Monday, January 19, 2009

Meddling with Making*

I promised to blog about something in particular, didn't I? Well, I've forgotten what it was, and I'm not going to go check right now! So I bring you this other post instead.

(Thanks to all the suggestions for my reading list, by the way. I have a lot of work to do now. Apparently this is a good thing.)

Anyway, now that the manuscript is back at the publisher's, and I'm only teaching 3 classes, and the semester isn't far enough along for me to be overwhelmed, I find myself with slightly more free time than I'm accustomed to having. I also find myself in need of something other than academic work to do--I have forbidden myself from starting on my conference papers or going back to l'article until February. On Saturday, therefore, I gave myself an Art Day. Actually, it was more like an Art Five Hours, since I ran out of steam at around 2:30, but it was truly refreshing and generally awesome.

Some context: I was an Art Girl back in high school; my senior year I even got to take two back-to-back studio classes. I was also, unsurprisingly, the Literature Girl: I ran the lit mag and sort of started up an alternative underground counter-lit mag (which we couldn't afford to print--why I was writing an anonymous counter-mag to the mag that I ran is unclear to me now; I'd have to revisit my diaries). And my two interests came together quite splendidly when, sometime in my sophomore year of HS, I discovered book arts. I gave up papermaking when I was 17 (too messy and I sucked at it), but bookbinding has remained my art form of choice ever since, with collage a strong competitor.

Since moving to Field a year and a half ago, however, I had completed zero (0) art projects. Last year my art supplies were all impounded in the storage unit back in MomTown, and this year? No excuse, really. So on Saturday I decided to warm up with a couple of collages:

[CAVEAT: I do not pretend to be a visual artist at all; I'm not even sure that I like these. They're just here because, well, this is a blog, after all, and what would a blog be without pointless self-indulgence? ]

The second one is a reflection on the soil quality of Field State.

Here's what I'm really happy with, though. I wanted to make a book, but I didn't want to take all day--so, using a couple of ideas from an instructional book, some interesting scrap paper, and a gorgeous bit of leather from a journal I made a few years ago, I invented and produced the following (it's a little more than 3" square):

The leather wraps around and closes with a pendant from a necklace that I wore a lot and loved in--coincidentally--high school.

The binding, which hasn't reproduced very well, is a coptic stitch.

Making stuff is good for me: I get totally absorbed in it in a way that nothing else (except maybe correcting formatting issues in a massive document) absorbs me (needless to say, the formatting absorption is less pleasant), and, because I am not a visual artist, the pressure that accompanies any form of writing--including creative writing--is lacking. It was, therefore, a nice day. I should do this kind of thing more often.

For your enjoyment, I also include a picture of the sweater that I knitted this fall (pattern available for purchase here):

*3 extra credit points to everyone who gets the allusion in the title. Hint: It's a Middle English text that you may have studiously avoided throughout grad school and beyond.


squadratomagico said...

I am *thoroughly* impressed. The book is really cool! And the sweater looks great ~ Wow!

Sisyphus said...


I have seen the sweater, of course, but am still impressed. (maybe I should mail you my Old Dead Beloved Sweater and make a request for a copy! heh!) But the book is new and truly cool lookin'!

Me, I shopped online and wrote half a statement for one part of a postdoc app this weekend. And watched Milk. Not quite as exciting.

ortho said...

Cool projects! You really are an inspiration!

the rebel lettriste said...

Can I get the gold star for naming the poetry of your title? It's Langland's Piers Plowman, and as I recall, that phrase appears only in the B-text. (My 2nd diss. chapter's on Piers...)

heu mihi said...

Thank you, rebel lettriste! Yes, B-text, Passus 12, line 16 ("thow medlest thee with makyng"), and Ymaginatif is the speaker, for those of you playing along at home.

And thanks for the nice remarks, Ortho, Sq, and Sis!