This week we were assigned to do something with a book. This was such a difficult challenge for me because this is what I do all of the time. I make books. I remake books. I tear ugly books apart and make them look better. I cut books. I fold books. Oh--all of the options.
When I attend craft fairs to sell my books and art work, I always have a hard time giving out business cards. People always ask for them and I wanted to do something other than just keep them in a pile on the display table. I have one of those acrylic business card holders but it just doesn't look artistic. So I decided to make a business card holder out of an old book that I had.
I cut the spine and only used half of the book. I divided the book into four equal sections and I divided the page into four equal parts. For the first section, I would make a cut one quarter from the bottom of the page (cutting from the spine to the fore edge). I then folded the one quarter strip once from fore edge to the spine. In the first section, I folded the three quarter pages from the fore edge to the spine and then again so that it was half the size of the one quarter strip.
For the second section of the book, I made cuts at one quarter and one half which left me with three strips of paper per page. The lower quarter and the top half strips were double folded from fore edge to the spine. The second section from the bottom was folded only once.
For the third section of the book, I made cuts from the bottom half, and one quarter from the top. The bottom half and the top quarter were double folded while the remaining quarter (second quarter from the top) was folded only once.
Finally, for the last section of the book, I made a cut from the bottom three quarters of the page and leaving the top quarter. I double folded the bottom section and single folded the top quarter. All in all, this left me with a rotating section from bottom to top of one section of the page that stuck out further than the rest of the pages. These were the pages that would hold my business cards. The double folded sections would hold postcards that announced my exhibitions or postcards for sale. Overall, the project took about 8 hours to complete over two days and 12 Exacto blades.
Here is the finished tower (which I conveniently call "Hedgehog). You can see the single folded and double folded sections and how the single folded sections rotate around the tower.
Here, I have highlighted two sections that have business cards already inserted. My business cards are the grey cards extended past the pages.
Here are the business cards and postcards in the finished hedgehog. The postcards are NYC postcards that I sell but you can tell the finished look of the project.
Today, I had a pretty busy day so I didn't get to play as much as I would have liked. I started the preliminary sketches for a cutout Thank You card (1 hr) and I blogged for a little bit (1 hr). I consider it a success because I want to do something every day towards my P10K. So, two hours are better than no hours.
An acquaintance of mine died during Hurricane Irene. She didn't die directly from the hurricane--she only didn't wake up from the aftermath of the storm. I am on a neighborhood watch in my neighborhood and I look after 10 elderly women. They range in age from 52 to 92, all of them live alone with the exception of Nina and Daisy Espirito who are sisters (ages 86 and 92). Nina, aged 92, did not wake from her sleep after the hurricane passed through NYC.
I share this situation with you because I wanted to create a two page spread in my personal art journal dedicated to Nina. I wanted to highlight two of her many anecdotes regarding her long and storied live. Normally, I would have fussed and fretted over the layout and many times, it would simply remain in my head. Working on P10K made me realize--art pieces, many times, are works in progress. In other words, Michelangelo performed many drawings and sketches before painting the Sistine chapel. DaVinci painted over previous painting before finalizing a finished portrait. Why would I think that I could produce, instantly, a work of art?
I trace this mentality to my lack of artistic play when I was a child. I never really experimented artistically when I was growing up. Everything had to be a finished, perfect outcome. Coloring outside the lines wasn't permitted, grass was always green, trees had to look like trees or the drawing paper was thrown away. Before P10K, I never would have shared a work in progress--especially, one that I wasn't initially pleased with.
Here is the first rendering of the spread. I like the background colors and textures and I like the quotes that I have chosen to use. I don't like the daisies or the printing on the right side of the page. The beauty of the project is that it isn't completed. I can change it, rearrange it, color over it, add to it. I know that this sounds simple but to me it really is a revelation. I am producing this spread for MY pleasure. I'm not going to sell it, I'm not on a deadline and this isn't a commission. This is for ME. As long as I am pleased with the process of making something that pleases me--then that is the transformative nature of art.
Today, I got a lot done while waiting for Hurricane Irene to hit NYC. Thankfully, we were spared the wrath of the hurricane although there was plenty of water damage and flooding in the lower parts of Manhattan. I survived unscathed in the Bronx. Because I had the entire day to myself, I was able to log in a whole bunch of hours in my project--now to be referred to as P10K.
