Monday, December 21, 2009

Fragments, Vestiges and Remains -Kim Updated

I guess you all thought I'd completely fallen off the planet by now, but no just at it full on in the new studio!
Honestly, moving, what a hassle, and trying to find everything! At last I have my book done and it will be off to Alicia, (who probably has no hair left after worrying if I will ever finish it, and we can't have that cause bald for ladies is NOT a good look!!!).
Well enough about that let's move on and take a peek shall we, while I fill you all in!

Under the cover a little fabric play...

Yes, good advice, don't lose anything Kim! The words sit on a pillow of textural fragments. Under the cheesecloth, zillions (cause I just looove that word, LOL) of fabric threads from assorted projects that I have kept over time.

On the opposite page...

something for us, the contributors to the book.

Five sweet little cherubs (just like us really!).

Underneath I have constructed a chatelaine.
Okay I can hear you all going what??? from here!
In past times a chatelaine was a collection of chains which women would attach to their belts to hold the household keys.
In this case it will (hopefully!!!) contain a token from each of the participating artists. Something that reflects the friendship that has arisen from this collaboration together. For my part I have added a key and a token that says friendship, representing the keys to our friendship together.

But wait there's more...

The page opens up to reveal, a little suprise...

An additional section for the contributing artists. Five small hand made books, one for each of us to write in.
I thought it would be nice to hear from each artist about their work in the book. Here we can talk about our piece, what's behind it, or how it developed, maybe add a small picture of ourselves and to sign the work here. Each little book is constructed of a suede outer cover and watercolour paper and hand bound. The other inner page shows a picture of five birds and says 'the song of the five chicks'. Well that would be us, five chicks collaborating together in our books and our song is our art.

So, now onto my contribution to fragments, vestiges and remains.

This piece has been coming for some time. I don't mean in how long it has taken to get it done, more in it has been a persistent nagging thing in my head that just demanded to be done. Funny how that happens sometimes.

The piece is about the Anzacs and Gallipoli. For those who don't know, Gallipoli, in Turkey was the scene of a catastophe that resulted in huge loss of life to all participants on both sides during the first world war. For Australians and New Zealanders it forged a bond that remains so strong it has never left us. Anzac is an acronym for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, but the word has become such a part of our culture and has such significance attached that the acronym was dropped during the war and was awarded status as a word of its own. On April 25th 1915, Australia, New Zealand, England together with it's colonial troops from India and the French attacked Turkey on the beaches of Anzac cove. The next few months saw the cream of the nations young men die in a futile attempt to take possession of a strip of land they would eventually leave a few months later, after the deaths of thousands of men from both sides. Almost 500,00 men from both sides lost their lives in a campaign which ended some 9 months later and resulted in a win for the Ottoman Empire. It changed our nation. Australians entered the war having implicit faith in the dominance of the English Empire. We came out the other side a nation forged in war and have never forgotten the lessons since.

Anzac day is a traditional holiday here. Thousands march each year and even though the numbers of original Anzacs have dwindled to a few old men, their sons and grandsons march for them each year, maintaining their place in the parades. It is a touching sight.

And so onto the piece...

A map dominates the left side of the page...

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The piece is a reflection of a number of real men's lives combined into one. In researching the war records of the Anzac soldiers I came accross the military papers of Pte. Francis William Edwards. Pte. Edwards joined the 1st Australian Lighthorse in 1914 at the age of 22. After training young Francis shipped out with his comrades to Egypt then onto Gallipoli. He lost his life there in May of 1915.

I have collected copies of Pte Edwards war records and added some items that would have been typical of a soldiers belongings at the time. Photographs of some of the lighthorse regiment are included, (many thanks to the Australian War Memorial for their pictures which are reproduced under a commons licence), although I can find no pictures of Francis himself anywhere. I have included items to represent those listed in his personal belongings and which would fit into the piece, it is after all a book (which is beginning to bulge out now!).
Also included here a diary I have constructed which reproduces a few entries made by the original soldiers in their own diaries from the war in Gallipoli.

On the opposite page a dedication to those lost Anzac men.

The words are not my own but were reprinted from a newspaper of the times in approx 1917, I think! I can't name the paper it came from as I don't have those details, but I think the words spoken so eloquently then, are just as poignant today.

Under the flap another window which reveals the Ode.

The Ode is recited at every official Anzac memorial service held today.

