One of the books I just finished before the end of August is a book that was sent to the Morgan Conservatory. Each participant was given two sheets of paper made by the Morgan to be used in an art piece of any format. The work is to be auctioned off at their Annual Open House and Silent Auction on October 5th, 2013. Proceeds go to the Morgan and it is a great way to support the education and production of handmade paper!
I was given two lovely sheets of paper: one charcoal grey and the other a bright white. In order to do my part and support this wonderful place, I felt that my entry had to be fun and eye catching so that people with pockets full of money would be excited to compete with one another in order to attain it. I had to think on it.
Whenever I begin a project, I start with asking myself, “What do I find really interesting today?”. Generally, this initiates internal dialogue which usually leads to nice starting points for ideas. For some reason I was drawing a blank. However, I was listening to the radio one weekend and I heard someone make a joke about Pluto being “expelled” from our solar system. This struck me. I remembered what I felt when I heard about this decision and I recalled the reactions of other people, some of which were really heated.
Not only is outer space an interesting setting for a book, but Pluto is a perfect character! As soon as I narrowed my focus on Pluto’s rejection, I sped down the path of a personified Pluto and what he (if the former planet was a human boy) might have felt upon hearing that he was no longer accepted as a planet. In order to overcome the initial hump of writing, I referred to the solutions of one of my favorite writers, John Steinbeck. In his book America and Americans and Selected Nonfiction he mentions having writers block for an article that was due. He remembered, however, how easy it was to write a letter to a friend so that is exactly what he did. He wrote the article in the form of a letter. This is a great solution, especially for this project. The letter format immediately indicates “personal” and allows me, the writer, a free format within which Pluto’s feelings can be expressed.
Below is the result…
I almost always create my artist books from the inside out. The text pages were cut and assembled with decoration already in progress before I chose my cover method and material. Not sure what to use, it was with a shout of “Eureka!” that I remembered the AWESOME paper from Hook Pottery Paper that bought a while back which I knew I would need for something in the future. And the future is here. This Moon paper, which in this context is Pluto paper, and the spine piece are the only materials that were not a part of the two sheets I received from the Morgan.
The pages were “air brushed” with a mouth atomizer, a really sweet and affordable tool. To create the celestial bodies, I made stencils from transparency film and blew the ink on with the atomizer. I used Winsor & Newton drawing inks, and touch ups were done with Prismacolor pencils before the text was written with a dip pen and ink.
“Astronomers had a rough decision to make when Pluto was discovered to be just one of many planet-like celestial bodies in the outer band of our solar system resulting in discourse that continues till this day. Through the eyes of a personified Pluto, this book takes a humorous look at the decisions and emotions involved in the 2006 ruling and touches on the very personal connection people have to that little dwarf planet many of us have grown up loving and the reluctance to let it go.”
The covers are wrapped in such a way that allows the spine piece of the book to be removed. This allows the book to expand, like outer space, and the piece can be viewed as a galactic landscape. Decoration was continued on the back of the piece as well.