‘Night’ Book 1

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Sometimes I have to make quick and dirty little mini-books to sort of sketch out ideas for bigger, more involved pieces. So that’s the reason this thing exists. It’s not a fully-developed concept or anything, but is more just an experiment to see if anything useful can come out of working with fragments of text and pattern. The jury’s still out on that, but it’s good practice, anyway.

1. I took two sheets of 4-blend Morgan Conservatory handmade paper (12″ x 24″ if I remember right) and drew all over them front and back with red and black Higgins India Ink. I used a bamboo brush and a Speedball dip pen. The theme was “night,” so I wrote a bunch of random snippets of text that all related to various nighttime memories. And I made lists of stars and constellations and moons and planets. The patterns are like TV static or the patterns on old blankets my great-grandmother had in her house or like nets or dark curtains.

2. I folded the paper and cut it up into folios for a 4 1/8″ square book. Actually, there was enough paper for two books of six folios each, with little random scraps stuck in here and there. The covers are mocha Hahnemühle Bugra. Parts of the text were lost at the board shear, which was okay. Half the whole idea was, the text ought to be bigger than the book. Plus it was supposed to get fragmented so that it becomes hard if not impossible to reconstruct, so that now little pieces are left behind to maybe evoke thoughts they might not evoke if they were embedded in stories that made perfect sense.

3. I bound one book with a single stitch of red thread and the other with a single stitch of black, then placed both books in a wooden box I made four years ago, which just goes to show you, don’t throw things away. Although: don’t let boxes sit around empty for four years ever again. Anyhow, I didn’t bind them together into a double-section book because I want there to be some danger of the books becoming separated over time. I’m weird like that. Sorry, except, not really.

4. I scanned the whole thing for a record, because the whole thing was an experiment. Then I put it in a cardboard box and mailed it away to where it needed to go and I’ll probably never see it or hear about it again. But at least I know now that I can make a little progress if I try on occasion to make some. Anyway, I might post the other book later…it’s a lot of scans to Photoshop and I have a lot of other tasks to finish today.

Also: Morgan paper seems to take ink really well. I will definitely use it again for drawing stuff. I need eventually to see what it’s like for printing.

And: I guess you’re not really acting like a press when you make a bunch of unique, hand-drawn books. But I’m making them to sort of help me with my print work, which is mostly afloat on a raft out at sea at the moment.

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