01 May 2017

Another UFO Blog Hop

A couple months ago, the UFO group I joined this year did a blog hop so that people could post about progress on their items.  Although I have not made much progress on the shawls that I announced as my UFOs for the year, I did finish two other items.

At MakeHartford we have a Paper Artist Gathering group which I am part of mostly because I was part of the original Geometric Origami Club that grew into the current group.  And somehow, I was talked into contributing to a group exhibit that opens on May 6th at the Farmington Valley Art Center.  Titled "Paper Possibilities 2017: Exploring a Modest Medium" it shows all different types of art created from paper.

When people were talking about the exhibit, I mentioned some UFOs I had from a workshop on creating altered books from the lamentably gone (the artist moved to Virginia!) from Hartford, Studio N111.  In this workshop, we took books and learned about cutting and rearranging and folding and all kinds of options to decorate them.

Although I did a little work after the workshop, this is where they were, and had been for quite a long time:

The open book at the left, "A Road to Hope", is about a couple who helped to create a home for families near a cancer treatment center.  I ended up not doing more to it this time (if it doesn't sell, and I don't expect it to, I may do more and enter V1.2 in next year's exhibit) and didn't take pictures of the little that I did do, but I did more work on the other item.

That book was a young adult paperback, rather battered.  I removed (and recycled) the cover, and began to fold the pages into the same three-fold pattern, but alternating which corner I used to start.  So the shape formed as shown.

When I went back to it to finish the piece for the exhibit, I envisioned something mostly painted white and pale yellow, with maybe a touch of pink, and some deeper blue and purple circling it at angles.  I found a crystal dangle in a shape that echoes the one that is forming, and wanted to add it to add some interest to what I thought would be an unimpressive piece, especially compared to other artworks in the exhibit.  To attach a hanging loop and the crystal, I envisioned satin cord monkey's fist knots at each end, coordinating with the blue or purple or even both.

Of course that didn't happen.  As I mentioned in yesterday's post about randomness, a friend had counseled that sometimes art takes its own direction and doesn't end up as planned.  Without a lot of time to struggle, I wasn't going to fight the art.

First, I finished folding all the pages, and I noticed that the pages that had been exposed were slightly but noticeably yellowed.  This happens with the type of cheap paper often used in paperback books, and I realized that not only would it require a lot of paint to cover to get the white background I was envisioning, but the pages were going to continue to yellow as time passes.  So I decided to make that part of the art.

I'd obtained a set of pearlescent watercolours, and used them to add tints to the piece, focusing on yellow, orange, rust, and two shades of green:
You can see very clearly the newly-folded pages below, and the sun-tinted ones above.
I did more than one pass, some more watery and others drier, to get different depth of colour.  Then I decided that the monkey's fist knots wouldn't quite work, in addition to not having any beads or balls at home large enough to act as a base, and not having time to shop for any before the piece needed to be delivered.  So I took some wool yarn that seemed to coordinate with the paper colour and two buttons scrounged from my stash (I wanted two of the ceramic one, which seemed to coordinate best without adding more colour to the piece, but only had one, and so relaxed my stress of symmetry) to create a tasseled hanger.
Sorry it's not focused.  JHB Collection on left, something artsy on the right.
The darker, thinner button went on the top with the idea that it would be less visible when the piece is hung.  I didn't fasten the cord into the paper piece; it's held by tension and the curve of the spine caused by the folding.

Here are a couple quick pictures taken when I dropped off the piece:

Although it's not what I had envisioned, I like the end result.  The colours are much more visible to the naked eye than they photograph.  You still see that it was a book (one of the other artists wanted assurance that I would not obliterate the words, and I told her that was why I selected watercolours) but it has turned into something almost organic.  The tassel is at the top, slightly off-center from where the hanging occurs, and not visible in these photos.  I'll try to get one at the opening on Saturday and add it or link to another post.

Now that you've read the story of my UFO, check out what some of the other artists in this month's blogroll have been finishing:

Karen Williams, Baublicious
Francie Broadie,  FAB
Christine Van Dyke Altmiller, One Kiss Creations
Kim Dworak, CianciBlue
Liz Hart, Treetop Life
Amy Severino, Amy Beads
Cynthia Machata, Antiquity Travelers
Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
Christi Carter, Sweetpea Path
Bobbie Rafferty, Beadsong Jewelry


CraftyHope said...

Oh wow! I've always admired book-folding art. Taking a peek into your thought process for this, I admire it even more. I think your end-result is really beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us and walking us through your process as well!!

Bobbie said...

Oh my gosh, this is fabulous! I'm fascinated by origami and altered books, so understanding the steps in your creative process was a special treat. I'm sure this will be a popular entry in the exhibition.

Amy S. said...

This piece is so gorgeous, Margo! Thanks for sharing how you arrived at creating this!

Liz E said...

Wonderful piece! If I were a battered paperback I would want you to help me shed my cover and transform into something new and amazing, just like you did with this piece. The wool yarn was a perfect choice. So organic and inviting.

AntiquityTravelers said...

No truer words than "sometimes art takes its own direction and doesn't end up as planned." That is how I feel about my beading! I struggle to follow patterns :) I love this piece it is just so cool, and unique!

Karen Williams said...

Wow! Your final piece is fantastic. And totally not where I thought you were going, so the final photos were a fun surprise.

I have to agree with all of the other commenters - it was great fun sharing your journey and watching to see how it developed. Thank you for sharing.

Really wish I could be there for the opening!

Therese's Treasures said...

Beautiful piece Margo! This takes me way back to when I use to make trees with the readers digest books painted them and poured glitter all over them.

Anonymous said...

Your finished piece is lovely. Very organic. You are so right, art so often has a mind of its own. And it is always wise to listen to what it is saying to you. And hooray for using bits from your stash to complete it. That is always a satisfying feeling. --Francie

Christine Altmiller said...

I think Art laughs at our preconceived notions as to how it will turn out. This is a wonderful, organic, subtle, deep beauty!

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