Friday, March 29, 2013

Recursive: Book-in-a-Day Wk13

Title: Recursive
Structure: Flip Pamphlet
Dimensions: 6 1/4 x 5

Another book done and done! It feels great to have the 13th book completed and to have finished before midnight.  I think that is going to be my new goal each week -- complete the book by midnight!! Sounds realistic, but my track record says otherwise :-). 

Recursive was my first (and definitely NOT last) attempt at creating a structure. That part was the most fun. Everything else I did with this book was familiar. I found it quite exhilarating to engineer a structure. Now, of course it's possible that the structure already exists in the world somewhere, but it's not one I've seen anywhere or been taught by anyone so it feels like I'm creating it from scratch. My process for creating the book is documented, but there's more than 2 hours of footage that I didn't include because for most of it, I'm rambling on as I think through the process and structural concerns inherent in this kind of task. 

For the most part, this might be my new love -- creating simple structures and using them to make art journals. Let's see where it takes me next. 

So the poem for this book was something I drafted a few years back. It seemed to be waiting for just this moment. Don't you love when that happens? The poem never had a title, so the calling the book Recursive is really a homage to what I've been telling my students for almost 20 years. Writing is recursive. It's a process that folds in on itself and can start (or restart) at any point in the cycle. I love that about writing. It makes the idea of writer's block such a myth. 

In retrospect, the process for this book was a bit overwhelming. I did a lot of things:
  • created a structure for the book from scratch
  • watercolored the entire book 
  • cut out shaped images from upcycled monoprints I made months ago with my Gelli® Plate

So it took me a lot longer to make this book than I had anticipated. It's a good thing I started earlier in the day than usual. I think I wasn't really considering how long each piece might take me, so in the end, I wasn't very happy with the way the text and the images speak to one another on the page. I could have done a lot more with color composition and positioning if I had more time. This is one of the caveats of making a book in a day -- I want to do more than I can really do in a day once I get started. I mean, my idea starts small, but it morphs and grows as the day goes. {This is where I remind myself that it's a book made in ONE DAY and that I can easily make more of them the way I want after the fact!!}

See you next week!!This month of books should be tons of fun since it's also National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo)!! I'll be writing one poem a day. I'm posting prompts over at my facebook page and teaching an online poetry class at You should join in the fun and write a poem a day with me. 

I'm looking forward to what next week brings. I have a reading on Thursday night and a speaking engagement on Friday, so I'm debating whether or not I should make the book on Wednesday. Stay tuned! If you're watching the videos, I'm honored! If you're making the books, I'm intrigued, so please share here or on the Giving Hands Creative Community site.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Game On: Book-in-a-Day Wk12

Title: Game On
Structure: Accordion with Domino Covers
Dimensions: 1 1516 x 2 1516  Opened: 716 long

Watch the video of me sharing the book.

Here we are at week 12 of Book-in-a-Day (BIAD) 2013 and I'm still enjoying (actually LOVING) this process. I haven't had one regret about challenging myself in this way. In fact, each week I'm reminded of how much I love making books and allowing my creative soul to be expressed in this way. 

This week's book -- Game On -- is right at the top of my list of favorites out of the 12 books I've completed. Urbanite is still in the number one spot, with Game On trailing right behind it in the number two spot. 

It's takes the number two spot because it was ridiculously easy to make and so much fun. I used recycled papers from other projects for the 1 inch sheets that were glued to the card stock (a left over from book 9 - G.R.I.T.S.) and my new favorite mini-book cover -- dominoes. 

I took a class from Terri Heinz at Creative Workshops Online back in December of 2012 (in the video I say a year ago -- but I was wrong, I was thinking of a class I took with Pam Carriker on the same site) and after a conversation with my mother about learning to play dominoes as a kid, I knew I wanted to make an altered domino book this week. 

