Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New from the studio! I Ching #64 ("Unfinished")

Over the weekend I put the finishing touches on the first 5 copies of a new edition.  Combine that with the tricks we recently learned in a workshop about photographing your work, and I have some photos to share!

If this guy looks familiar, that's because it has been in progress for a while and we've popped some photos of it into the last couple of posts.  It's the first in what will be a series of small accordion books inspired by entries in the Chinese wisdom book, the I Ching.

This one is based on the 64th and final entry in the I Ching, which is usually interpreted as "Unfinished," or "Not yet completed."  I created the original copy as a sumi-e ink painting.  The edition shown here is produced digitally from a scan of the original, inkjet-printed on an Epson R2200 photo printer.  I couldn't be more pleased with the printed results--in fact, in some ways I prefer the printed version over the painted one because the contrast of the blacks and greys is more pronounced.

Since the theme of this one is "Not yet completed," I guess it's appropriate that when I finished the printing and binding of the first 5 copies, I was unsatisfied.  The plain sumi-e look wasn't quite right for it.  I started to do some more reading about the symbolism of entry #64.  As soon as I re-read that it was composed of the two symbols for Fire over Water, the light bulb turned on.  There was already water in the sumi-e ink for the painting.  It was time to burn.

Like with my last book, stitching speechless, I decided to invite chance and fire into the studio.  With a combination of incense stick and matches--lots and lots of matches--I added smoke and burning effects to the paper.  The effects are surprisingly different from the burning we did on stitching speechless.  The paper we used for that project was a mulberry paper that burned very easily.  It was all I could do to make some marks on the page without completely destroying it.  In contrast, the paper for this book--a digital inkjet paper called Moab--reacted very slowly to fire or heat.  The result is smaller, subtler burn marks, as well as some smoke effects whose fluid-like look I love.


For now I'm considering this an open, unlimited edition since I am printing it digitally and producing it all myself.  It's available for sale directly (contact me through the Blue Bluer Books website), or will soon be on the road with Vamp and Tramp Booksellers.

And keep an eye out for new books in the series soon!

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