I’m working on a commission, a beautiful memorial tribute book comprised of these seemingly disparate elements. And today is my favorite part: it’s math day.
I will spend my day calculating precise page measurements, photo sizes, which side of which page they go on, margin edges, lengths of copper pieces for binding, diamond drill bit size, minutes needed to rust copper pieces, on and on.
Only when I started making books did I realize how much I love math. I love the precision of the physical book pages and materials combined with the art of photographs. I can’t wait to see this book as it becomes a real, living thing.
Sure, glass and copper sometimes make a clanging sound when they get frisky with numbers, but I sure do love it. I guess that’s just how I roll.
My mother is a fiend for naughty, sugary cereals. Truth be told, Cap’n Crunch is my own vice. Maaaaybe once a year I can have some. But as my mother is also a very silly, goofy person, I decided to combine cereal + book to make the Oops! Cereal Box Book, made from an actual box of Oops! cereal – as in, oops, it’s all berries. Yum! My favorite part of this book is the binding. Oh, and eating the Oops.
This book is available for commission – each one completely unique. I can make these from cake or cookie or muffin or cereal boxes or any other sort of box! If you’ve got somebody with a thing for something in a box, give me a holler! It’s a fun gift.
This book, 579 – The House Thief – is a tribute to my mother, and to all of us as we age. To the things we lose and the things we can lose if someone isn’t helping along the way. It is a one of a kind, original work.
For my mother, last year she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, placed in a facility, then later removed when family members tried to rob her blind, then cancer, then – believe it or not – UNdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We learned her former home had been full of black mold, which contributed mightily to her symptoms of memory loss and terrible asthma and eventually caused her to lose that home entirely. Mold stole her home, and it almost cost her her life.
But last year in the midst of all this, in a terrible depression, she said to me, “I am 84 and I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life.” This inspired this book, which had direct quotes from her on each page. Pages are wooden and handpainted with milk paint, then bound in a Secret Belgian Binding with black wool.
The book cover is adorned with a miniature glass doorknob, and the entire book lives inside the house. The roof of the house comes completely off. The house is also painted with milk paint and ink and the interior of the house is black, to signify the mold that took away her life.
My favorite part of this book are the quotes, which provide an interesting view of life at 84, and the clacking sound the pages of the book make when the book is open or pages turned. 579 was her street address.
Feathers and Ryhmes in the Desert: The 7 Day Collection
Last week I spent 7 days shooting in the Arizona and Utah deserts with 16 other professional photographers. Each day I assembled one thing from the shoot that will go in a book along with my photographs from the trip.
Here’s what I found and assembled, including a book of charming rhymes from my Aunt Carmen’s high school days, written over 85 years ago, as this trip also included a trip to visit my mother in Phoenix. The C41 film and the Polaroid backs were given to me by other photographers on the trip. Thanks, Don and Bryan!
3 pheasant feathers; 1 creaky wooden plank; 8 shiny black feathers; 2 discarded Polaroid backs; 1 zillion creosote seeds; 2 sprawling, tangled wires; 1 roll medium format C41 film; 1 circular upholstery needle; 1automatic awl, threaded; 1 blue, vintage leather book (“My School Day Autobiography”) of my Aunt’s, circa 1927-1930.
Today begins the process of finding images and assembling the book. I wonder what will come of it!