painted pages; pamphlet with sewn collage and white paper; flag book with painted envelope flags and flower collage on cover with ribbon tie; circle accordion with white paper and printed with cats on the front and birds on the back with ampersand at the spine; Coptic with painted pages and wrapped hard covers; multiple signature with flexible spine and signatures sewn to accordion


14. Water’s Edge: Coptic with painted paper; Coptic with distressed cover “Doors in the Harbor”; hardcover with paper bag pages; hardcover portfolio with ribbon tie and printed with a marbled paper look; large crossed structure with bundled threads and thick Strathmore drawing paper; circle accordion with painted pages and small stencil of white fish; winged book with painted paper SOLD


15. Hearth: hardcover portfolio with ribbon tie and cloth spine; mini hardcover portfolio with frottage paste papers and cloth spine; mix and match accordion with painted paper and stencils; crown book with masks  or catlike painted pages;  painted paper sewn onto tabs; two-as-one hardcover with painted pages; bonus: hardcover pants book SOLD


16. Iridescence: postcard portfolio with ribbon tie (I use one when I travel); painted paper back-to-back accordion with stenciled cards; small Coptic; hardcover with painted paper and origami pockets; softcover exposed stitch with book cloth cover; crown binding with painted paper; hardcover accordion with signatures and pockets  SOLD


17. Living Room: flag book with hard covers and painted pages, “stirring”; winged book with hard covers, “Would You”; hardcover stab binding with striped paper and circle; hardcover multiple signature with painted cloth cover and painted paper end sheets; painted paper hardcover with origami pockets; softcover with painted paper, gesso “label” for your title, ribbon bookmark and painted pages; hardcover portfolio with cloth spine, ribbon tie; bonus: “admit one” combination flag and pants book with tickets SOLD


18. Bright Life: hardcover portfolio with ribbon tie; small stab binding; painted woven accordion with matching slipcase; hardcover with painted pages; accordion with painted cover and cats and birds; hardcover with painted paper cover and origami pockets; hardcover accordion with signatures and pockets; bonus: hardcover pants book with blue paper


19. Red and Gold: postcard portfolio (I use one when I travel); ledger with soft pages and raffia; secret Belgian binding with painted pocket pages; sketchbook with debased illustration (see detail photo at nevermindtheart); pamphlet with exposed stitch; circle accordion with painted pages; painted paper notebook with rounded corners and black cover


20. Some Birds; painted paper crossed structure; flag book with handcarved bird stamp; album accordion with painted pages; exposed stitch with colorful cord; painted paper hardcover with white paper; painted paper portfolio with cloth spine; hardcover accordion with cloth-covering boards and bead closure SOLD


Separately, I've also added two different kinds of miniatures, each under three inches:

a miniature painted cross-structure with faux gold leaf in a clear acrylic case (4 available)


and a pair of stormy mini journals or gifts in brightly colored slipcase (3 available. Slipcase colors: sun yellow, spring green, or bright sky blue)

Also new: Painted Paper Collage Packs. A unique collection of hand painted paper. Each colorful pack is bursting with scraps of painted papers I've created over the years. Plenty for a collage party! nevermindtheart

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Collage Art of Irwin Kremen

When you're a kid, there's at least one inevitable moment where you pick something up off the ground and say "Look what I found!" and the grown-up person whose care you are in says, "Put that down, it's trash." And you are disappointed and perhaps puzzled. It looked good to you! Artists have been working with found "trash" for decades, and at least a hundred years. 

The publication Kurt Schwitters mentions that in the 1920s, when Schwitters was in his thirties, he "wandered about Hanover in search of refuse which attracted his eye" and "was obsessed by the human associations of his junk." He sought to "give it a new identity" (14). This desire to provide a new identity, this transformation, is one key to why it is an intentional artwork. He introduced things that had never met, arranged them carefully in a new setting. Another very important part is the worn and handled quality of each piece of paper; each was used and discarded, had another life, was altered by rain or dirt, air or time, and each came in contact, at some point, with a human being.

