Monday, March 24, 2014

Paper Has a Memory—So Does PCBA

A surprise email got me thinking. Kathleen Burch, one of the founders of San Francisco Center for the Book, and John McBride appear to be relaunching the Pacific Center for the Book Arts with a new website and a members' show at the San Francisco Public Library, June 21 - September 6, 2014. If you join now and send your info to PCBA by Friday, March 28, you can be in the show as well (no entry fee other than dues). I hadn't heard a peep from PCBA for several years.

PCBA was founded in 1978 by a variety of writers, artists, printers, papermakers, calligraphers, conservators, students, teachers, professionals, all those involved in the book arts. And they didn't all live in northern California; members were from around the world. San Francisco Center for the Book evolved from the work PCBA was doing, and was established by two then-PCBA board members in 1996 to provide a space for the book arts community: Mary Austin and the above-mentioned Kathleen Burch. Lectures at Mills college, events, the journal The Ampersand, and classes were some of the benefits of being a PCBA member. I joined around 1986 and was drafted to become a board member and program director, which I did from 1994-96. At the time, I instituted a series of "Book Arts Evenings and Weekends." Approximately 20-60 people attended these events. Three people showed their work each time: an established book artist who had influenced many others, a early-mid career artist, and a student. It was a great way for different generations to meet. The biennial members' show at San Francisco Public Library was always a highlight: inclusive and interesting.

I responded to Kathleen's call for entries and rejoined PCBA, which makes me think backwards and forwards at the same time. What did we have? How has the world changed since then? What can PCBA do now that is the same or different?

The book I decided to show is a felted book, Beautiful Tattoos, the one in which I first used needlefelted text. But as I handled it I decided it needed a box. And as I made the box, which can be used to hold it for display, I had to consider the materials. The book was made in 2008-09. The box in 2014. Old and new. I painted paper for the box cover, then painted over  it with gesso and scratched into it. I sewed a few stitches to indicate the front. Black book cloth for the sides, yes. But the painted paper I was going to use for the inside seemed to compete with the simple felt book. Gasp! I would have to buy a decorative paper.

photo: Sibila Savage

Not that I don't like decorative papers. I love looking at them in the stores. But I have a bad habit of being able to identify them when I see them in other people's work, so I've tried to stay away from them in my own. I don't really want someone to say, "Oh, that's a Lama Li lokta paper!" It takes away from the art. And yet. It was exactly what the book/box needed. And the book/box has final say.

Thinking again about decorative papers, I realize that they document a time. Paper mills go in and out of business, designs change, materials become unavailable. You can look at a book and know when it was made by the kinds of papers it uses. So, it occurred to me that it was okay. That it might be identifiable now, but in ten years, the paper would speak to another time.

Paper has a memory. So does PCBA.
PCBA is back. Let's see what we can do this time.
To join, see PCBA membership.  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Opening of PrintWorks

A steady crowd of art students, teachers and friends attended the opening for the PrintWorks show on Wednesday night. Much of the excitement centered around 50 Cent Prints! Imin Yeh's print dispenser. My household alone pumped sixteen quarters into the machine. Those who got duplicates were happy to trade. 

Nance O'Banion: hand, ear
Marsha Shaw: birds
Imin Yeh: morale box 
?: my life
Amber Fawn Keig: portion of her lithograph "Attainment"

And, he gets one of Nance's ears!

This view is the street and art students wearing black
as seen through part of the hanging portion of
Laurel Prieto's installation, "Maybe We Are Safe Here,"
screen printed and hand stitched on fabric and paper.
Lots of hand stitching around the edges of the hands and arms.
I learned from her work that you can still work small if you like,
and multiple small pieces add up to one big installation.

(I agree it would be nice if the trashcan was not there.)

Erik Madsen's full installation, "Ricochet."
(Yes, apparently there is a multiverse.)

