Book Drilling

The day began bright; now thick cloud has rolled in, promising rain.

One of the odd aspects of spring is the rather stunning fatigue that descends on me. I imagine this profound tiredness is the accumulation of exposure to winter cold. Cold intolerance is a very common symptom of Post Polio. (I also experience the less common symptom of heat intolerance.) At any rate, I find I just want to nap.

The garden lies quite barren. I wonder whether the ground feeding birds have unearthed and devoured all the seed. We shall see.

Jennie has been invited to show in a new gallery, and as often happens when one of us has a project, artwork has filled the living room where it waits to be sorted and labeled. One makes one’s way through newly constructed aisles, around piles of prints and paintings, and past boxes of cards. It is exciting to see her preparing, and rather than minding the seeming chaos, I find it makes me quite happy.

I’ve been reading a collection of essays by visual and performance artists in which each artist describes her or his work, and maps the course of their personal artistic career. A few things stood out as I read through the essays by artists from diverse countries: networking is crucial, as are friends and colleagues who offer engagement and support; finding ways to display one’s friends’ work is a powerful way to influence community art scenes; making art, raising a family, earning a living, and teaching are crucial tasks seeming all the artists have to juggle; and perseverance eventually furthers.

A couple of other observations can be drawn from the collection of some forty essays: apparently artists who identify as disabled do not make careers in art, and there is seemingly only one Indigenous voice worth sharing. While the collection is actually quite hopeful, the omissions are not.

Speaking of art making, Jennie offered an altered book workshop last night. She called me at home earlier in the day and asked me to bring in the electric drill for use on books. I found myself wondering what the participants might discover as they drilled deep into their book of choice.

I take great solace in books in general, and art books in particular.  Visiting art books is a habit that began in earnest in art school when one of my favorite teachers would, seemingly daily, send me to the school’s library to look up some artist who was tackling problems similar to those I was working on. The down side to those frequent trips to the library was the books were inevitably filled with photographs of the artists’ mature work, and I would feel both elated at the process of discovery, and wholly inadequate as an artist. Only later did I discover books that showed the arc of the artist’s development, the good as well as the abysmal; I also was able to travel and see much work in person. This transformed the artists I most admire from icons into people.

I still love to find new books, especially those that stimulate my imagination and creativity. Have you drilled into any engaging books lately?


11 thoughts on “Book Drilling

  1. When I was studying therapeutic technique I had a similar experience. I would see videos of (or read transcripts of) that key moment when these expert therapists would ask the perfect question and the individual or family would gain insight and be healed. It gave me courage when I finally read the small print that this was the 122nd interview. We are not born accomplished, it is an evolution of hard work, practice, and inspiration from those who have evolved beyond where we currently are. I have been really enjoying books on photography that address the artistic aspects (as well as the technical to help me solve some stuckness or other).

    1. Pat, I have come to dread those expert videos. I much prefer seeing work with clear context. It is fine with me that they are in the hundredth session.

      I love photography books but struggle with the tech parts. Same with art books. Even with my art school training, the tech discussions still challenge me.

      1. I’ve never spent time in the Clearwater area so can’t help you. You will need to protect yourself from the sun, heat and humidity. The only places we have spent much time exploring are around Ocala and SW Florida. I hope you have a great time and let me know if there is anything worth seeing.

  2. Perusing the 25,000 books in our home store, I picked up Bill Brandt Photographs 1928-1983 the other day. Black & White always seems to invite a deeper look, another interpretation.

    1. Priscilla, I agree! Still, my favorite photo books. Have come to be color, with some very notable exceptions. I guess that makes sense as I have always been foremost a colorist

  3. I can understand, that you enjoy, when Jennie are going through and preparing. I do also feel joy, when I see work like that, Michael 🙂
    I have mostly art books with handwork, my Granny was an splendid artist in many ways, even if she didn’t sell much of her creations. She taught me much, as I still think about. I was given her books and many other artistic articles, so I could try her art too. I haven’t been through all, and now it is 11 years ago, she left this world.
    I’m not good for keeping my concentration, if the book is not one of them to catch me fast. Otherwise I can sit and read until the end, if I don’t have other plans.
    Wish you and Jennie a beautiful day.

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