Friday, December 13, 2013

SKY book

Everything in the world exists so it can end up as a book.

Stéphane Malarmé

The potential for reproducing an image accurately has become impressive.  Recently I have gotten digital prints of my drawings that are so close to the original it is a bit frightening.
Whereas I don't intend to go in league with those who sell their digital work in the same arena as original prints such as etchings and woodcuts, I am thrilled to be able to use the process to print posters and illustrate my books.

I used the digital images of the drawing mounted on the SKY cabinet, inside and out, for my most recent artist's book. Each element is paired with a poem or work of prose written specifically for the book. I am grateful to the writers for their generosity in working with me on this project.

The writers involved in order of appearance in the book:  Arnold Klein / Night Sky,  Bill Harris / Mars,  Arno Klein / Hugo Bristol,  Sarah Hart / Moon,  Henrietta Slote / Herakles,  Barrett Klein / Scorpio Rising,  Christopher Leland / Sol Invictus - Father's Regret,   Korinthia Klein / Saturn,  Alison Rogers Napoleon / Conversations with Uranus.

Sol Invictus may have been the final poem by Christopher Leland at the end of his life. He was a fine writer and an inspiring instructor who is deeply missed.

The cover of the book is a combination of paper with white wax dots, rhinestones and beads sewn on,  buttons, press on sparkles and touches of glitter glue.  The title page paper is metallic marble.
The digital images are printed in acid free inks on acid free paper by Eric Law of Color Ink Studio.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


"If it takes the entire army and navy to deliver a postal card in Chicago, that card will be delivered.” 

There are so many fascinating people who have contributed to the study of our world who are no longer remembered on a grand scale.  That said, when I "discover" someone it often turns out they appear in almost every book in my library - I have just been skimming over them, going on to something that seemed more interesting or currently vital.  They lurk, preparing to amaze me.

I found Gilbert White in John K. King's used and rare book store in downtown Detroit.  The Natural History of Selborne - never heard of it - but it looked interesting and it was in my price range.  It is a charming, quiet, book of observations of nature written by a clergy man who spent his entire life in the countryside he loved.  The book was published by his brother in 1789 and has never been out if print since.  If you do a search you will find an incredible number of editions.  There are enough to make it perhaps the 4th largest number of books in English.

White, an autodidact, is often compared with Jean-Henri Fabre, the great entomologist born in 19th century France.  Fabre came from great poverty, rising above all obstacles to write books on insects which are still read today for the quality of their information and their poetic style.  He too devoted his entire life to the study of his native territory.

I have begun a mail art project which I hope will arouse interest in some of the people I have been learning about.

The first mailing was posted to unsuspecting recipients and honored the birthday of Gilbert White on July 18, 1720.  There is no death date listed - for me he is still alive.  I used a bird to represent him as he is known by many for his work with ornithology.

The second mailing is in small book form which includes a short biography and quotes about insects by Fabre.  Many of the people who will receive this book are accustomed to finding a "solstice present" in their mail box.  It will be the 16th in a series of 6" square books published annually.

My plan is to do mailings during the next couple of years, honoring the birthdays of naturalists whose work I find compelling or eccentric.  Some of my favorites will be missing such as Luca Ghini who is stated as having been born in 1490 but the month and day are unknown.

The actual Mail Art is, of course, limited but can be viewed here in virtual form, now and in the future.