The ball has changed since the last photo/post:
now it has letters and numbers on it
and we all want to ink it up, roll it around and print it!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Openings in the Landscape

Page spreads. Two-page spreads. Double spreads. Double-page spreads. Openings. These terms all describe two pages that face each other. Verso and recto. Back and front. Together, they resemble wings. Openings. It is Spring. I was able to replace my lost camera with a twin and took my walk with openings in mind. Openings. Book or bouquet?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

PrintWorks Exhibition at CCA, March 19-28

In anticipation of the SGC International conference in the San Francisco Bay Area (and the 1400 registered participants), my colleague Nance O'Banion (co-chair of the program with Michelle Murillo) and I have been curating PrintWorks: CCA Faculty and Alumni, one of three printmaking exhibitions with the umbrella title Deciphering the Print. The show has been installed in the College Ave Galleries (5241 College, at Broadway in Oakland, CA) and was being lit as I left after class on Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 19, the gallery will be open from 11am to 7:30pm. I will be there from about 5:30pm - 7:30pm, during which time the Synthesis exhibition in the Oliver Art Center will have a reception and The Osaka Exchange show in IPW will also be open. Friday, March 28, the three galleries will be open all day as well, with food trucks parked on campus, I hear. Hours: March 19-22, W 11am-7:30pm, Th 11-6, F 11-6, Sat 11-6; March 25-28, T/W/Th 11-6, F 11am-5pm.

Here is a glimpse of the show. 
A full-color catalogue of PrintWorks: CCA Faculty and Alumni of all the 50+ works, artists' statements and bios is available from Amazon. (Along with Star 82 Review 2.1, working on the catalogue has kept me busy since January.)

Welcome to PrintWorks!

Val Britton's piece Radiant Stormfield really anchors the space.
Michelle Murillo's glassworks In the Letters are on the two pedestals.
Kathleen Larisch's Gull hangs at the left.

Another view of Val Britton's piece and Michelle Murillo's glassworks.

Carole Jeung's untitled monotypes grace the wall.
Imin Yeh's 50 Cent Prints! machine is a refurbished sticker/tattoo machine
loaded with small prints from the participants and others. 
The prints may be purchased for fifty cents each. Forget doing laundry, buy some art!

Nance refers to the very southmost gallery as the "quiet room."
It's a nice place to contemplate nature prints and prints in natural colors.
Tomoko Murakami's screen Yusaifu #19 - Soaring into the Night
looks wonderful backlit (see the catalogue): it's really in blues and purples.
Betsy Davids's palm leaf book, inscribed on actual palm leaves 
Rain Water and Red Earth may be read while sitting at the low table.
KC Rosenberg's Bold Journeys, A California State Series: 
Homestead Acts 1 & 2 hanging at right.

The opposite end of the quiet room. 
My piece Woods in the City is on the right.
Greg Piatt's Bottle Print #420, far left.
Cianna Valley's amazing installation, center.
Val Britton's piece, as seen through the doorway.

out of the mind by way of the hands, in through the eyes and out again
Cianna Valley's amazing piece.
There's an etching of the scene, top right.
She has made just about everything here.
The plants are made of paper.
The roll of bills under the glass bottle are intaglio as well.
Tiny dioramas in the hollowed-out eggs.

View through the doorways to the other two rooms.
Ben Ilka's lithograph A Lo Hecho, Pecho on the left.
Kate Klingbeil's pin piece Digital Letdown (Seduced by the Stone) on the heart:
the pieces are stone lithographs, monotypes, and watercolors.
Lisa Kokin's altered book Sew Not in Anger on the pedestal.
Marsha Shaw's screenprint, Cecile on the right.

In the third room, the people room.
Amber Fawn Keig's lithograph on the left.
Nance O'Banion and Casey Gardner's book with volvelles, HereSay.
Another view of Lisa Kokin's book.
Brian Schuck's screenprint portraits of his professors Betsy Davids and Jack Ford.
Marsha Shaw's two screenprints on the right.

In the room with Kate's  heart 
we find a wall piece The Slingshot Forest from Arielle Coupe with tiny etchings!
And two larger mezzotints from Abe Kummerow: 
Necroguardian III and Lizard Black Paragon.

Here, too, an installation by Erik Madsen that invites the question:
Did that ball come out of that tube and bounce on the
floor, hit the wall and land? 
Or was that the creative energy that bounced,
leaving the ball in its place?

Please do visit us and see all this creative energy!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Star 82 Review 2.1 is Live!

It's March, we're anticipating the equinox, and that means another quarterly issue of the art and literary magazine Star 82 Review has been released!

In Issue 2.1, we're looking for color in the spring. Or not. We can't help but notice new buds, bright sky, skin beginning to show again. Excitement, maybe, new beginnings, could be. Renewal of view, maybe vow. In the mirror we see something in our peripheral vision, a movement just out of sight. Or an alternate identity.

