Art: a book and a broadside

This time of COVID-19 during our #stayathome orders* has afforded me an enormous amount of solitude, thereby a substantive amount of space for art. All this to note a very circuitous route to re-creating a letterpress broadside printed in 1995. It has taken me months to get to the point where I feel satisfied with this last reincarnation (which is good, as I am running out of prints!) 

Credit is given to staying home, but more importantly to a book published in 2000 that I cataloged this year for a small art library – Picture This: How Pictures Work by Molly Bang. For those of you who recognize the name, yes, she is the children’s book author.

In 1995 I wrote this short poem, made the paper and using a Vandercook proofing press, printed about 50 copies. I was never satisfied with the results.

Original broadside, 9″ x 11″ on handmade paper with flower inclusions

In March of 2020 I pulled out the remaining copies to re-design. Below are some of the additions and attempts; some never panned out:

Chose the words that I felt gave the sense of frustration during the COVID-19 news, White House reports, newspaper articles. Overprinted using fading shades of gray with my HP inkjet printer. Each broadside needed to be printed one at a time.
Graphic attempts to direct the eye from the original phrase in the poem to the “garden” below, expressing hope.
FINAL PIECE: trimmed all edges except the bottom which remains deckle; use larger triangles in a less random manner; added a triangle in gold, symbolizing hope.

The point I hoped to reach is one where I can say to myself, “I can live with this.” It took two months of off and on viewing and re-making. It was Bang’s book that give me direction.

C’est fini.

*Let me say this straight out – I know how fortunate I am during this time of COVID-19. I am currently reading Madeleine Albright’S memoir, Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937–1948. My sets of grandparents both escaped living under fascism in Czechoslovakia and Italy; my parents and in-laws lived and fought in the U.S. during World War II. I get how fortunate I am even during this pandemic during 2020, living where I do; being who I am.

Collage: expressing love from sadness

Sammy, the well-loved dog

This art piece is made from love and to honor his beautiful canine being.

Step 1 Starting

  • Staring with the original photograph, the image was printed out on an old HP colour printer using my handmade-paper of linen & cotton blend. This gave it texture for reworking with other materials.

Step 2 The Assemblage

image of collage with photography, calligraphy and gold work.

Within 2-3/8″ square, the following pieces were designed:

  • Photo resized & reworked with chalk pastel for high/low lights;
  • Glue background piece onto an acid-free, heavy stock
  • Calligraphy, hand-coloured with pencil;
  • Hand-decorated pieces for emphasis with added, and
  • Lastly, shell gold was painted on and buffed to signify lasting love.

Step 3 The Final Gluing

  • Assemble pieces into places for the last view
  • Add or move pieces now
  • Glue smaller pieces together to form larger ones before final gluing to the background piece
  • Place in book press for 30 minutes with wax paper covering image

Step 4 Frame

A memento of someone loved, to someone you love.

About Sammy
Sammy the Dog came into our lives through our son -his very first dog as an adult. This pup was a rescue dog who had suffered much prior to his adoption. He lived a good life : well-loved, well-fed, well-cared for every day.  He took up little space but filled all of my son's with a devotion, pure and simple, as only a dog can do for us.