If you have ever been interested in Schwitters' work, you may also like the collages of Irwin Kremen, now on view at the Berkeley Art Museum. He began making collages in the 1960s, many years after he had attended Black Mountain College with John Cage (who dedicated 4'33" to him), and he cited Italo Valenti as his inspiration. Kremen was a student of Josef Albers, most noted for his theory of color interactions, and he encouraged his students to "make art out of almost anything," something that Robert Rauschenberg, another Albers student, also took to heart with his assemblages.


Kremen's collages are intimately sized. You must go close to see the details. I read only afterward that the pieces are attached to the support and to each other with "extremely thin Japanese-paper hinges." Lawrence Rinder, in the text on the exhibition brochure, writes that this makes the collages seem more sculptural, although I am not sure that the tissue itself would have such an effect on the work. More likely, where the paper was not attached would provide a very slight shadow effect. I will have to go back and look again. The reproductions in the brochure look fairly flat. The technique is a nice one though; it eliminates the warping that can happen with wet paste or glue.

The collages are small and tightly composed, balancing cut and torn edges, placement of spot color, layering, and textures and text in a very pleasing manner. Countdown 3, on the brochure, has several threads at the top edge that even with all the colorful fragmented letters, draws your eye back up to look at them. Balanced, I think. (A source of tension, though, for viewers who like clean edges and may wish to clip them.)

I continue to wonder about what makes some of us like art composed of discarded things. When we are little, we have imagination to make a Popsicle stick into a doll. When we are young we may be scrounging for discarded materials, our paychecks not providing us with the luxury of new sketch paper. Or it may be a moral issue; we may wish to help the planet by recycling or reusing. On the formal side, interesting textures and subtle color variations are built into found materials that may be "unduplicable" as Kremen prefers. When we get older we may recognize the dents, may identify with them as our bodies have been shaped by our environment and human touch as well.

As I have been writing this, I have been conscious that I've only mentioned male artists. I wondered what women made minimalist collages like Schwitters or Kremen. Through a search, I found this article in The New Yorker about Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction, an exhibition from spring 2017 at MOMA (up through August!), which took me to Anne Ryan (1889-1954), who had a show at The Met in 2010. Ryan created intimate collages as well, particularly one shown: Number 7. Her collages were made of both paper and fabric.

The New Yorker article said something particularly interesting, that abstract art "masked personal identity" and therefore opened up the field to women. I'm having trouble with that concept. Women have always created art, we just haven't seen all of it. It also seems curious to me that in 2017 we still have categorized shows with titles that include "Women Artists," making the default that artists without further description are men. But if I had been on my toes earlier, I would have discovered that Kremen's "friend and former writing instructor at Black Mountain College, M.C. Richards, who encouraged him to try making a cloth collage" was a woman. She was a poet and a potter, and founded Black Mountain Press, wrote a book Centering in Pottery, Poetry, and the Person, and is the subject of a documentary. The inspiring trailer for The Fire Within is here. I can see why her students were so fond of her. And I think it interesting that she is mentioned as the one who may be the initial catalyst for Kremen's collages, although in the brochure she is only given that one line.

I am also not so sure that abstract art can mask your personal identity. Your choices show. Your decisions, your preferred colors, shapes, patterns, and materials say something about you even if there is not any subject content that points to a particular race, gender, sex, age, ethnicity and so forth. 

Titles are wonderful ways to add to the magic of artwork. I always feel the artist has given up when s/he creates one "Untitled" after another. Kremen titles his collages as identifying marks or perhaps personal jokes, not as literal descriptors. What is "Quimper Pink?" We can only imagine. A search, however, says "quimper" is a commune in northwestern France. Or is it now a word transformed?

