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Monday, February 25, 2013


My recently-received Blue Chair was an impetus for this mini-book, L by Genara Tilan.  As I said in the prior post, the Blue Chair is much smaller than I expected due to a typo in its description from the Etsy bookseller.  In looking at the chair, I realized that if one was to accommodate its scale, the mini-book that would be "shelved" by sitting on it would have to be about half an inch long and wide.  So I decided to make the book moiself since I didn't know if I could get a mini-book that small (the lovely E-Peeps sending me mini-books seem to tend towards even slightly larger than the targeted 2" x 2" scale).

I also decided to make the mini-book when I stumbled across a strip of paper I had cut out from a paper bag originally containing some luscious Teuscher's champagne truffles, a yummy Holiday stocking-stuffer from the hubby.  This strip had one side of the green paper glued to another thin piece of paper that I thought could be the interior page. From this strip, I cut and shaped literally a thumbnail book at 0.75" x 0.75' mini-book -- yes, do note how I folded the green cover in a way to create a spine:

For its text, I thought to quote from a letter I recently discovered among my mom's belongings.  It's a 1976 letter from my grandmother, Genara Tilan, to Mom.  It is the only written letter I have of my grandmother's, and it was written to Mom six years after our family first left the Philippines to immigrate to the U.S.  Because of the letter's rarity and age, I thought it was appropriate to write (part of) its story on the fragile paper taken from the Teuscher's packaging.

And so here's the front cover of the book:

You open it to see the title page that says, "LONGING":

You unfold the accordion-page to see the text:

What I present in the book is an English translation of an excerpt from my grandmother's letter which was written in my birth language, Ilocano.  Her Ilocano:
Napalalo ti ragragsac mi a naca kita manen cada cayo uray no retrato laeng ... nangpunas iti iliw cadagiti puspusomi... 
My English translation (which is not literal but contextual):
Our joy was outrageous from seeing you all again, even if only through photographs -- such was the depth of missing you all.  This longing in our hearts ...
You would fold back the accordion page, turn it, and see this on the interior back cover:


which, to me, summarizes my family's need to leave the Philippines and the losses that come with the gains of such a move.  While I list the four words above, in the book the four words all share the same "L" as they are inextricably intertwined.  Hence, the title of the book itself to be "L".

And so we "shelve" this book on the Blue Chair.  If you read the prior post, or the link to the Blue Chair, you will see that it was discovered to be broken before the Etsy shopkeeper rescued it and gave it new life (with glue and paint).  Just as the chair was healed into an object of beauty -- something of value -- I thought about excerpting from my grandmother's letter, which described pain and a difficult existence, words that would form a book, something I consider  an inherently valuable or precious object.

Thus, here are two phoenixes rising from their respective ashes:  this green book on a blue chair:

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