There's trouble. There's music. Graffiti, visions, pools filled and empty. We have a new poem, just written, by acclaimed poet Joanne Kyger, photos by Mary Daniel Hobson that look like tattoos, but aren't, photos of grotesques by Ron Nath, an erasure text from two pages of Frankenstein by Jønathan Lyons and so much more. We're unsure of ourselves, spinning, a little wobbly, trying out spring's new shoes. But our "ardent curiosity" pushes us forward.

Web: Read online here.
Print: Support the magazine and order a print copy here or from Amazon.

Save the Date! In cooperation with Another Room Book Arts, Star 82 Review is having an event at Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore in Berkeley on Sunday, April 27th at 4pm. See their listing or news on my website.

Contributors to Star 82 Review 2.1:
Amina Aineb
Richard Baldasty
Salena Casha
Peter Cherches
Chelsey Clammer
Dawn Corrigan
Frank De Canio
Sally Decker
Karen B. Golightly
Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez
Michael Hemmingson
Mary Daniel Hobson
Ted Jean
Eddie Jeffrey
Vanessa Couto Johnson
Max Jacob, trans. by Alastair Johnston
Sarah Katharina Kayß
Sarah Kobrinsky
Joanne Kyger
Daniel Lehan
Terry Lucas
Jønathan Lyons
Gina Marie Mammano
Ron Morita
Ron Nath
Eric Otto
Sasha Piergeorge
Jessy Randall
Daniel Romo
Jordan Sanderson
Alex Sarrigeorgiou
Fabio Sassi

Friday, March 7, 2014

Why Shoot? (Photos)

I begged for a camera for my seventh birthday and happily received it: a Kodak Instamatic 124, along with 126 cartridge film and flash cubes. I thought everyone wanted a camera, although I realize now that my mother never took pictures. That was my father's job. Actually, it was his interest in documenting the present for the future that drove and still drives him. It didn't matter that I had on ugly shoes(!) or had just been made to put on a sweater(!). Focus, look over here, snap!

My first pictures were of ducks, trees, nature, taken at some camp we were visiting. The only indicator is a sign: Whispering Pines Self-Guided Nature Trail. The pictures are fading. But the web tells me it was probably here in the National Forest in San Bernardino. If what another website says is true, the trail "was originally created to be featured in a 1969 television show 'Lassie.'" Found the episode: Season 16, "More Than Meets the Eye," about a blind girl. It fits.

Why do we take pictures? Dad takes them as documents and to remember. I started by taking pictures of things I liked: rocks in a stream, a canopy of trees, pine forest, and the sign. A couple years after I got the camera, I began dressing up my little sister and having her pose for me. I took my camera on field trips, to visit relatives, wherever we went. I still do, but my vision is different. I'm looking for more than just a funny or pretty picture.

On my daily walk, which is always the same, I look for things that have changed. A dead tree that grew in the middle of the road was dug up and the street was paved over. I think I have a picture of the tree before it disappeared. The neighbors put a Christmas tree in the middle of the road during the day; they hope to plant a new tree and want to get the locals used to the idea. The Christmas tree had a paper with haiku written to the fallen tree on it. Snap. I like pictures that have stories.

I know I'm still taking pictures of things I like, that seem beautiful or interesting to me, but as my photo library grows out of control, I'm starting to look more carefully. Do I need another cool sunset? Another picture of the neighbor cat (I swore off of those a few years ago but can't seem to stop.) I've tried to be more discerning about what pictures I take, but taking pictures helps me process what I'm seeing. When I take pictures I look at the world differently: I look for colors, shapes, composition, for story, for things that are probably temporary. If I miss a photo and come back to look for it, it's usually gone, like the time I saw that someone had mowed their lawn in a spiral, or the circle of mushrooms that had grown up on another patch of grass. 

Some of the common subjects for my students have been the Person on a Bed picture and the Abandoned Building Series. Interesting how they are drawn to the same things. I have a fondness for abandoned buildings, myself. The building materials have interesting textures. Ruins suggest stories of people now gone.

From what I read online, I see I am not alone in having recently lost my camera. My pocket camera. I have one that is older, larger, heavier, still digital, but a pain to carry around. I know some people would just tell me to live in the moment, don't worry about the pictures I'm missing. But taking pictures is a way of interacting with the world, and it works for me. 

Cameras keep changing. I'm sorry I lost the old one. Online research helped me discover the geographical location of a lost memory. I'm certain it can help me find a new camera.