I enjoy collaboration. So far in my artistic career, I’ve collaborated with a choreographer, a sound artist, a poet, a videographer and other artists.
Here’s my newest creation, a broadside created in collaboration with poet Carl Adamshick. The publication of this piece coincides with Carl’s new book of poetry Saint Friend (which also features the poem) and you’ll find a description of the book at the end of this post.
A Map To Now, Edition of 20, $300 (purchase here)
One of the things I love about collaboration is the way that a project goes deeper when two souls collide.
I’ve collaborated with Carl on two other projects: String Theory and Cosmology. In both cases, I’d already conceived of the look and format of the work and asked Carl to compose a poem. We’d have a conversation or two, and he would write a poem (a smooth process from my perspective, although I’m sure Carl spent some time thinking about and choosing his words).
This project was intentionally different. I suggested that Carl write a poem for me to respond to, and the process wasn’t quite as smooth. Carl sent me a poem, and I didn’t have any immediate ideas. He checked in with me from time to time, and then one day (almost a year later) he sent me another poem, thinking it was just a revision of the poem he’d sent earlier (or at least that is what the subject line of his e-mail indicated). It came at a time when I was making a paper weaving with gray and off-white papers, just prior to launching my 100 x 100 Paper Weavings Project.
I came up with the circle/moon idea in a vertical format and sent a sketch to Sandy Tilcock of lone goose press. She came up with the layout and type design, showing me both a vertical and a horizontal version. As you can see, I chose the horizontal version. Sandy also sent me samples of other work she’d printed using dark papers.
I made the charcoal gray cotton paper and sent it to Sandy in Oregon. She had polymer plates made and printed the broadsides in three runs: the poem, the title and poet’s name, and the colophon. She gave the title and Carl’s name a special effect by sprinkling a silver pigment onto the wet ink, adding a glimmer to the type.
Since Sandy and Carl both live in Oregon (Eugene and Portland), the printed copies went to Carl next for signing. Sandy sent along this prismacolor pencil (I added my signature when they arrived in Colorado).
Whenever anyone looks at one of my paper weavings, they can’t quite figure out how they are done. I thought I’d set the record straight here (and there is also a project which features this technique in my book Playing With Paper).
There are many steps that I go through when editioning a piece. After completing the first two in the edition, I’ve perfected my series of steps. I use my circle cutter to cut the moon from a sheet of off-white handmade cotton paper and place it in position on the broadside.
Next I prepare the warp. With paper, the warp can run horizontally or vertically, whereas when weaving cloth, the warp is the longitudinal thread in a roll that is fixed on the loom. I cut a second and slightly larger circle out of a sheet of card stock and center it over the off-white circle.
After removing the off-white inner circle, I cut the warp lines in the gray sheet, using the red circle template to determine the length and position of the cuts. The red circle is slightly larger, because the circle expands a bit during the weaving process (i.e. the pieces don’t touch when they are woven – there’s a paper thickness between them).
Here are the ‘weft’ pieces, ready to be woven. I like to keep the pieces in order on my cutting mat.
The weaving is simple, over – under – over – under – although you do have to take care not to stress the paper, because it shows.
The loose ends get glued in place on the front and the back of the weaving.
I’ve enhanced the moon by removing parts of the gray paper. Here you see how I use a thin piece of plastic (part of a placemat from Ikea) as a cutting mat that I can slip in between the layers of paper.
This is the back side, which is just woven. There is no need for extra cuts since it won’t be seen. It would be interesting to cut both sides if this were a page in a book.
I can’t leave out this lovely description of Carl’s new book, published by McSweeney’s: Saint Friend is that rare book that speaks in the voice of a generation. The voice comes from an acclaimed young poet who, after working years in obscurity, was fêted with the prestigious Walt Whitman Award for his first collection. This, his second book, is a freewheeling explosion of celebrations, elegies, narratives, psychologically raw persona pieces (one in the voice of Amelia Earhart), and a handful of punchy lyric poems with a desperate humor. It is, as the title suggests, a book exalting love among friends in our scattered times.