2019 Annual Member’s Project: Planning/Discussion

Members…
Each year we start off planning our next project by soliciting your ideas as to what said project might be.
During our annual meeting (Sunday, January 20, 2019) we began this process (see Addeane’s meeting notes).
And, as mentioned, we’re continuing the discussion in this online forum.
Please avail yourself of this blog post to contribute your ideas and observations as to the shape of our 2019 Member’s Project.
~Garrett

Discussion

9 Comments on “2019 Annual Member’s Project: Planning/Discussion”

  1. Garrett Queen Post author

    Addeane provided these notes from the project discussion during the annual meeting, 01/20:

    2019 Annual Project:
    Garrett led a discussion about preliminary planning for the annual project.
    He began by asking what members want from/for the annual project.

    Responses from the group included:
    • Importance of working in teams/groups
    • Find the structure first, then decide on the content
    • Opportunity to learn new skills
    • Focus on a deep theme behind the project
    • Required specs that the group must follow (size, color palette, paper, etc.)
    • Responsibility to the craft (in the largest sense)
    • Focus on community (of book arts and of the wider community)
    “Show us how to live”

    Soon, Garrett will set up an online open forum for members to contribute specific theme(s) and format(s).

    There was a general discussion about the process and planning in general.
    • The timeline is October 1 for finishing the project.

    A few specific ideas were suggested by members:
    • Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s list of 100+ previous laws that discriminated against women
    • All the things we are in Charlottesville, in contrast to what we are now known for
    • Hindsight is 20/20

  2. Richard Cappuccio

    Dean suggested a theme worth considering, “Feminisms.”

    Many years ago Germaine Greer published a book, THE OBSTACLE RACE, which retold the history of art using only women artists. Might we not retell literary history, let’s say the history of poetry similarly. Format could be a codex, but better yet a series of broadsides of uniform size collected in a portfolio.

  3. Robert Schultz

    A thought: 2019 will see the bicentennial celebration of Walt Whitman’s birth, May 31, 1819. Often when I’ve thought of Charlottesville lately I’ve thought of Whitman’s great post-war poem:

    Reconciliation

    Word over all, beautiful as the sky,
    Beautiful that war and all its deeds of carnage must in time
    be utterly lost,
    That the hands of the sisters Death and Night incessantly
    softly wash again, and ever again, this soil’d world;
    For my enemy is dead, a man divine as myself is dead,
    I look where he lies white-faced and still in the coffin–I
    draw near,
    Bend down and touch lightly with my lips the white face in
    the coffin.

    Might we build a reconciliation project that works with the humane
    example of dear old Walt?

  4. Christine Drake

    There is a real need for Civil Discourse in our country and culture at the moment. Perhaps the project could focus on what this means (not sure many understand the concept) and its importance for living/thriving as a human being.

  5. Kristin Adolfson

    I very much like the direction Robert suggested: Whitman, to celebrate his birth, and the poem Reconciliation… and what it (reconciliation – the idea and the poem) is pointing to…

    it’s a broad topic, that can touch upon many things happening in our culture right now (bringing in the desire to work with feminisms, Charlottesville community, etc). That could give artists leeway to address specific topics but within the context of Reconciliation and what that might look like. And it’s a positive direction/ message. Although can be hard to get to real reconciliation personally, institutionally, racially, culturally, which makes it interesting and courageous topic in my eyes…

  6. Bonnie Bernstein

    I like the idea of celebrating Whitman. I also like the idea of challenging artists to respond to what Reconciliation “might look like,” but I think it will take some thoughtful discussions to get members to respond creatively and on many different fronts. Another caveat — we might have to consider what some critics consider to be vestiges of racism that come through in Whitman’s other writings.

    Can you imagine us all responding to “I Sing the Body Electric”? That would be wild…..

  7. Bonnie Bernstein

    Another stray idea….

    One of my favorite prints is a contextual piece — an engraved 50th wedding anniversary invitation circa early 1920s made from a “found” plate, to which the artist added an aquatint of silhouetted WWI soldiers moving across the top of the engraving and an etching of silhouetted figures gathered on a beach below it. The piece is all in sepia, adding to the nostalgia and helping to poignantly illustrate the span of years being celebrated. I love how the artist turned ephemera into richly storied art.

    So that got me thinking …. Suppose we each composed text and images for a printed announcement, choosing some interesting contemporary context for inspiration. The occasion itself might be anything — an anniversary, birth, retirement, death, reunion, opening — real or imagined. The cards could be collected in a box or somehow bound together. Lyall once suggested an envelope book structure, in which envelopes are bound together and material placed inside them that might be uniquely appropriate for a set of storied invitations.

    (P.S. Please ignore the time that my comments appear to be sent — somehow, my computer is still on travel time from last spring. Will fix. )

  8. Dean Dass

    I fear we often look for a “great idea” for these projects. I think our ideas sometimes cloud the work we do. I don’t think we need a great new idea. To print and sew and bind a book by hand is already a really good idea. It is already a critique. The very existence of our work critiques a world where almost anything made by hand is marginalized and the value of almost everything is based on utilitarian values.

    Member A says I am an artist. Member B says I am not an artist. Member C says I am a poet. Member D says I am not a poet.

    Firm project rules can outflank all of these false dilemmas. Member A submits a photograph; Member B submits a drawing. The resulting rasterization of the images – needed for printing – the printing ink color, and the page layout and design, level these disparate sources into wonderful little dots, the half tones. Page layout in particular can do a lot.

    About poetic language, I would recommend everyone speak in the first person; we all have stories to tell. No finger pointing. For instance, if someone doesn’t want to draw or design or illustrate she might write a paragraph/page on some experience they have had, something that happened to them or that they observed, overheard conversation, …set type and print it. Vignettes. Again, layout and design go a long way toward unification.

    Probably we should not title our project Charlottesville Grows Smaller.

    Vignette – “brief evocative description, episode, or account…”

    So, is poetry allowed or not? The poetry of ordinary language.

    A field guide, or manual, guidebook, might be a way to work in this direction. You know, like in therapy, when the psychologist says use only “I” messages… – no overarching metaphors, no memes, no signs at all, just everything as a “for instance,” or “this is what I found, this is what I see…”

    “The cultural researchers Terhi Utriainen and Marja-Leena Hokasalo point out that a new orientation in current philosophy and art, an orientation toward others, towards another’s suffering and her face, as well as others’ right to specificity and singularity for which I am responsible, could perhaps be the ethical turning point of our time.”

    “…differences in gender, ethnicity and culture, or a differentiation between human and animal.…”

    “The recognition of difference can also provide a foundation for reciprocity.”

    Don’t you think feminism was so important in developing this new ethical dimension.?

    I think the above reconciles many approaches, many of our ideas, by providing a frame that is both forward looking and highly structured.

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