self portrait as a wicked book

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, artist book, artistic inspirations, handmade books, handmade papers, public art

Several of my artist books are in a permanent collection at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and will be in a new exhibit, in March 2018, titled “Artist’s Books – Chapter 13 – Lyricism And Laughter”!

Here are a few photos of one of my books in the exhibit. It’s titled “Self Portrait As A Wicked Book”. I made it with handmade paper, hand-marbled paper, ink… and two original limerick poems.

The poems, on each side, are:

There was a young lady in Linen

who really loved laughter and sinnin’

She made wicked books that if given a look

you’d see that they’re often quite winnin’

——————

The lady in Linen was known,

for the books she is said to have sewn.

But when very hard pressed she began to protest

“Oh come now it’s quite over blown!”

 

When I exhibit my artist books I’m asked to write statements about them

Here, below, is what I wrote about “Self-portrait…”

Artist statement about the work:  By personifying herself as an open book – (or more precisely, as the linen thread binding the books within this book) –  with original limericks and pop-up book elements the artist pokes fun at self-styled “moral” groups who personify inanimate objects; books, movies and other art objects by describing them as “immoral”, “wicked” or “sinful”.  By writing “clean” limericks the artist is poking fun at the idea that a poetic form like a limerick could be defined as a “naughty” art.  An object or art form is just that, an object or technique – what people do with it may have a good, bad or neutral effect. But even the effect depends on the viewer’s perspective.  Thus “Self Portrait as a Wicked Book” is enclosed in a hand-marbled envelope – implying that the contents could be hidden from view, that the viewer has a choice to view it or not. The book is intended to be displayed accordion style so that the viewer can see it from different angles of their own choosing.  The textual reference within the limerick to “overblown” refers to the ways self-styled “moral” groups would ascribe moral qualities to the entire personhood of an author as a result of one written object the author had created.  The content also refers – both textually and by using colorful marbling and pop-ups – to the ways that censorship (or a “wicked” designation) actually increases interest in the object banned.

Artist’s back story for this book: A religious segment of the Oklahoma population has a penchant for banning books and a history of doing so.  To name two dramatic examples;  In 1997 the book “The Tin Drum” by Gunter Grass  and the movie by the same name was banned by Oklahoma City in such a way that the banning received national attention; Oklahoma City police went to the houses of adults, over the age of 21, who had rented the movie and seized it.  In 2005, the year I made “Self Portrait As A Wicked Book”, the Oklahoma House of Representatives banned all books – for children and adults – that had references to gay characters or gay people.  Around that time period I remember noticing that (in Oklahoma) the commercial bookstores “gay book sections” got smaller and were hidden the back corner of the store.  Books that questioned religion, or discussed censorship in anything but a positive light were also few and far between.  There was a general perception – as evidenced by what was offered on library or bookstore shelves and what wasn’t, what books were reviewed in the Oklahoma media and what ones weren’t – that there were “good” books and there were bad, sinful, “wicked” ones – and this one group of self-styled “moral” people would tell you which books were which and few people in Oklahoma dared (or even thought) to question that group.

Sue draws dogs

A Creative Life, animals in art, art gallery, art techniques, Sue Draws Dogs

I’ve kept sketchbooks for many years – and I have drawn dogs a lot. I sketch and draw in ink almost every day. Some time ago my wife Judy saw some of my dog drawings in my bound sketchbook and said “I really wish you’d do these on good paper.”  The phrase ‘good paper’ in our house means handmade paper.

So I did.

After a while I had a lot of drawings-on-good-paper. Then Judy said “I wish you’d show these to Amy.” Amy is the gallery owner of Caplan Art Designs.

So I did.

And now Amy has been selling my dog drawings almost as fast as I can make them! I love being this busy!  To make my drawings I use fountain pens and brush-and-ink. Occasionally I’ll use a very sharp pointed pen-nib and the ink – for very fine lines. I use that when a dog has lots of whiskers.

Then Judy said “I wish you’d post some of these regularly on your blog.”