The exhibition is showing at the Berkeley Art Museum until August 27, 2017. A catalogue of Irwin Kremen's work from an earlier exhibition, Beyond Black Mountain: Irwin Kremen (1966 to 2006) is still available. You can also see several works from the Berkeley exhibition that range from 1973 to 2007 online at the BAMPFA website.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Lucky 7 Book Art Bundles

I've experimented and made hundreds of book structure models over the years, painted and blank, stenciled, stitched, and woven. You may have seen them here on the blog, or  in one of the instructional books I've written, or maybe even in a class or workshop I've given. They represent much work and play. I went through and assembled ten bundles for your perusal, offering the bundles on nevermindtheart, my Etsy shop. You can write, draw, or collage on top of the painted pages, use them for travel, special occasions, journals, or gifts, or keep them as models for your own projects. Some of the journals have plain white or black paper, and the painted boxes could benefit from your additional content.

All ten bundles are shown and described below. For easy identification (I hope) I've given them simple names as well. You can find the direct listing here.
Addendum 6.27.17: these sold out, but I will try to assemble another group in the next couple weeks!
BUT WAIT! Due to a glitch (my apologies to those who didn't get their first choice!), three are available again: {3. Romantic Purples} {8. Autumn Muse} {9. Found & Transformed}.
Addendum 7.1.17: Just these two: {3. Romantic Purples} and {9. Found & Transformed}.


1. Curious Patterns 
fishbone fold, three softcover journals with red/blue/green pages, album fold with rounded corners, Australian piano-hinge, two-as-one hardcover, multiple signature soft cover, painted box; bonus: all three softcover journals as a set

2. Earth/Sea 
buttonhole stitch, fishbone fold, woven accordion in softcover slipcase, Coptic with painted cover, painted circle accordion, painted hardcover circle accordion with fish stencil and pockets, painted box; bonus: multiple signature soft cover

3. Romantic Purples
hourglass binding, fishbone fold with shaped edges, crossed-structure, flag book with origami pockets, circle accordion with dark painted paper and eye stencils, pocket circle accordion, checked hardcover with black pages

4. Bold Brights
thick notepad in hardcover portfolio, French link stitch with origami pocket pages, painted circle accordion, woven accordion in softcover slipcase, hardcover accordion with pocket pages, codex sewn over tabs, painted box; bonus: small fishbone fold

5. Modern Inventive
pocket-sized cross-structure, fishbone fold, painted hardcover with house-shaped pages, hardcover crown binding, secret Belgian binding (criss-cross) with painted pages, painted circle accordion, checked hardcover with black pages; bonus: tiny portfolio

6. Velvet Thoughts
black velvet hardcover with black accordion pages, hourglass, fishbone fold, “Lost and Found” painted hardcover with single flag pages, painted circle accordion, painted circle accordion with black cover, checked hardcover with black pages
note: black velvet has a pretty burnout pattern, how-to at this link

7. Bright & Centered
mini woven codex with painted pages, French link stitch with envelope pocket pages and pamphlets, fishbone fold, painted hardcover Venetian blind with bead toggle, painted circle accordion, square box with painted paper covering, checked hardcover with black pages

8. Autumn Muse
hardcover book with paper bag pages, woven accordion in softcover slipcase, secret Belgian binding (criss-cross) with painted pages, crossed-structure, woven codex with flower stencil on cover, hinged triptych with photos, clamshell box with printed hands; bonus: mini fishbone fold

9. Found & Transformed
box made of found book covers, fishbone fold, crossed structure with found cover, painted circle accordion, “fortuneMATCH” accordion with tiny envelopes and paper-fastener volvelle, woven accordion in softcover slipcase, hardcover with map pages

10. Summer View
hardcover multiple signature with blue and yellow handmade papers and envelopes from Barcelona, crossed structure, hardcover two-as-one with handmade paper with embedded flowers and ribbon, woven accordion in softcover slipcase, hardcover back-to-back accordion with multicolored tie and stenciled cards, circle accordion with fish imagery, painted circle accordion; bonus: wrapped hard cover accordion with black paper


Lucky 7 Book Art Bundles and other books may be purchased here.