Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Down the Drain
Recently, I went to the inland town of Orange to attend the TAFTA Fibre Forum. I took a workshop with Sandy Webster, a mixed media artist from North Carolina. She emphasises content in the book arts and we were instructed to come with a theme to work with. I went to the recycling centre and found three drain tops, all different. Googling the phrase 'down the drain' + visuals, I found lots of stories about things gone or lost down the drain - everything from ducklings, keys, husbands, careers, hopes, the future - so I though there was potential for a book, maybe. I took along a few other related 'ingredients' - some failed rusted dishcloths, threads saved from the washing machine after dyeing fabrics, some papers that resembled tiled surfaces and some plug chains. Creating content in a short time is a hard ask as even a few pages could reasonably take many hours. However, some pieces did evolve over the five days. We also learned a variety of book construction methods and ways of creating secret spaces in books.

Down the Drain 1
Down the Drain 1, detail - open
Note the cockroach that slides in and out of the lower grill
Down the Drain 2
Down the Drain 2 - open
Unfinished - there will be 28 different cut-out drain patterns, each with text written on rice paper inserted behind in such a way as to give an appearance of the moon waxing and waning over a month - suggesting time down the drain, maybe - time is precious

Down the Drain 3Down the Drain 3 - open

We learned to spin thread out of mulberry paper - such thread or the process is called shifu. Apparently, Japanese warriors wrote messages on paper, then shredded and spun it and sent it via a messenger to the receiver who unspun it and laid it back together to read the message. Anyway, writing on the paper before shredding, gives a nice effect to the thread. In this book, you can see the shredded text on the left, becoming thread, escaping through the spine and then whirling down the drain, back over the text. Words/knowledge/thought lost, maybe. On the right, I used some old, bead-style plug chain to 'write' text


Jan said...

Wow! You must be so excited to have had such a wonderfully creative experience. I love them all! But I'm particularly fond of No. 2. (But I'm always a sucker for pattern...) I feel inspired now! thank you!!!

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

What a super experience to have and the teacher certainly got you going. Great ideas flowing. I can also imagine a book for children about going down the plughole but it might cause nightmares.

Wendy said...

Wow you got a lot done. I think my favourite in the one with the 28 pages. Though the cockroad needs a special mention. It's such a lot of work to do artist's books isn't it. I have ssen that wonderful paper string. Somebody gave a class in it at Artisan Books in Melbourne when Rosemarie was there.

Tami said...

How cool is this?!!!! I'm not usually one that's big on this kind of art but I love the theme
and abstract concepts in this. I really like both the one that is going to be the different stages of the moon and the one that conveys words going down the drain.

Penny said...

Only you would think of such an idea!
Wonderful. I am doing Dale's class at Geelong this year. Should be interesting.

littlemithi said...

I love it! Such a wonderful thing to get out of DRAINS ... beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I used to tell my sister she would get sucked down the bathroom drain if she put her hand on it... she still hasn't forgiven me for it, but your drain sketchbook concepts are wonderful.

lyn said...

These are very cool! Thanks for your comment on my "hands"
continued success