It's only.... Tuesday? (I was going to say Monday) and I'm exhausted. Hmm. I need to work on pacing myself a bit. We finished most of our set-up in the Bubbler last week Friday, only to meet with Trent the Librarian and have him tell us how many more options were in front of us. I can only laugh at myself because I have spent most of Anthology's life wishing that we had just a wee bit more space.... and now I get my wish granted - in spades.... not a "wee bit" more, but, oh, just the whole downtown public library for a canvas. Reminds me of Brian Andreas:
"Wish for your deepest desires, she said & when I asked if they'd come true, she said they always do, so you might as well get them out in the open while you're still young enough to correct any serious mistakes."
We were feeling quite overwhelmed by all the space and the need to fill it in. I will focus this week on the glass by the door that people apparently sometimes run into and make a garland for those. But I really want to make some things with batiked map paper which means I first have to batik the paper.
It feels kind of shocking to go from the very full space of the last artist to our space which is just starting out, but I did have one library staff member stop in on her break and reassure me that everyone started out the same way. In all, I have to say that the library staff have been so helpful and encouraging - many stopped in to say that they were looking forward to seeing what we do... no pressure or anything!
Because of our ordinary shopgirl weekend lives, I did not return to the Bubbler until Sunday. So, Sunday evening I was tired after the 6 day work week, just stopping in briefly to drop some things off and then planning to get Ian's mac n' cheese pizza for my niece and meet everyone at the nursing home to eat dinner with Dad while he's there recuperating from hip surgery. Oh, and on Sundays I eat lunch at 11 before opening the store so by 4 pm I am in a slightly crabby/hungry mood. Perhaps not the best time or frame of mind to walk into a space that has been open to the public and filled with scissors, heaps of books and scraps of paper. I cannot say that I was surprised... but, sheesh! it was rather a mess. I don't know what it is exactly - this happens at our craft table as well even with me standing right there and periodically straightening (I have this theory that mess begets mess and that if people come to a straightened table, they are more likely to leave it that way... but that theory has yet to be borne out by reality. And I'm not saying that people should be neat freaks, but, really...). And I'm not saying that I don't make a mess when I create, and, of course, part of my job has always been to corral the mess, and if there was no mess, I would then be obsessing that no one worked on the projects or liked what we had to offer. Well, people definitely worked in the space. I really don't mind that the papers are spread all over the place and that there are little scraps dropped on the floor or pieces that should have been put into the recycle bin are left on the table or that someone used glue instead of double-sided tape on the photo snippets. Here's my main pet peeve (at the shop as well): why can't you put the cap back on the glue stick? (or on the ink pad or on the gesso)? Things like that dry out if you don't put the cap on them! Don't you put the cap on your own glue sticks at home? why don't you do that in someone else's studio? I was seriously close on Sunday evening to typing up instructions on how to use glue sticks. You can't just ask someone to put the cap back on the glue stick because then someone will put the cap on without twisting the glue stick back down - trust me, I've had to use the pliers on many sticks that were glued shut because of such actions. So, we had about 8 glue sticks on four different tables and only one of them had the cap on. I couldn't even find the caps initially. One glue stick was pretty well used up, one was near its end but had dried up and the rest.... 2 caps on the floor and the rest hidden under scraps of paper. I managed to cap the glue sticks but that was about all that I had time or patience for, and I walked away feeling a little guilty for doing so. To compensate, I'm going out to buy more glue sticks (though I sometimes feel that it is better to have supplies slightly rationed - that people are more conservative in their use when they think there is less to use. So perhaps I won't add to the number of caps I have to look for next weekend).
And while I should have spent some time straightening on Monday, instead I used my day off to play in the Bubbler. Mom came down for a few hours in the morning and a friend came for a few hours in the afternoon. Except for grabbing a quick lunch, I was in the space from 9 am to 4 pm. I'm still tired! It would have helped if I had sat down more but I was on my feet for most of the time. I probably had about a dozen people stop in and I have to say, this is a challenge! I'm so used to working on my projects in the quiet of my own space. Obviously, I work on things for the shop in public, but those are things that have reached a more mechanical phase of production. I'm still in that phase of trying to figure out exactly where I'm going with this project - and just like at the shop, it is a challenge to be in that phase and have to pause to explain what you are thinking about. I'm working on batik paper and enjoying the process though. I have decided to create another journal like my France/Italy travel journal - perhaps kind of like my painted pages book, but to contain all those little scraps of magazine images and photographs that I like.... I call these my happy books, and I used to just paste things into spiral bound books, but I'm thinking this will be a good component of these sewn and painted pages. ANYWAY, I'm going to use some batik pages for the books so I needed to create pages with some white space. I'm quite happy with how they are going and I can see the promise fulfilled, but I'm not sure anyone else can. I guess I should just relax and enjoy the process but it's really hard not to start every conversation with: "it's not done yet!" These pages are going to be folded in half and then bound into a book.
Vaguely heading towards this:
I was also initially thinking about another piano hinge book with batik map paper but since we have the big space of the library to fill, I'm starting to think about some sort of wall piece. Either sewn or melted wax collage on the wood panels that we have access to. For that I will need a lot more batiked map paper so I can just focus on making the paper right now and worry about the rest of it later.
We have finalized our schedule for the Bubbler and that should be appearing on their online calendar, but here it is:
Meet Your Maker, 2 – 4 pm, Saturdays.
March 22: batik paper with Laura. Learn the process of using melted wax as a resist on paper, then dyeing and ironing for unique pages.
March 29: Gocco printer with Sachi: Demonstration of printing with a Gocco printer. See how Anthology has been turning some of Sachi's original designs into notecards.
April 12: travel journals with Laura: Explore a variety of ways to record your journeys, using pockets, punches & stamps on paper. Bring a notebook/journal and your own travel ephemera to work on.
April 26th: altered books with Laura. Use existing books but alter them for your own journaling/artwork.
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April 5th: 3 - 5 pm. Conversation and project with Library as Incubator Project & Jessica Pigza (and her new book called BiblioCraft, which is all about using libraries as a source of research and inspiration for craft projects).
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Self-Serve/Drop-in Projects in March
1. make a bookmark
2. paper chains, garlands
3. photo snippets
4. found poetry
5. 60 books project journal entries
Artist at Work
Sachi in the studio: Tuesdays 1-4pm
Laura in the studio: Thursdays 1-4 pm
….some Wednesdays, and other times by chance
And I will leave you with this piece that I found from the weekend's making: a little snippeting/collage with found text. I quite like this piece and look forward to more such things appearing!