Thursday, 19 June 2008

Floating in the void

The Currach Between Light and Dark - Front
I really haven't done much book work since I returned from my two weeks in Pennsylvania: between readjusting from the brain overload of being there, dealing with a part-time job that had grown tedious (and that I've since walked away from), coping with the horror of a fellow alumnus going postal and killing his family, and receiving a visit from my in-laws, there just hasn't been the mental space to focus.

But last week, I finished The Currach Between Light and Dark (pictured above) as my second entry to CyberFyber, Susan Lenz's show at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, 808 Lady Street, Columbia, SC, USA from January 8 through 20, 2009. She's as pleased with the pieces I've produced for the show as I am: they've given me a chance to play around with fibre, try things I'd never done before, and look at what I do as an artist in a different light.

Both pieces I submitted combine knitting -- something I've done for more years than I like to remember -- and felting, which is a relatively new craft I'm starting to mess around with more, and it's been an enjoyable process that I find I'm carrying over into my bigger, and more complex, works.

Working on Currach has also given me the impetus to finish off a project I brought back with me from Pennsylvania: a folding portfolio for one of my case-bound books. I had cut all the bookboard I needed there on Don's board shear, and brought back enough matching bookcloth, but hadn't managed to create enough time in one block to do all the gluing-up.

And there was a certain trepidation as well: I had been using hide glue to attach my bookcloth when I was in class, and really enjoyed using it. To finish the portfolio, I decided I wanted to use the nearest equivalent that I could manage working in a small space here at home, where I try to use only ingredients that are non-toxic (it's a challenge, believe me!).

That meant learning how to make glue from gelatine, a food-safe and refined version of hide, which is how I ended up spending my afternoon yesterday. While a little nerve-wracking and pretty time-consuming, it turned out rather well, I think: of the twelve corners I had to cut and turn-in, only three were not up to my standards, and I repaired them with tiny patches (and a wee bit of PVA) this morning.

Next step: glue in the last two lining paper pieces (the rest of it is lined with bookcloth), using the miraculous cornstarch paste recipe I learned from Don: once they dry, I'll take pictures.

1 comment:

  1. New to your blog; I'm impressed how you have combined your skills!


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