So I am….starting now.

pickles72

Pickles by Sue Clancy (ink on handmade paper)

Sue’s art speech text

A Creative Life, animals in art, Art Apparel, art commissions, art exhibit, art gallery, collage, fine art, psychogeography, visual story, words and pictures

On Oct 1st I gave a short talk during my fine art opening at the Daily In The Pearl arranged by Caplan Art Designs.  Since I’d recently written a blog post titled “on writing and giving speeches” I thought it only fair to share with you the text of my speech along with photos. This is a rough approximation of what I said as I can’t re-create the ad-libs and audience participation – it was a fun lively evening! Anyway here goes:

Speech given Oct 1st 2016 by Sue Clancy

Thank you for coming!

I create mixed media handmade paper collage.  I start off with white handmade paper and I give that paper color and pattern using a variety of art techniques; I dye the paper, I stencil it, I print on it, I marble it and use a variety of other methods. This is the “mixed media” aspect of my work.

Here are a few scraps of papers I’ve done so you can handle them, along with a postcard containing photos of me in action.

papersamples72

Paper samples Sue Clancy handed out during her speech; the paper on the far left is an example of the white paper she starts out with – the other 3 are examples of color/pattern she’s given the white paper

vidacardmestenciling72

Postcard Sue made, and handed out during her speech, that shows photos of her giving paper color and pattern.

Once the papers are dry I take an X-acto knife and cut shapes out of them. Then I take the cut-paper-shapes and glue them together to make my art images. There are layers of paper glued on top of other papers. Yes, tweezers are involved.

In “The Read Hat” I cut the chihuahua’s head, 4 paws and tail out of a medium brown paper – then other smaller shapes of darker/lighter brown papers were cut to make his face. The clothes the dog wears was cut out of a green dotted paper, the books out of yellow papers – and so forth – until the image was finished.

That’s my construction method.

TheReadHat72

“The Read Hat” By Sue Clancy 14 x 11 x 2 inches Hand dyed paper, handmade paper, hand stenciled paper, found paper and acrylic on cradled board

My ideas and the pattern designs within them come from my life. Take “The Read Hat” as an example again; 5 different life experiences went into this concept.

  • I saw some wet, weathered flyers stapled on some telephone poles during a walk on Hawthorne Street in Portland Or. the pattern of letters overlaying each other transparently made me think about the clarity and legibility of information. (This inspired the background of this artwork.)
  • I met a Chihuahua who has the habit of collecting most things found at floor level onto his dog bed. Yet he still showed a preference for some things over others.  So I began thinking about how I have to select which information in the world to spend time trying to understand since it is impossible to “collect all” the available information.(This inspired my choice of a Chihuahua character)
  • On a trip to the Oregon Coast I drove through Oregon wine country. The hills rise and fall so in several places I had an almost aerial view of the Oregon vineyards. (That inspired the green dotted pattern the Chihuahua is wearing.)
  • The “aerial view” of an Oregon vineyard reminded me of my favorite self-indulgence; I like to put on my pj’s early of an evening, have a glass of wine and read a book for an hour or so before bed. (This is why the character is wearing pj’s and not some other sort of outfit)
  • When I indulge myself this way I often take off my hearing-aids so as to completely relax and focus on what I’m reading. My deafness made me think of how important language is as a framework for understanding the world. Language is a container, a hat, that holds knowledge.

This is generally how I work: pattern designs become symbols in a visual story. When I do special commissions I use this visual story method too – only instead of my life experiences inspiring the pattern designs and story symbols it’s your life experiences that do that.

The titles I give my artworks, the “blurbs” and statements I write about them – or about my  exhibits – are clues to my personal thoughts.  But my use of pattern design symbolically and my use of the Animals in Art genre (it’s a classic genre of fine art like ‘still life’ or ‘landscape painting’) takes my work beyond the personal and into the mythological story or fable.

