Saturday, December 6, 2008
I went in Tiff's treats for the first time yesterday. Its right near my house and I always see a group of students hanging out at the picnic tables at night eating cookies. Its such a tiny place, step in, order cookies, step out. And 8 people just happened to show up to buy when I did. Well, I thought there would be more cookie choices. For a place that specializes in cookies, it didn't have anything unexpected or exciting. Cookies are on the small side. The cookie part of Butterscotch chip is exactly the same as white chocolate almond, m&m, etc. Its like soft serve vanilla ice cream with different toppings instead of different flavored ice creams. Ah well, its comfort food.
I found the name Ruud Van Empel written in my notes too. He is a Dutch artist born in 1958. I came across one of his pieces on the last page of Museum News magazine last spring and I remember being mesmerized by its otherworldly-ness and just beauty as image. Looking up the name again today, I found more of his work on his website, www.ruudvanempel.nl/site/ Equally surreal in the digital manipulation of photographic images. It makes me think also of what something could be.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
"If a book comes from the heart, it will continue to reach other hearts" - Carlyle
If discovery was a color, what would it be? gold maybe?
How to be seriously ambitious about something without being serious?
There are always more things that things can be.
"In filling the well, think magic. Think delight. Think fun. Do not think duty. Do not do what you should do - like reading a dull, but recommended critical text. Do what intrigues you, explore what interests you, think mystery, not mastery" (Cameron, The Artist's Way, 21)
This is how idea for daily practice came about. The only thing that makes sense right now is keep this sense of peace and play in process. Every time heaviness, anxiety, doubt come along be aware and empty mind. Time doesn't matter today. The best times are when I don't count time.
"Is the plant complete when it flowers? When it goes to seed? When the seed sprouts? When everything turns to compost? The notion of completion has no basis in Wabi Sabi" (Koren, 50)
That completion insight is so interesting, true. If you just get rid of the notion that something can be completed, you relieve yourself of a lot of anxiety and pressure. And rather think of something as coming from and going towards, of connecting and continuum...
"Each of us has some area of competence no matter how small in which we feel confident - poetry is a way of treating with the rest about which we are unsure - hence the great body of the poetry of love" Carl Andres, from the exhibit "Words" in Marfa
I love this quote by Leonard Koren from his book "Undesigning the Bath":
"Discovery means that, in one way or another, the bath is 'found' or 'revealed' to the bath-maker. This is the opposite of busy-busy, hyper-goal oriented approach to creation...Hunting for mushrooms while simultaneously enjoying the sights, sounds, smells offers a good analogy. Though you never know what you're going to end up with, you have a pretty clear notion of what you don't want...While moving about, you are intent, but not obsessively so. All of your sensory and intellectual apparatus are alert and receptive, but you're not in a hurry." (76)
and this one:
"Poetry is a short-hand way of choosing intuitive insight over rational methodolgy...It is simplicity, not as the reduction of meaning, but as its consolodation...what you don't say is as important as what you do: the mysterious and the unfinished can evoke, expand, and reveal much more than the unambiguously clear." (85)
Hearing from so many sources, creation comes from
- stillness of mind
- through making
- through absorption
...not through intellect
More easily said than done, but something I have observed and am working toward
Natalie D'Arbeloff in her book "Designing with Natural Forms"
"I am suggesting that the 'what' and 'how' to do come out of the process of seeing itself, provided it is a kind of seeing which is a persistent focusing of the whole attention on only the subject for an extended period of time...opening out and relaxing of the attention...allowing it to play freely with any idea which hovers in the vicinity of the subject...receptive and inquistive frame of mind...ignore the boundaries which put limits on perception" (11)
"We do not aim to master the subject, but simply to abandon ourselves to it" (48)
"Sometimes, the profusion of unexpected links can be overwhelming and frustrating. You feel that you will never be able to cope with it all. My solution is to take from my evergrowing stock pile of reference material only those items which I can use directly: that is, those which provoke questions or ideas which I can pursue with my own methods, in my own language" (86)
From Uri Shulevitz's book "Writing with Pictures:
"When working on your first book, you may ask: Am I happy with the book? Am I happy with the illustrations? A happy book will make a happy author. Therefore ask: Is the book happy [peaceful] are the illustrations happy? Is the story told with clarity? Is the book's form an organic outgrowth of its content? Are the size, shape, and scale of the book most suited to is content and mood? Are the pictures accurate and readable and do they capture the content and the mood? How do they relate to each other? " (11)
"Originality does not consist in saying what no one has ever said before, but in saying exactly what you think yourself." - James Fritz-James
So, I've been looking back over my note books from the semester (3 of them) and realized I neglected to post some observations along the way. Not sure how much sense they make, but they are more pieces to put in the puzzle.
Read in several books, how word and image together is often seen as either a comic book, a children's book, or for advertizing/marketing. Why is that? Does anyone else like seeing pictures when reading? even a little color and attention to detail can go along way in making a word book different from other word books. I understand, it would be weird to add pictures to some text books whose authors never intended them to be illustrated. In these book I'm finding myself intrigued by, the authors seemed to have the insight/intent to have pictures as well as words or the artist has decided from the beginning that words will accompany the illustrations.
The Telephone Book
Ronnel writes about telephone technology and its related psychology. Book designer, Eckersly plays with content, resulting in a book where no 2 pages are the same and may take some extra looking at the page to understand/read it. Many ideas packed into every spread. Telephones and psychology and the design both about communicating...recieving and giving information. Some pages are blank, some words "reflected" on the backside of the page. Page numbers numbered like an address book (black tabs in different locations on outside edge of page) some pages are backwards, some seem to be in code, expiramental, on the edge of readability, as one reviewer noted, a book that holds attention even as it frustrates.
"When the need for belonging is not met, discomfort arises, including feelings of depression, disorientation and hostility. The sense of belonging - that is, the feeling that we are part of a whole greater than ourselves, with which we are physically, mentally, and spiritually involved - is a necessary factor to our well being." (The Power of Kindness, 70)
"a book is seen in full after the act of viewing" "The page and its imagry exist and then the do not exist. This is ironic because it is also such a physical object requiring touch to experience it." (Keith Smith, 17)
Exhibits often do not allow that touch. I guess I am more interested in the book as it can be read intimately pretty much any place, any time by anyone. Vaster audience, less expensive and wasteful, read over and over, the passing of book from one to another generation to generation. Viewer determines the pace.
With daily practice, as response, happens naturally, not striving for certain methods, processes, not forcing, over-thinking, trying to explain, critique...finding something beautiful in the ordinary, the human-made - when extraordinary added to...light, possibility of what they could be