My favorite part was creating the covers. I really liked playing with the Ranger Alcohol Inks. I wasn't sure the stamping would work, but it did and I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. I did notice after a day of handling the book that some of the ink seemed to be fading or rubbing off, so I sealed it with an acrylic coating. I wasn't very careful with the front of the book and some of the ink started to run (basically, I held the spray can too close). The back cover was fine because I figured out that I needed to pull the can away a bit. 

One of the things that I really love about this book is that there is amazing beauty in the simplicity of the 8 panels while also having so much potential for content. After making this one book, I feel like I could make 14 books (that's one set of dominoes). 

I'm looking forward to what next week brings, I'm thinking I'll get an earlier start this week and make a book that is drastically different from anything we traditionally think of as a book!!! Stay tuned. If you're watching the videos, I'm honored! If you're making the books, I'm intrigued, so please post them to the flickr group or on the Giving Hands Creative Community site.

See you next week!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The ABCs of Creativity: Book-in-a-Day Wk11

Title: The ABCs of Creativity
Structure: Star Book
Dimensions: 2 916 x 2 916

Book 11 is done and done! Again, I started this book late in the day, but I had been thinking and freewriting about the topic all morning. I'm working on a webinar series that I'll be calling, The ABCs of Creativity and so this book was kind of a brainstorming session for the larger idea. 

I went with the star structure because I wanted the themes of creativity (as I see them) to be exposed a few at a time and with a little bit of a surprise element. 

Here's the video of my process: 

The one thing I'm not quite happy about (after the fact) was that I used the origami side of the papers. I should have flipped the pages and used the pochoir sides for the words and the origami for the back. Alas, these are the things that come up after the book is made and you have a chance to look at them.

I did like the weight of the origami papers. They folded nicely and accepted the stamps easily. I'd love to use some of those with my gelli plate just to see how they take the ink/paint. 

For some reason I don't have a lot to say about this book. It's not my favorite and I can't quite figure out why, but I like the topic/content and can't wait to share more with you about the ABCs of Creativity!!

As always, I'm looking forward to what next week brings. If you're watching the videos, I'm honored! If you're making the books, I'm intrigued, so please post them to the flickr group or on the Giving Hands Creative Community site.

Friday, March 8, 2013

20 Ways of Talking to Your Poem: Book-in-A-Day Wk 10

Title: 20 Ways of Talking to Your Poem
Structure: Fan Book
Dimensions: 14 x 1 18  Thickness: 316 

BOOK 10 is done! It feels great to have 10 books completed. I'm enjoying this process and learning so much about myself as an artist and poet. 

This week, I took my inspiration from the workbook I've been compiling since last year. It includes daily writing exercises for poets who want to have a daily/weekly/monthly writing practice. It also includes strategies for revising poems. Originally, I had planned to release the book in February of this year. The cards would be the supplement to the book. They would be something the poet can carry around with them as they think about and ruminate on their poems. 

It was interesting to make these cards and see them come to life. The most revealing part of the process was when I condensed the information to make it fit the cards. I realized that the workbook is really close to being done and that I'm just procrastinating with moving it forward. Oh!! Procrastination!

Ten is a milestone worth celebrating and this was just the book to do it. It will be the prototype for the actual card deck that I hope to have ready before summer. 

The book (cards) act as a tool for revision. Each strategy is in a set of three (name of the strategy, quick reference for the strategy, and a revision refresher -- a detailed description of the strategy). There are 20 of them (as the title suggests). It's geared towards poets, but could easily be used by prose writers, too. 

I'm proud of this week's book because, not only is it the 10th book in the series, it's the tangible manifestation of an idea I've been carrying around for a while. And, YES, I will be making an edition of this. I'll also likely give some to folks who take my first online poetry course -- Conquering the Blank Page Using Poetry, which starts April 1st

This was a fairly simply book to make. I upcyled the backs from scraps of old projects so that I could create visual prompts for writing. That way, the book becomes both a tool for revision and a way to generate ideas. 

