Gardening is sometimes an excuse not to make books. At other times making books is the excuse not to work in the garden. Both are a reason to avoid housework. First a cucumber photo - one moment they are tiny, the next too big. The girls love them.
We also have an great harvest of tomatoes, so totally different to the bought ones. This became tomato soup, which eaten cold was just fabulous.
Now to something bookish...About 6 months ago I joined a group called Book Art Object. The original idea came from Double Elephant and, in her words, (far more coherent than my attempt to explain) - "a group of artists interested in books and book objects is using different texts as a starting point for making a small edition of artists' books. This is the inaugural project and about eight artists are going to make an edition of nine books each; participants will get a full set of the books and the final set will be available for exhibition."
Originally one set of the books was to be entered in the 2010 Libris Awards but we later decided to work towards an exhibition later in 2010. The eight participants are Double Elephant, Amanda, Ampersand Duck, art and etc. , Ida Musidora, Dinamow, Precious Little Birdy, and myself.
The theme chosen is a poem by Rosemary Dobson titled Learning Absences, 1986. We have all come at this from different directions and I could see that it possibly concerned the loss and absence of another, perhaps through separation, divorce or death. However, my primary feeling was something that concerned me personally, and that was the loss of the other person through dementia; the virtual absence of the other while still physically living in the home, and the heartbreak of living with and loving someone who no longer recognised you. I wanted to produce a tribute to my father, a loving, gentle and talented man who just drifted away from us. I wanted to do it for my mother, who never stopped loving him, even when he didn't remember her.
My head was filled with ideas, sleepless nights were a pleasure as I worked out my book in my head, wrote pages of notes, developed text, made so many plans - but it was an emotional roller-coaster. A normally quite private person, I was about to make all my feelings public. That's where I came unstuck. The deeper I went into the experience the more panic stricken I became until I realised that what I was planning was way too big for me to handle, both technically, financially and emotionally. So I went back to Square 1, where I found I was out of ideas. Lots written down but I could no longer contemplate them because they weren't my Big Idea. Two months ago my mother passed away and I almost reached the point where I thought I would abandon the project altogether.
However, the wonderful Double Elephant, under extraordinary difficulties, produced her set of books and my copy arrived in the mail. An exquisite book, in an embossed handmade (of course) box - my spirits lifted immediately and I knew I couldn't drop out.
It has taken months for me to finally admit that I need to simplify, pare down, and - for goodness sake - make a book. Not only one book but an edition of at least nine! So, I'm again planning, drawing diagrams, making models and I think this time I'm on the way. I'm not ready yet to share any pics (I am a loner, after all) but putting this in writing is something of a committment. Now I'm still doing it for Dad and Mum but most of all I'm doing it for myself because you can't call yourself a book binder if you stop making books.
I recently bought a really beautiful, very tiny book from Eva at Lady Artisan. I bought it for a gift so I'm not about to show a photo of it but I'm very tempted to buy something for myself.
And for no reason whatsoever, except that I love the little buildings we have on our property, and because I'm so impressed by my son's ability to transform timber into useful things, I'm ending with a photo of our rustic garden shed. I may well end up being the old-timer sitting on the verandah, talking about the good old days with my equally old friends. I can only hope...