Book Ideation Cards - Julie Chen and Barbara Tetenbaum - our recipe .....
high tech, assymetrical, multiple openings, multiple colours, no text, abstract, muted, photographic, miniature, personal, issue based and simple.
Choosing our cards from each category was fun though I don't think Fiona and I realised at the time just how constraining, or in reality how expanding, this project would be. It was immediately apparent that for Fiona the challenge would be 'no text' and for me, I think the 'issue based' book was the initial stumbling block. I think at the end of the day I have to be honest and say that I chose to work with trees before deciding on the 'issue' of trees. We live on ten gorgeous acres with views up and down the coast but one of the things we have been doing to open up the views, is cut down trees. It is always with great sadness that this happens and of course we still have many many more on this bush block. Another thing that was a sadness was that one of our huge white gums came down in the cyclone at the beginning of last year. This will supply us with huge sections of timber for seating around the fire pit but never-the-less, one never wants to see such a gracious tree come down.
I decided that I would like to record these trees in some manner, remembering them before they were reduced from proud beings to mere stumps and so this book has come about as something personal but also issue based in the act of remembering trees, respecting them, recording them in some manner. I have also played with the idea that seeds from trees spread and grow into young saplings which will in turn grow into more proud beings.
Those of you who follow my blog will know I have been exploring new techniques of printmaking in the last couple of months and by employing these new techniques, I think I covered the 'high tech' ingredient from the recipe. A stumbling block for me was the multiple openings and once I discovered that I could tear open seed like shapes through the fine tengujo paper, revealing the layer beneath, this problem was solved. The result of many days of pondering is often so simple but it just doesn't appear as quickly as one would hope .... I think it is because as artists we have minds that are open to a myriad of possibilities of direction in which a work could proceed and in order to move forward, we have to decide on just one. My pencil drawings ended up being very simple marks or lines .... but there again, as I prowled around my book when it was half way through, thinking about all the things I could do, I just had to settle on the one idea and work with that. I am satisfied that I managed to work to the recipe though I am mindful that with those same ingredients, a number of different books could have been made.
And so, I have named my book Epitaph - I hope my tombstones also look a little like tree stumps. I do love the fact that by using the marks or relief prints from trees which have lived here on this land, there is a record of their existence. The book is not easy to photograph but I have shown each page and then some of the details. I have used a number of different weights of Japanese tissue papers for the prints and the book pages are made from Fabriano Tiepolo which is a favourite of mine.
epitaph |ˈɛpɪtɑːf, -taf|nouna phrase or form of words written in memory of a person who has died, especially as an inscription on a tombstone. figurative : a poignant epitaph to hiscreative career.• something by which a person, time, or event will be remembered: the storymakes a sorry epitaph to a great career.ORIGIN late Middle English: from Old French epitaphe, via Latin fromGreek epitaphion ‘funeral oration’, neuter of ephitaphios ‘over or at a tomb’, from epi ‘upon’ + taphos ‘tomb’.
|I have left 'peep holes' in the perspex cover through which you catch glimpses of page one.|