Contact me through

Sunday, March 3, 2013


One of the side-benefits of Moi Fondness for this "Books on Chairs" project is how it allows me to pretend I'm also a visual artist.  This is no small thing.  The problem with being a poet is that your raw material, visually and physically, is boring.  It's words.  It's the invisible stuff within your mind (and soul, if you wanna go there).  But if you did a movie on a poet's life, you'd see that poet mostly writing on a desk or laptop, gazing into space, or doing research in books, or more common nowadays, just widening said poet's ass by spending hours in front of a computer screen.  Boring.  Sure, the stuff of life which can be exciting -- your judo practice, your nature hikes, your marches to and occupation of Washington, etc. -- are also part of the raw material of poetry.  But you still can't get away from how a poet's life includes much writing on a desk or laptop, gazing into let me not continue: I'm boring moiself.  See?

But, as a sudden mini-book artist(!), I can have an artist's studio!  See, this is why I envy visual artists.  They could be doing nothing but gazing into the innards of their mind -- and thus look like they're just gazing into space -- but if they're in their studio, their lives still look exciting!  Because look around their studio!  They're surrounded by art-works, finished and/or in-progress.  They're surrounded by paint- (or plaster- or whatever-)splattered floors and walls. The only thing that gets splattered on my poet's desk is the oatmeal heaved up at some horrid poetic line. (Well, not really, but you get my drift.)  Even a visual artist's failure looks more exciting than a poet's failure -- that scrunched up or torn up piece of paper is a snooze compared to, say, a broken canvas flung at the walls by a frustrated artist (though the artist I have in mind but whose name I can't recall later would take a second look at her broken canvases, like what she sees, and then actually get an exhibit of her ... broken canvases suddenly become art). 

The detritus from a visual artist's process?  Way more exciting than a poet's.  I recall another artist whose name I can't remember (crap: moi mind is going ...) who kept tossing in a studio corner the masses of used up blue tapings that he used to help grid out straight lines on his canvases.  He then had the (successful) idea of also exhibiting what had become a large, blue ball of tape in the center of a gallery, surrounded by his paintings on the walls.  What a hoot.  What would a poet use with printed drafts of a poem (if they're even printed anymore and what evaporates obviously is even more boring visually than a crumpled up piece of paper)?  Well, perhaps 1% or .0000001% of poets can archive those drafts in some university library collection.  More often than not, they're recycled. 

Anyway, all this is why I digress from our usual programming to show you my artist's studio!  I ask my visual artist friends not to laugh or snort at Moi.  And of course it's a mini-studio because the subject at hand here is the mini-book!  So, first, this was my "studio" when I first began tinkering with mini-books:

If the above looks like a dining table to you, yes, it is my dining table.  It's cleaned up (haha) at the moment with just a smallish pile at foreground of image (ignore the geometry books on the background; they're my son's).  Before I got my studio, the whole table was taken over with various materials from my attempts to make my mini-books, which inconvenienced the rest of the family and especially Artemis the cat who likes to sun herself on the blue tablecloth.  Fortunately, I got an inheritance from Mom ... which became my artist's studio -- ta-dah:

Shall we take a tour?  Of course we must!  The first drawer below, then, shows finished mini-books I've made or received from e-readers (thank you and pls keep sending them!).  These are mini-books about which I've yet to write a blog post and, thus, are waiting to be shelved on mini-chairs:

The next drawer shows material more readied to be of use, like potential mini-book covers:

The next drawer contains mostly stuff from moi daily life -- and mostly snailmail -- that can be recycled into mini-book materials such as covers and illustrations. These include this past Holiday's greeting cards.  But as you can see, it's almost impossible now for me to throw away an art exhibition announcement as the illustrated art and card stock are so perfect for mini-book covers:

The next drawer is for miscellaneous stuff that are or may be useful:

And the last drawer contains fabric scraps I discovered while cleaning Mom's room.  I suspect they will be of use sooner or later.  I've already made a chaise lounge pad from the black fabric imprinted with roses.  I've also used a scrap from the same fabric for another mini book I edited for Susan Yount, MESSAGE MASSAGE, which will be the subject of a future post.

For now, these stacked drawers will do. But I suspect I might have to expand my studio -- one of the interesting results of looking at the world as a visual artist using found material for her mini-books is that, suddenly, you don't leap to trash or recyle many things.  You are always looking at stuff wondering if you can use them, somehow, for a future mini-book.  I like that effect, to wit, if image is of profound interest, suddenly so many things that I might have deemed before as mere trash become a source of possibility.  I believe that goes along with refusing to look at the world on only a utilitarian basis.  That's a perspective, of course, that is like Poetry: it can apply to ... everything.

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of my mini-mind, um, mini-studio.

No comments:

Post a Comment