I finished reading the book, Outliers, and was glad that I read it. Being a sociologist, it was a pleasant read and dispels some of our myths regarding success and how it is perceived and evaluated. The chapter regarding the 10,000 hour rule is what intrigued me the most. More importantly, the book also stresses that when there is an immediate intrinsic reward associated with hard work, we are much more likely to want to spend the required 10,000 hours to become proficient. While I found fault with some of the logic of the book, I was glad that I completed the it (2 hours).
I also dedicated time to catching up my blog entries regarding my Iron Craft projects. I count these hours as part of my P10K because the more information that I post about my art, my techniques, and my projects, the more likely people are going to want to see, and possibly purchase, my work. Part of the development of my art must include developing the business side of my art. If I don't develop the business side then I will never be able to become a full time artist (1 hour).
I also cleaned and organized my studio. I have a difficult time being creative if the studio is a mess. I would walk by the studio and move on rather than create which is opposite to what I am trying to do in the P10K. When I clean the studio, I am always amazed at rediscovering lost items or finding materials that I had forgotten(4 hours).
I finished my project for this week's Iron Craft Challenge. I will share pictures on Wednesday. I am really pleased with the way the project turned out (2 hours--finishing and taking pictures).
Finally, I have started reading a new book called Art at the Speed of Life. I will write a review upon completing the book (1 hour).
Total hours this week: 16
Total cumulative hours: 16
BTW, when I reference books that I am reading or reviewing, I do not get paid by the author or by amazon.com. I simply shop amazon and therefore provide their link to the the book I am reading. I am in no way getting compensated for discussing the book. If in the event I receive some compensation (either a free preview copy, etc.), I will disclose this information during that post.
This week's challenge was to use Peeps Bunnies or Chicks in some way. While I must go on record to say that I have never eaten, or desired to eat, Peeps, I was a little puzzled by this challenge. As I was shopping for the Peeps and was trying to get candy for Easter (I have eaten my weight in Starburst Jelly beans and Skittles), I noticed some colorful candies.
Buying bags of candy in a variety of colors, I was hoping for some inspiration. One of the actor's from the theater was throwing away this tall vase. My inspiration came to me instantly. I layered jelly beans (which I had to sacrifice from my PERSONAL stash), malted eggs, and bunny Peeps. I have always wondered if they were still classified as Peeps if they were bunnies. Chicks peep but what sound does a bunny made. In truth, what do bunnies do besides mate, eat and make poop. Maybe the chicks should be Peeps and the bunnies should be Poops.
This week's challenge was to create postcards that would then be sent to a recipient. I wanted to make something specific to the person(s) who were going to receive the postcard. By the luck of the draw, I was assigned to send cards to Thing1 and Thing2 the only other male contestants in the Iron Craft challenge (they are the sons of one of the organizers of the challenge).
Since they like Harry Potter, I decided to do some cutouts relating to the books. The top card is one of the posters for the movie series and the second is the crest of Harry's dorm at school. The cutouts are mounted on hand colored cold pressed watercolor paper.
Today, I continued to read the book Outliers . I still consider this as applicable to my hour count because I am still using the time to develop my craft. I have spent most of the day dealing with the impending hurricane so I have plenty of time on my hands.
I have also started my Iron Craft project for this week (week 35) in which we are supposed to do something with a book. I know exactly the project that I am going to work on and have started to work on it. The project is called "The Hedgehog" and I am looking forward to its completion.
August 26-- 2 hours working on The Hedgehog
August 27--4 hours reading Outliers
I have been reading the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It is a great book that discusses success: how we measure it, how it is obtained, and the conditions in which it thrives. The second chapter is titled: The 10,000 hour rule and states that people who have become proficient in a skill or activity have dedicated over 10,000 hours to its development. He provides several examples to illustrate his point.
This rule has made me wonder--if I had 10,000 hours to dedicate to something, what would I develop? In the book, Gladwell estimates that it takes people approximately 10 years to become truly proficient at something (equitable to 10,000 hours). I wanted to know exactly how long 10,000 hours really was. If I work continuously, I would have to work non-stop for one year and 52 days.
Also, it made me wonder--what skill would I want to develop. So, in answer to this challenge and in celebration of my birthday, I have decided to log in 10,000 hours to become the best paper artist that I can be. I struggled with this decision because I didn't know if I wanted to dedicate myself solely to make books, or boxes, or paper art. I decided to develop all of the skills associated with paper arts.
I hope to share with you the results of my quest by posting projects that I have completed or are in the making but also explaining and logging my hours until I reach my 10,000 hours.