Monday, August 22, 2016
Readers of a certain age may recall Abbie Hoffman, the 1960s counterculture and antiwar provocateur who wrote a book titled "Steal This Book." I am going to steal his title and encourage all of you to steal this book idea.
Last week I wrote about a little book that I made from selectively reading the newspaper for two weeks, clipping all the words "early," "late," "earlier," "later," "earliest" and "latest." Then I arranged them into lists and theme groupings, some of which started to feel like poems. Several people left comments that they were intrigued by this approach, and one even said "I am fighting hard against the idea of stealing this idea."
Well, I'm here to tell you STEAL IT!! I think this concept, which I'm going to call "newspaper poetry," is a neat idea and I would love it if other people would take it up too. This is not the first newspaper poetry project I've done. In past years I did several collections of haiku clipped from the newspaper (read about all my found poetry projects here).
I'm no stranger to reading the paper with a scissors at hand/ I've learned several practical things, such as keep a scissors right there, put your clippings immediately into a little envelope, and wait till after your husband has read it before you start cutting. I've also learned that your subconscious mind starts arranging the bits into coherent piles long before you actually get around to pasting up the bok.
I'd like to put out a challenge to any readers who like text, and like making little books, or even to those who like only one of the two. Find a theme, and make a little book! Then send me a picture and I'll show it to everybody.
If you can't think of a theme, here are some that might strike your fancy or lead you to your own idea:
- the words "cat" and "dog" (or any animal at all)
- the words "better" and "worse" (or any other set of opposites)
- the words "bride" and "groom"
- the names of colors
-spelled-out numbers (this will be easy up to "ten" but more challenging beyond that)
- pictures of animals, if the captions mention them (cut out the captions too)
- pictures and/or references to babies
- really stupid remarks (that wouldn't be hard in my local newspaper...)
- people with your own name or the names of your family members
- words that rhyme
Just cut out clippings for a week or so and see how it's going. Worry about making the little book later. Have fun!
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Friday, August 19, 2016
My son sent me an email the other morning -- "Do you have fiberfill?"
What on earth could this be about? He said it was for a secret project and he would come over and show me.
He pulled this out of his bag:
The occasion was his first anniversary, and after some discussion with his wife about what she would like him to do for her, she tossed out an off-hand remark -- "what I really want is a crocheted Oddish but you'd never be able to do that." (She has been bribing herself with Pokemon Go to walk 20 miles a week, and the Oddish is her favorite character.)
My son being the kind of guy he is, filed away that remark and said to himself, "that couldn't be too hard." So he found directions on the internet, bought some yarn and a crochet hook and went to work. As you can see, there were a few glitches in this first segment, including that protuberance on the right-hand end which we think was supposed to be a flat base.
Fortunately he lives only two miles away so he could come over for consultation several times. His purchased crochet hook went MIA and he had to come by for a replacement. We stuffed the segments and figured out how to sew them together. We found the perfect hemispherical red eyes in my button box and embroidered a blue smile.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
I belong to an art book club that hardly ever reads books. We used to, hence the name, but stopped some time ago and now we do "whatever" according to each month's theme or subject. Some people might report on what they or other artists have done on that subject or bring in relevant books, others might put together slide shows or photo suites on the subject, still others might make a piece of original art.
If you choose that last response, of course, it usually turns into a big project -- often a bigger one than you had intended at the start. And that's what happened to me over the last month.
Our theme was "early and late" -- ambiguous, yes, but that sometimes makes for the most interesting discussions. I stewed for a while over what to do, but then came up with the idea to look for the words "early" and "late" in the newspaper, cut them out, and do some kind of compilation. I did that for two weeks or so, and then it was time to start actually compiling.
Last week I claimed the kitchen table for my workplace, and spread out, cutting the words more neatly out of the clippings and sorting them into theme piles, such as minutes (a few minutes later, ten minutes earlier, twenty minutes later...) and centuries (the late 18th century, the early 20th century). That took two days. Then started pasting them into a little accordion book. Fortunately the design of the book was such that it was easy to add four new pages at the end if I decided I wasn't finished yet. This occurred several times.
Now paste it into your little book. Still pretty little, isn't it, and now it's covered with glue! How are you even going to peel it up off the scrap paper? How are you going to position it perfectly in your little book? (Answer: needle-nose tweezers.) Wash your hands frequently, because they're getting all black with ink and sticky with glue. All this is time-consuming.
If you love fiddly little projects like this, as I do, you will find yourself slipping into a zen state, happily cutting and sorting and pasting as the hours and days tick by. I found myself contemplating the subtle differences in meaning between "late in 2014" and "in late 2014," between "fifty years earlier" and "fifty years ago," between "her latest husband" and "her late husband."
Waiting until later
delayed until later
later than usual
A moment later
Seconds later, even hours later,
Minutes later, several hours later,
days later Years later,
Months later, Some years later,
So many years later, Later in life,
at a later date.
All told, it took a week of working time to get the book finished. And then, a couple of hours later, I found a phrase in the newspaper that I just had to cut out and put in the book... and then the next morning, two more....
The whole book has 29 pages. Here's a look at some of them:
It's going to take me a while before I can read a newspaper without those words leaping out at me.
Monday, August 15, 2016
I hung what I'm calling "Quilt National entry #1" on the wall in my front hallway in mid-April and it does make a dramatic statement. Actually two dramatic statements: first, "I'm knocking your socks off!!!!" and second, "I sure don't hang straight."
Ever since, I have been hearing both those statements every time I walk by, and avoiding the issue of the second one. Meanwhile I sewed Quilt National #2 and Quilt National #3. Then to further postpone the inevitable, I sewed some workshop samples, and dove into my back storage room to go through boxes. I found at least a cubic yard of stuff to give away or throw away; I unpacked, sorted, catalogued and repacked a half dozen boxes of stuff; I piled stuff all over my worktable for subsequent sorting, cataloguing and repacking. I watched some Olympics. I mended some pants. I read books.
But yesterday I couldn't avoid it any longer. I scheduled my date with the photographer for next week, took #1 off the wall and tried to figure out how to make it hang straight.
Laying it out flat on my worktable was out of the question; the table isn't really big enough, even if it hadn't by now been piled with stuff two feet thick. Probably not having a big enough work surface was the reason why the quilt went together poorly the first time. My living room floor turned out to be an excellent substitute, since its straight boards make a working grid. (No wonder it didn't hang straight -- notice all those ripples on the left-hand white stripe?)
Aha -- an idea. I decided to take the quilt to the photographer without totally sewing it back together first along the verticals. It will hang straight from its rod for the shoot, and then I will leave it up on his wall while I pin the bejesus out of it and take it home for its final stitches. I'll let you know how it turns out.