Clam Shell Box

Here's another of my final projects from that artist's books class I took two years ago. This is called a 'clam shell box' because of the way it nestles together, and the broad flexible hinge. It's very similar to the hardback cover of a book with a flat spine, but instead of pages, there's more bookboard making up the sides of the box.

I wanted an interesting cover on the box, so I made two windows in the front bookboard panel, using them as frames for prints of old photographs. I was thinking about a refrigerator (no joke) when I mapped out the two photo-windows.

The rest of the box is made of more bookboard, covered in bookcloth and lined with found sheet music. The slot in the box's bottom wall is there so you can lift out its contents without turning the box upside down. I measured this box to fit the two hardbound books I had just made, but it is also the perfect size for 5x7 photographs, or drug paraphernalia or prophylactics, you know, whatever.



These are old photos. They're from a camping trip I took with two friends, two years ago, in March of 2009, to southern Illinois, outside Carbondale.

You may remember this film, which was shot during the same trip. Here's Aj in action:

These are not all of the photographs, just ones that I think are particularly interesting. I take a lot of photos, but only because I'm on this vacation or that one, or someone is visiting, that kind of thing. I approach them as snapshots, which is a welcome relief from the lengthily and detailed planning that goes into most of the things I create. Photos are a way for me to document my life (like diary comics) without the pressure of premeditation or commitment, and any artistic merit that shows up when I get the prints back is an unexpected joy.

I like thinking about my photos in groups of three. Here are three closer examinations of the natural world:

And three pictures of Lale sitting on something far away:

And one picture that looks prehistoric:

This post has been short on discussion and analysis, so I'll throw in one more photograph that strikes me as particularly beautiful. I love the proxy-horizon-line here and how it tips you off the left side; the way that second rock is not quite strong enough to keep your eye in the image. And how the upper earth - the ground that is visible, somehow, on top of the mountains - is curved away from you like an exaggeration of the bow in the planet's crust. I find the perspective in this photograph discombobulating in the best, most breath-catching way. Aj's precarious position on the right side of the frame seems tenuous at best, and even he is leaning in to try and make some sense of the balance within the image. And, that rosy rust color of the leaves on the ground kills me.


Round Spine, Flat Spine

Back in spring semester of 2009, I was in an artist's book class. Remember? These two books were the last editions I made, and the fanciest. They're real hardback books, with many signatures, stitched and bound traditionally and really nicely. The quality of these editions is something I'm very proud of. First, the round spine:

Both books' innards are 50% found paper (posters, wrapping paper, opalescent tissue) and 50% purchased paper. The paper I bought is soft and ribbed, good for sketching or writing. For the round spine book, I used this drawing paper, striped brown wrapping paper, tissue, and the remnants of an old water-stained poster for Guatemala.

And now, the flat spine:

This pages in this book are comprised of the same soft drawing paper and tissue, as well as found posters from the first Austin Powers movie, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.



This Friday, I'm participating the seventh installment of the EAR EATER reading series, previously curated by Cassandra Troyan and Sara Drake, and now curated just by Sara Drake (at least this time). Anyway, I'll be doing a performative reading of the prose version of the story of the Squishsacks, and it should be pretty exciting. I will be really nervous, come watch me try not to shake when I talk.

The other readers at the event are:
Halle Butler
Kristin Hayter
Nick Jackson
Anders Nilsen
and Sara Drake.

You should come. It's at 1622 S. Allport St. Apt. #1, commencing between 8-11pm, on Friday, June 24th.