Book for an Artist
A note book for an artist!
Do I start with colour? Tricky. Favourite colours, they'll shift, like the complex colours of seasons or the fractions of change wrought by sunlight and shadow, blending over a land in any given day at any point in a year. Impossible to fix.
Then should I start with shape? But shapes, lines, textures, everything! They're all sure to change, when an artistic expression comes through handling of object; then construction, assemblage, unity, disparity. Think of a shape wrought by a guiding hand, but it is growing itself, too; an object making itself, defined, but organic, changing as it endures and falls away. New shapes, new patterns. Good grief. I'm at a loss to pin that down. How could a book begin to tell the life of a shape, and grow it, too?
How about something else. Story? Should I start there? But a narrative through a visual can never be fixed! I tell my children, if I asked ten, 20, 300 artists to draw a tree, the beauty is that I'd get a zillion trees come back at me, each with a different line, shape, colour, motive, a different place in time and space; I'd see them all, with their each different stories to begin me thinking, talking, telling mine.
Time? Perhaps this book should be located in a time; a moment in history? Or the future? Would the contents reflect or foretell? Hmm. In my experience, some artists, unless it's their thing, are not so good with time. The trouble is, artists tend to leap out of time, even while trapped in it. They're always challenging the clock! Mixing up the fleeting and the constant; merging a blink of an eye with the geological dust of planets.
This arty one, it's tricky, isn't it?
Perhaps the book I begin should begin with a setting; a physical place. Tied to the land. I liked this idea. I fancied rubbing soil into cloth, then I wanted to bury the book, dig a place and leave it there for months, years. (But not exactly helpful if she wants it for a week on Tuesday.)
Then I began to think, I should make a book that isn't any of these things. A book simply to use, treat badly or well. A book that changes in space, place, its moments in time, each moment it is used.
This book I make says, I am practical, a resource-filled space; treat me how you want, cut, pin, tear, stitch, stamp me. Stash, stow, store more stuff in me, fold me this way, fold me that way, make new combinations everytime: call it use/abuse. I need not be pretty, not presentable. I am what you make of me. If I become stained, bear the mark of a hand, scar of glue, splash of paint, a slice, tear, or burn, then so be it. I am more valuable, more precious for it; I have more history, more future, more stories to tell. I am a book to use an as artist needs.
Made from materials brought from history and flung into the future: canvas, papyrus, recycled papers, linen, wax, metal, silk, glass, and stitched inside, sound.
Colour, add as you please.