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
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