Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Auction Results

The books earned $361 for our library at silent auction.

Thank you, artists Madlen Piccioni, Helen Mills, Cherie Roberts, Jodi Tropp, Emma Lou Howe, Jodi Patterson, Kathy Connelly, Sharon Readinger, Jean Kronk and Cathy Shiner.

Photos are on the way.

Friday, April 13, 2007

See you at the Library!

Dear Readers and Visitors:

Join us Saturday, April 14th at 1 p.m. in the Pottsville Free Public Library to launch a silent auction on the altered books made during "Outside the Margins." The artists involved in the project will be on hand to answer any questions you have.

We'll see you there!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Silent Auction plans announced

On Saturday, April 14th, 2007, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Pottsville Free Public Library, the public is invited to attend an Artists’ Reception and the launching of a Silent Auction for “Outside the Margins,” the altered book art project sponsored by the Library, its Friends group and Allied Artists of Schuylkill County.

Visitors will meet the artists involved in transforming discarded books into works of art and will be able to offer silent bids to purchase an altered book or books.

The artists involved have agreed to donate all proceeds from the sales of these books to the library. This altered art project is featured in the current issue of Pennsylvania Magazine.

The reception/auction is part of an arts weekend in downtown Pottsville.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Bible Study Deconstruction/Reconstruction

When "L"ife walked me into Grace Episcopal Church in New York City in 1994 I was inspired by its beautiful architecture and stain glass windows. After my first visit I returned regularly in the afternoons to sit quietly, to meditate in the church. It had been several years since I had spent any time in a Christian church but because my spirit was undeniably moved in its sanctuary, I decided to become a member of the church and to dedicate myself to the stewardship of its urban sanctuary. Eventually I became the director of the flower guild and arranged the flowers with the hope that their beauty would touch the hearts of those seeking sanctuary (as I had done) in their busy and sometimes troubled lives.

The day I decided to become a member of Grace Church, I opened a Bible in the pew and read the reading for the day. Years before, I had shut the Bible in anger and sold it in a yard sale. The reading for the day was exactly the chapter I had been reading when I had slammed the Bible shut and thrown it on the floor! I guess I needed to take a second look.

Since that time I have regularly studied the Bible. For this show I have chosen to "alter" my first "study Bible" that I purchased in New York City, March 7, 1995. It is the College Edition, New Revised Standard Version, THE NEW OXFORD ANNOTATED BIBLE With The Apocrypha, An Ecumenical Study Bible, Completely Revised and Enlarged. I have torn it's over 2,000 pages one at a time from its binding and shuffled the pages so that the Bible is completely deconstructed. I have taken some of the torn pages and further fragmented them into smaller torn pieces to make a papier-mâché mask for the cover. The mask is a mold of my face, it is a self-portrait of a woman, like it or not, whose life has been consciously and unconsciously influenced by the Bible.

I did not like the mask I made from the fragments of my first study Bible and made a second mask from torn fragments from an older Revised Standard Version that I bought at a used book sale at Goddard College during my first MFA-IA residency. I guess the college was throwing out this old Bible that someone had marked in as they had studied it.

After 12 years of study I still am intrigued by this ancient book and all its inspiration and controversy. As a kid I memorized the 23rd Psalm and the Lord's Prayer and up until I threw down the Bible in my adult life, the stories of the Bible inspired me. In spite of my resistance and all the criticism I have levied at organized religion and its historicizing of the "One True God", the stories and theology of the Bible still inspire and guide me. I live in an age when it would be easy for me to let it go. Truthfully, there is a resistant part of me that hopes that through the study of the Bible I will find a reason to let go of it, but so far that has not happened.

So why, if I think so much of it, have I torn the Bible apart? Well...I want others to read it and make notes or draw on it in it's presently Postmodern deconstructed, fragmented state so that one day I can reconstruct it into its original canonical form that is "illuminated" by the study, comments and drawings of others. Also, by shuffling the pages so that there are no favorite and familiar "books" to turn to out of safe habitual thinking, I hope I have provided a way to approach the Bible with fresh, brave eyes, and an open, and creative mind.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Round Robin book

Maddlen, Kathy, Helen, Jodi Webb and now me ... then comes ... well, we shall have to see. At this time, what we can tell you is that the artists who are participating in the round robin (and if you're not signed up and want to do a page or a spread, let me know ASAP) are doing interesting things and having a good time with their alloted space.

The Round Robin book will be a gift to the Pottsville Free Public Library, our partner in this project and many other community endeavors. Of the many things we have learned while there is that the library is so much more than a place to borrow books or check email.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Democratic Art

Altered art is a democratic art. Anyone can make it. There is no special training required and one does not have to invest a lot of money in its making. In fact, you really don't have to spend a penny. Many of us in this project barter materials. Ah, but that's another story...

Thinking about democracy and commercialism led me to design the suffrage book, which is nearing completion. (Thank God for snow days!)

Initially, I was going to make a spoof palimpsest on the discarded book, which was published in the 1950s and written by a male doctor who purported to know what was wrong with women (why women were so unhappy). I reveled in ripping out many of its pages, let me tell you.

So, thinking about the good doctor's advice, my loathing of the rampant commercialistic promotion of women as objects (a theory many women buy into, which is scary), and recent dispatches on women politicoes and trends in voting led me to re-design my book into a report and helpful resource on suffrage, women in politics and current voting practices, or lack thereof. With a female Speaker of the House (United States Congress) and a female presidential candidate, perhaps things will change on the lack thereof side of the ledger. One can -- and should -- hope. One can and MUST do her part to help other women vote.

This morning, while unsticking my fingers from a runaway page, I came up with a tentative title:

The State of Being unEqual
A Report on the Politics of Being Women
(2007 - Believe it or Not!)

Now before someone accuses me of being sexist and playing the victim card, let me inform you that, in addition to discussing inequality, the book takes women to task for their lack of interest in issues that affect so many vital conditions - from what we earn to what we do with our bodies. It seeks to remind women of the work our predecessors undertook to secure our right to vote, a right, I will add, which too few of today's women use or use wisely.

As I noted previously, this book differs significantly from "April Through August," which is now on display at the Pottsville Free Public Library, which graciously allowed us to take over an entire room to work on our books. "April Through August" is about color, texture and embellishment and it has few words. "The State of Being unEqual" employs color and ephemera, yes, but it is also filled with information and editorializations, including newspaper and magazine articles (wherein I leave the biolines intact in respect for copyright and in hope that readers will pursue additional related materials).

If it sounds like I am having a good time with this, you are right. I am. I also feel like I am doing a little bit toward my part of remembering that not so very long ago, women did not have the rights we have today. Predecessors earned it for us. We need to work to keep it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007