Friday, January 4, 2013

Safe Passage: Book-In-A-Day Wk1

HOORAY!!! The first book is complete. It was an amazing experience and I learned so much. More than the learning, it feels great to accomplish something creative and I imagine having that feeling every week of this year will do something to add years to my life :-).

The first book, Safe Passage, is a homage to the journey my husband and I made in 2008 when we sold EVERYTHING we had accumulated in our suburbanite lives and made the trek to Oakland, CA so that I could pursue a second master's degree at Mills College. We both agree that it was the single most defining moment in our lives as a couple.

Not only did we free ourselves from a lifetime of collecting and gathering unnecessary material objects, we shed a great deal of financial stress and unhealthy habits. There were times, during the planning, when we thought we might not be able to make a huge move like that, but we were granted safe passage and our lives have never been richer. 
The first BIAD book uses a one-page structure that features a map of Northern California on one side and uses text from a poem I wrote in 2009 while attending the Voices of Our Nations (VONA) summer workshop in San Francisco. I studied with the amazing poet, Ruth Forman, who had us consider "home" in one of our writing assignments.
That poem, at the time, was about my fear of returning to my hometown for a visit and finding myself unable to leave. Home is comfortable. It's where we can relax and, for me, it's where I am most vulnerable. The thought of being so open and exposed frightens me and so I have mixed feelings about going home. The poem captures that, I think, and does a good job of sharing both the fear and the awe I have for my hometown (Pensacola, FL). 
I wanted the book to give the reader the experience of a long journey, while also entering into an intimate relationship with the idea of home. 
The one page structure allows for two levels of viewing. There's the actual large page when you view it full sized (representing the vastness of a journey), then there are the internal pages that you view as a traditional book (intimately, one city at a time).

The most exciting part about making this first book was the reminder of how much I LOVE TO CREATE things. I think we all can get caught up in the day-to-day of life, but if we pause and take a moment to enjoy creating, it can change our perspective on the day-to-day humdrum. 
So I learned a great deal while creating this first book. The most important lesson was that I am still holding on to perfection as a goal when I create and I've got to LET IT GO! The spontaneous and fast-paced nature of creating a book-in-a-day is something that doesn't allow for perfection, but instead, provides a safe space for intuitive creation. 

One of my goals with this series is to use things I either already have at home or that I can find and get the day I'm creating. That means, no ordering things online and waiting for them to come, no days and days of trekking to multiple art stores to find the right supply at the right price. It means that I've got to use what I have on hand and work with it the best I can. 

I'm up for that challenge because as a mixed-media book artist, I have been gathering and collecting items for far too long. I've got art supplies in this house that I've never even opened. This series of books will give me the chance to use what I've been "saving" or what I've forgotten about. It gives me the chance to explore new materials and try new techniques

Other epiphanies:
  • digital cameras are man-made, thus, bound to fail
  • technical issues are going to happen -- roll with it. 
  • I must physically press record on the camera
  • it's okay to think about the book (structure & content) ahead of time
  • gather all the materials you're thinking about using BEFORE you start making the book -- the morning of works well for that
  • consider the size of the book more intentionally
  • the grain of the paper really does make a difference
  • PVA glue does not last forever in a plastic container
  • editing the video is a part of the process
  • keep it simple sweetie
  • by the end of the year, I will have 52 prototypes if I want to edition any of the BIAD books!!!!!

I'm looking forward to the next book. I've started thinking about the structure I want to use, but content has not shown itself just yet, but I'm hopeful!

If you're watching the videos, I'm honored! If you're making the books, I'm intrigued, so please post them to the flickr group or on the Giving Hands Creative Community site (where you can get bonus videos, more photos, the text that appears in the book, and the list of materials I use). See you next week!!

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