I mention this on the video, but it's worth saying again -- the screw post is much bigger than it needs to be. Either I'm being led to make it more than 20 (which I could totally do), or I just need a smaller screw post :-). Either way, it's the one thing I would change about the book

Finally, I wasn't up until 2 or 3 in the morning making this book. I finished before 11PM and that felt great. Maybe I'm getting it down to a science???

To see a list of materials and more photos, visit

I'm looking forward to what next week brings. If you're watching the videos, I'm honored! If you're making the books, I'm intrigued, so please post them to the Giving Hands Creative Community site.

See you next week for book 11!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Girls Raised in the South: Book-In-A-Day Wk 9

Girls Raised in the South
Title: Girls Raised in the South (G.R.I.T.S.)
Structure: Whirlwind
Dimensions: 7 12 x 6 14 closed
Video of my process. 


I'm so excited to bring you this ninth book-in-a-day because I've been searching for a way to pay homage to the women in my family. And while one book will never be enough, this feels like a great start. 

The book is really about the sayings that I grew up hearing in my house and in the houses of other southern women raised in places like my hometown. These sayings, at the time, held the only truth I knew and I couldn't wait to repeat them when I was little. Of course, like many things, I outgrew that desire, but I sometimes find myself spewing all sorts of southern phrases that many of my west coast friends find baffling. 

When I sat out to make this ninth book in the series, I knew that it would be difficult for me to pick just a few phrases, but I was determined to pick the ones that were around when I was little. There are a lot of newer sayings, but I was looking for the tried and true. The ones that seem to have staying power. So of course I consulted the best source I have access to; my mother. 

Just sitting and talking was powerful. Because I come from an oral tradition where stories are typically passed down through the women in my family, I was able to learn a great deal, not just about the phrases and the sayings, but about my great-great grandmother: Mabel King. As I listened, I felt more and more proud to come from such a strong and determined woman. Thus, the book was born and dedicated to her. 

ABOUT THE STRUCTURE & CONTENT: I think I woke up with that structure in mind, so I tailored my content, in a way, to fit the way the structure works. I didn't want to write poems this week, and after listening to my mom, I felt like I needed to tell a story. That story turned into a manifesto of sorts, or maybe an instruction manual. The phrases show up in italics. 

I wanted the pages to be lightly colored with pink, so I used a homemade ink spray with watered down metallic pink acrylic ink and a homemade purple alcohol ink spray to add a bit of contrast to the dark pink text, which I simply printed on my color ink jet printer. (For a list of materials, visit the ning site).

The other element I was determined to use were the silhouettes. For some reason, I had that on my mind for several days and was determined to get them in there. I'll likely use silhouettes again because I actually found them to be really powerful images. The stark black color on the light pink was exactly what I was hoping for. I did, however, make a few mistakes with the silhouettes. 

Mistake 1: I made the silhouettes before I did anything else, so I already had them glued to a heavy card stock, which turned out to be heavier than I wanted in the book, but I kept it. 

Mistake 2: Some of the silhouettes buckled when I added the glue. I think it was mostly the ones that had come from magazine images originally. I could have remedied this by copying them onto regular printer paper before painting and gluing them. 

Mistake 3: One of the ones I really wanted to use was much too big. It will likely appear in an art journal page later along with the others that didn't make it in the book. 

All in all, this was a great book making experience. Each week I'm finding so many things that inspire me that it's difficult to pick the one that will get my attention. But no worries, I'm keeping a list for the days when the ideas are not as abundant. 

EDITIONING: It's likely that this book will become an open edition. Now that I've made the prototype, I can see exactly what I'd need to do to edition it. Plus, I'd really like to give my mom (and her sisters) a copy. 

I'm looking forward to what next week brings, I'm thinking about something a little different than the first 9 -- stay tuned. If you're watching the videos, I'm honored! If you're making the books, I'm intrigued, so please post them to the flickr group or on the Giving Hands Creative Community site.
See you next week!!