Bookbinding Course

I have started an online course through Domestika.org on bookbinding. The instructor makes an interesting distinction between books bound and in an artistic manner, including blank books and books that are of themselves artistic artifacts, and binding artworks in a way that presents and protects them. The latter is of course my interest.

A few years ago I did make a book, Signature 1.

This was triggered by wining the Japanese Paper Place Award at the Ontario Society of Artists Open Juried Exhibition in 2011. The award included a significant amount of very nice paper, and consultation time to make appropriate selections. I selected a paper that had an interesting structure and texture, that would work on my inkjet printer.

I decided that the images that best went with the paper were some of my many images of bare trees. As you can see in this image, the structure of the tree and the structure of the paper complement each other. The image was made by scanning through a page; the later images give a better idea of what it looks like to the eye.

Part of a page as seen by shining light through it

I wanted the book to have images faced by blank pages, where I could write, and also on both sides of the page. There was some tricky layout work to do, to get the images in the right orientation and the right sequence. I printed a couple of drafts on plain paper.

One sheet, showing layout

When I had all the pages printed and folded, I had a local framing shop dry-mount the results, so I had a number of “boards” to stitch together.

After dry-mounting

I punched holes with a sewing machine to guide the needle during hand-stitching.

Hand-stitching after poking holes

I wrote a poem that runs through the entire book, speaking of and for the trees, and hearing what they might have to say. I’ve been really happy with the result, and have sold several (there’s a limit of 10, but I have not made even half of them). At the moment we don’t even have one for ourselves…
Let me know what you think of it.

The sleeve keeps it closed
Signature 1
Back cover w/ haiku
First pages w/ poem
A peek at the centerfold

Time & Motion gallery

I was recently asked by Jeff Nye to “lend” some images for use by a student interested in representing time and motion in photographs. The student curated a nice little online 3D gallery, which you can enjoy by clicking here. (Hint: Best way to view an image and get its title is to click on it. Zooming around the room is nice, too. Calm ocean view outdoors.)

Most of the text is the student’s, with some quotes from me.

My galleries are here. I think you’ll agree that seeing them in 3D is pretty cool.

Orphan Black

We’ve been bingeing on Orphan Black the past couple of weeks – combination of COVID-19 pandemic and the regular TV not working.

Of course, since it was shot in Toronto, we have spotted places we recognize.

When we got to the Season 4 Episode 1 (actually the season premier) we found that a critical scene was show in the back alley and stairwell where I shot a number of my graffiti pieces. It was fun to see Grenade and Ten in passing, as well as where the others are (or were… I haven’t been back).

Banksy on Grafitti

Toronto Star: Gardiner Expressway, near Dunn Avenue, March 25, 2020, p2

“GRAFFITI IS ONE OF THE FEW TOOLS you have if you have almost nothing,” writes the street artist Banksy. In the alleyways of the poor, kids spray-paint against injustice or to assert their spirit or maybe just to get a laugh where laughs are scarce. in trenches, soldiers mark the walls to protest impermanence. And in a pandemic, too, it seems, those with almost nothing, who now have still less, make their pleas where they can.

My graffiti galleries are here, here and here.

Night Streets

Ottawa night cafe

I’m not out much at night, but when I do go, I like to take photos. I am lucky to have very steady hands, so I can take clear images at unusually low shutter speeds. I do have a tripod – good one, too – and a monopod, but I rarely take them with me.

You’ll notice that there are not many people in my photographs, and this is true at night as well. Somehow I’m just inhibited about that…

Modernism and Colonialism

Photo of a steam engine's driving wheels

Modernism asks us each to take our own lives in both hands, to accept responsibility, to make change in the world. I believe that initially it was understood that if you shed tradition and became modern, the changes you would make in the world would be for the better. While some wonderful things have come out of that, there have been problems, too. Modernism and colonialism have been a particularly toxic mix. Continue reading “Modernism and Colonialism”

A Day in the Dump

Three Fridges Outside Orrville Ontario

At the cottage near Orrville, we have to take our own recycling & trash to the dump ourselves. There’s even a Dump Store – a local attraction.

I recently talked the guy working the dump that day into letting me go in & take some photographs. Here are a few. You can see that I had fun, seeing the usual as unusual.

Update: My Aging Eyes

I went to see an eye surgeon today, so I can update my earlier post on the problem with my aging eyes.

It turns out that the operation to clean up my retina (a vitrectomy) would do some good, but improve my vision only somewhat. And much as it bugs me, my left eye isn’t really that bad. In fact, if I had only that eye, I would still pass a driving test.

So: some improvement but marginal.

On  the other hand  it’s surgery. As in cutting open the eye, sucking out the fluid, removing the gunk from the retina and putting it all back together. Six months to heal. Cataract within a year, guaranteed.

So: worse, then better (but not completely), then worse, then better (with an artificial lens)  but still not what it was.

At this point I think I will leave well enough alone. Maybe of I develop cataracts later in life I’ll get the vitrectomy at the same time. Maybe there will be a better process by then.

Read more on vitrectomy at Wikipedia

Newmarket Graffiti

Graffiti freestyle with metallic paint

I actually found some graffiti in Newmarket that I could enjoy! Most of the graffiti around here is really poor – kindergarten stuff – runny tagging, boring, blech!

What I found actually has some freestyle along with layers other work. Even the setting is interesting – much as I dislike litter, the discarded spraycans add to the image.

For more of my thoughts on graffiti, see my earlier post: Photographing Graffiti