Bridging Worlds through Creativity

Finding Forests

Well, it sure has been a while since I published a new art post, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been creating over the past two years. In fact, just the opposite. Today, though, I’d like to show my first creative project in the genre of book arts. My interest in book arts began a few years ago after being introduced to them by Andie Thrams during a watercolor workshop.

According to the North Redwoods Book Arts Guild website,

“Book arts includes not only bookbinding, but paper decorating, paper folding, papermaking, calligraphy, paper cutting, marbling, paper engineering, illustration, page design, altering and just about anything else that can be related to the making of a book. … Book artists’ creations often challenge our understanding of what a book even is. Book art can be a blank journal with a unique cover or binding material. It can be an artist’s book with thoughtfully conceived content. It can be an accordion-paged construction with no beginning or end. It can be a book made with materials not normally associated with bookmaking, such as metal, plastic or wood. It is a limitless art form that, at its best, is a multi-dimensional experience.”

My mother really inspired my love of all things related to books as she had several floor-to-ceiling wall-to-wall bookcases just overflowing with sci-fi books. As a kid, I would ride my bike to the library, and pour over Scholastic book lists, and then spend even more hours reading into the wee hours of the night. At one point, I actually thought I might want to be a librarian when I grew up. I loved the sound and smell of books, the card-catalogue drawers, the quiet of libraries, and especially the sound of plastic-covered books opening, the library card slipping out of it’s pocket, and the tiny rubber date-stamp pressing into its perfectly sized rectangle, reminding me when to return the book. My reading genres haven’t changed much from then till now… mostly art books, science fiction and fantasy, self-help, how-to, and adventure stories.

In high school, I studied graphic art and design. I was in the Commerical Art track for four years, and learned all about the processes of print production, design, illustration, watercolor, murals, screen-printing, calligraphy, and many other facets of what was considered commercial art. Interestingly, I decided early on that I wasn’t interested in “commercial” art because it seemed explicitly to be creating for other peoples’ visions/needs/ideas rather than my own. I think either it was never made clear to me that commercial art could be considered a personal expression, or the art itself has progressed over time into a fine art genre that spans almost any medium. Either way, I find now that my background in graphic arts, design, and letterforms, prepared me for an interest books arts precisely because it can integrate all forms of creativity into a project.

I also really like the idea of art as a message, as well as being beautiful. Books arts offer the benefit of being a vehicle to send messages out into the world in a more explicitly implicit way that a two-dimensional painting can’t quite seem to reach.

Forest Finding, June 2022

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