Opposite the Ode is a fragment, a piece of a letter to represent the thousands sent from home to those boys at the front.

And under that a small piece of our flag.

The remains of a nations beliefs, shaken and reborn.

And a picture of an unknown Australian soldier from the period. This young man lost his life too.
(The picture is courtesy of the Australian War Memorial and is also available under a commons licence.)

A young man chosen to represent many other young men.

I could not resist this young boys eyes. He could be Francis.
At least he is here.

So now the book will be on it's way, winging across the world to Alicia.
I can't wait to see her contribution and those of the others as it travels around. Of course their input will be different again as I haven't constructed a story to this book but instead want it to reflect lots of different fragments of things. When it finally returns home to me, I have reserved a final section in the book to add something else of my own...

but you will have to wait for those remains a little while longer.
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Alicia's "The Museum of Forgotten Things" - Debrina's Contribution


The compartments and their tell-tale findings...

Well, if you know me well, you'll know I like to launch myself into any new project with speedy aplomb.  So, without further ado, let me introduce to you the start of the next instalment of Alicia's Pulp Redux book, The Museum of Forgotten Things

I've picked up where Alicia left off.  Hester, our main character, has shut herself away in her house after murdering her husband (this part of the story is Alicia's invention and is told so well by Alicia using various invented documents in her book - you'll see these in due time as you each get a turn at the book).  Thus, Hester's house, like her mind, has become something of a museum and a prison...there are things in it she'd rather forget but can't.  However, although Hester has become a recluse, this does not prevent her from taking many a secret lover!  So, although a part of Hester's life is lost forever (Paradise Lost) she has gained a new one - albeit tainted with grief and guilt but also coloured with secrets and passions.

Now a bit about what I've been up to.  Well, as you can see in the picture immediately above, I have made good use of an old Cigar box that I purloined from the Sanson market for only two bucks (!) this weekend.  Perfect!  It fits the format and size of Alicia's book perfectly.  I love the fact that it's Jamaican and that one of my favourite stories in the whole wide world is Jean Rhy's Wide Sargasso Sea.  Hester reminds me of the mad woman in the attic (Rhys' story is a spin on Jane Eyre - from the point of view of the first wife).  In Jane Eyre, the mad woman in the attic tries to burn down the house. In Alicia's story, Hester uses fire as a means of dispatch.  Of course, I'll say no more here, lest I give the whole story away!

The front of my page looks like this - I've used crackle paint (Ranger's Black Soot - thanks Alicia for sending me a bottle!) and a range of metallic paints.  Heavy duty watercolour paper was used to get a really awesome thick texture that I then took to with my red colouring pencil.  The result is pretty specky if I say so myself.  A secret hides under the door and the black void of the front cover will contain an illustration.

The book opens from right to left to reveal a hidden compartment.  The lid of my cigar box (the right flap) still needs work and I plan on putting a vignette on it. To the left is the lid of the compartment.  Let's open it up, shall we...

Crap photo this one, but it gives you an idea.  Little compartments will be carved out of the book I have placed in the compartment.  The book, as mentioned earlier, is Paradise Lost, though I'm still deciding about that.  I may yet just make a series of frames for the compartments.  Anyone got any tips on how to carve nice little boxes out of the book?

I'm really proud of this paper lining the box! I hand dyed it myself and I love the way it has come out all marbled like that.  This is the secret compartment area.  Like I said, I'm still undecided about how I'm going to frame the forgotten artifacts I have.  Nor have I gotten any closer to a solution as to how I'm going to allow book binding to happen, since the box opens right to left instead of left to right.  Give me time, I might do the whole book within a drawer thing yet.  Lisa S - that video you sent us needs to be up here.  I love the whole idea of a book within a drawer within a box thing!

Alicia's book arrives!  I open the box to find...

Now, just a quick little post about the receipt of Alicia's book in the post.  Here are the photos I took.  Hopefully I haven't conveyed some of the trembling excitement I experienced when opening the box.  If the shots are fuzzy or shaky looking, at least you know why! Lol!

I feel like Howard Carter as he opens Tutankhamun's Tomb!

What is this???

A book is revealed!

Is there a story contained within?

Ooooh, a couple of diary entries and an obituary. Hmmm....

More exciting reading...

The blank contents of my part of this wonderous book.  (Go to first picture of this posting to see what I've done so far...)