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Part 1 Book Challenge

Updated: Apr 19

This project emerged after I found out that an art group I sometimes attend was hosting a challenge for the June meeting.  That meeting may or may not take place thanks to covid 19. Regardless, it gave me the opportunity to tackle something I could bite off in stages around other issues I was dealing with.


When I create my paper pieces I like to clean off as much acrylic paint as possible from brushes, rollers and stencils before cleaning with soap and water.  To do that I keep a journal near me, but recently I started using deli paper instead. I like the thinness and somewhat transparency of it. I often will use both sides of the paper, and reuse a sheet several times, adding layers of paint in very random ways.  One day, I decided to play with inks over the paint residues. I liked the vibrancy of the ink color and the resist of the acrylic paint and before I knew it had a stack of papers.




I haphazardly cut the sheets into rectangular bits of different heights and widths and collaged them onto large sheets of toned tan mixed media vellum surface paper with matte medium.  I had four of these single sided pieces sitting around, which I thought might make a good substrate but did not have a specific idea of how I would use them, when I saw Theresa Martin’s post about the challenge based on Angela Cartwright’s book. I had the beginnings of 15 double sided houses. 


I coated the reverse of those 4 sheets with more cut up deli papers.  Then I trimmed the sheets down to a standard size and cut them in half.  I cut off from the midpoint on the short side at a 45 degree angle on each side to create the house roof. Not having the book template I created my own.  



I was watching the British Antiques Roadshow, when a fellow came on with a collection of keys and I knew what the next element for this book needed to be. Key can mean and symbolize so many things, including (from Merriam Webster): a means of gaining or preventing entrance, possession, or control; an instrumental or deciding factor; something that gives an explanation or identification or provides a solution; a list of words or phrases giving an explanation of symbols or abbreviations; an aid to interpretation or identification; an arrangement of the salient characters of a group of plants or animals or of taxa designed to facilitate identification; a map legend; a part to be depressed by a finger that serves as one unit of a keyboard; a lever that controls a vent in the side of a woodwind instrument or a valve in a brass instrument; a system of tones and harmonies generated from a hierarchical scale of seven tones based on a tonic the key of G major; characteristic style or tone; the tone or pitch of a voice; the predominant tone of a photograph with respect to its lightness or darkness; a decoration or charm resembling a key; a small switch for opening or closing an electric circuit; the set of instructions governing the encipherment and decipherment of messages; a free-throw area in basketball; a small piece of wood or metal used as a wedge or for preventing motion between parts.


 I sourced 30 key designs that I laser copied in black and white and layered 3 coats of semi gloss gel medium over the prints. I cut those out, trimming closely to the design, and transferred them face down onto the house shapes.  I did paint the entire surface of each house side with the gel medium before laying on the transfer; this waterproofed the surface and sealed the ink which otherwise might have dissipated. I let the transfers sit overnight before attempting to remove the paper.  With a wet fingertip I rubbed the paper off. I let them dry and then repeated because some residue does not become apparent until fully dried. I repeated the rubbing off until I no longer saw paper residue.  








I had a box of old stamps that I thought might add a narrative element to the book.  They could also be interpreted as windows. I decided that one side would be architectural and the other more autobiographical. I have always been drawn to landscapes that include architecture, but not necessarily with people in them.  It seemed necessary that this book in this time reflect the people less landscapes of the world- although our own neighborhood has seen more people traffic than ever! -thanks in part to how green it is. 







More to come....

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Hand-made in Loudoun County, Virginia

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