Like many book artists, I have a number of unfinished editions hanging out in my studio in various stages of completion. Every summer, for the past three years I have set forward with the missive that this would THE summer, the summer of completion. During the first two summers I made progress, but I did not complete any of the projects. This summer is different.
It began with a visit from former colleague Lauren O’Neal, who is now the Director of the Lamont Gallery at Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and her colleague, Lamont Gallery Manager, Sara Zela. They came to see my calendars, but were interested in all things I do that document, especially my Tree Guides. My tree guides are a series of pamphlet books, anywhere between 4-5, that are made from tree rubbings from very specific trees. I take the rubbings back into the studio, working back in with watercolor, colored pencil and in a couple of pamphlets stencil and letterpress. For each pamphlet/portrait there is an accompany field guide entry that tells about the tree, why it’s important, a little bit of context, etc. The pamphlets and the field guide live in a clamshell box. In the past I made these as unique boxes, now when I make one, I make an edition of two or three.
In the stack of unfinished editions, live the pieces and parts to make tree portraits for trees from a residency in Nebraska City where the Arbor Day began and tree portraits from a residency on Mount Greylock. The notes and work go back to 2008 and 2009 respectively. The clamshell boxes were finished. Four of the nine books were bound, but still needed labels and other details. The field guides barely had rough drafts.
Of course Lauren and Sara definitely wanted these plus the Alaska Field Guides, which was completed. This would be my motivation. The work needed to be delivered by August 16th, along with all NINETEEN of my calendars. This was the summer solstice. July flew by with trips, to Ohio, Delaware, Philadelphia, and Spain. Numerous parties. At least a half-dozen cakes baked. The coordination of the move of PRESS and the move of my classroom and office. Hello August 9th.
I loved reacquainting myself with my own work–work that helps feed my need to get lost in the reverie of the greens and browns and greys of nature. Work that helps me remember to slow down and look, to be a bit slower in the things I do. Enjoy.
If you happen to be in New Hampshire between September 9th and October 19th, do check out the exhibit.
Also, if you like this work, you can learn more about how I made it in Jenny Doh’s Journal It. Or, if you would like to purchase something like it, contact Vamp and Tramp. They carry the Alaska Tree Portraits, and Postcards, a year of postcard rubbings from all over the world, with an accompanying field guide. Or of course, contact me!