So this summer when a San Francisco company contacted me about licensing my designs for use as scarves, bags and other apparel I saw a chance to extend my ‘pattern designs as symbols’ concept into the real world. You can see my full apparel collection here: http://www.shopvida.com/collections/sue-clancy

Using the same pattern design in multiple symbolic ways – in different fine artworks, in art apparel and in artist books – is my way of thinking about aspects of nature, culture and other things in contemporary life. Thank you!

Here’s a photo of me giving the above speech.

14485101_10154440732708213_242047587380205460_n-1

Sue Clancy giving a short speech about her artwork

 

seeing stars

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artistic inspirations, fine art

I’ve been busy working on the last fine art piece I’ll be able to finish in time for my October 2016 exhibit at Caplan Art Designs (see the events page at www.caplanartdesigns.com). Recently I was taking out the trash and it seemed the stars were larger than usual. That inspired a pattern design – Youtube video of me making a star pattern paper is here: https://youtu.be/cAx88mwARqo

Now I’ve glued the paper that I made in the video as the background within my artwork-in-progress and in this photo I’m gluing on more paper ….

scgluingstaronconstellation72

Sue Clancy working on a new fine art piece (handmade paper collage) that uses the star stencil paper made in this video: https://youtu.be/cAx88mwARqo

 

artist book rabbit

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, books, handmade books, handmade papers, illustration, poetry, words and pictures

Practicing my video techniques again in prep for filming my pop-up book “A Fish Story” (see more about that elsewhere on my blog)… this time I’m practicing video with a rabbit. Even had to “trim” my original video. But don’t worry, no actual bunnies were harmed in the production of this artist book or the film of it.

garden of ideas

A Creative Life

Look what I found in the garden! Paper pattern ideas! I’m thinking dots…  blue dots and white dots… for upcoming handmade paper adventures, I mean patterns, to be used in my fine art!

BlueOnGreenPattern WhiteOnGreenpattern

paper pattern plotting

A Creative Life, fine art, visual story

I went to the grocery store the other day and look what I found: Paper pattern ideas!

fruit found at the grocery store that inspired Sue Clancy's new handmade paper pattern ideas

fruit found at the grocery store that inspired Sue Clancy’s new handmade paper pattern ideas

Then I designed and cut stencils so I could make a pattern on my freshly dyed handmade paper (in prep for some new fine art).

Sue Clancy's work table full of tools for cutting stencils and the stencils she cut. Oh, and her cup of coffee.

Sue Clancy’s work table full of tools for cutting stencils and the stencils she cut. Oh, and her cup of coffee.

And here I am using the stencils to make the patterns. If it looks like I’m having fun it’s because I am! And yes, a sharp eyed reader will eventually spot these papers in some new fine art of mine one of these days.

Sue Clancy in the process of stenciling patterns on handmade hand dyed papers

Sue Clancy in the process of stenciling patterns on handmade hand dyed papers

 

towards new artwork

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, fine art

003Here I’m adding a stenciled pattern to some hand dyed, handmade paper destined to be a part of some new fine art for upcoming art exhibits that Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com has me scheduled for in June and July and October of this year!  I love having lots of art projects!

More handmade books for Art O Mat

handmade books

Since I make handmade papers that I cut up into shapes and use to make my fine art collages it means I’ve got lots of very-special paper scraps about.  I don’t want to just throw them away – so I make book covers out of the “special scrap bits” and Judy sews them into little books.  Then, under the banner “This Artist Studio” we ship batches of books to Art-O-Mat in North Carolina.  The folks at Art-O-Mat put our books in old cigarette vending machines in various locations, people walk up, put in their change/tokens, pull a lever and ker-plunk! Out pops a one-of-a-kind hand sewn book (or etc.).  Well, today we got a note from the head honcho’s at Art-O-Mat saying that their vendors have been specifically requesting our little books…. We’re going to have to really get busy and make scads more!!! Wahoo!!!

hand sewn books with handmade paper covers being put into a box for "vending" via ArtoMat.

hand sewn books with handmade paper covers being put into a box for “vending” via ArtoMat.