Sunday, August 23, 2015

Farewell, Blogger

We've moved the Blue Bluer Books blog to our new website. I hope you'll follow us there.

You can also find Blue Bluer Books on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thank you for sharing your precious time & attention with us!

To entice you to come over to the new Blue Bluer Books blog, here's a glimpse of the current show we are part of-- Renaissance: A Book Arts Exhibition, featuring work by members of Triangle Book Arts, the Book & Print Arts Collective from Asheville, NC, and The Open Press from Chattanooga, TN. Exhibition on display until Sept. 6th, 2015.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sacred | Profane exhibition opening in Portland, Friday, 11/7

I Ching #3: 'Difficulty', showing now in the Sacred | Profane exhibition at 23 Sandy Gallery

The Sacred | Profane exhibition officially opens  at 23 Sandy Gallery on Friday evening. I Ching #3: 'Difficulty' is in the show, from my ongoing series of books inspired by the I Ching, as well as Ippy Patterson's Escape from Eden, for which I did the binding. I'm so pleased to be involved with the gallery for the first time, and especially proud after seeing the catalog of other work in the show.

Press release details are below, including a link to the full catalog of the show available for browsing and/or purchase. 


November 7 - December 20, 2014

SACRED | PROFANE is a juried exhibition of book art focusing on religion and spirituality. For this show we sought out works that take a stand or cross the line between the sacred and the profane, the dichotomy of often-polarizing points of view.

This exhibition features 57 books by 52 artists on topics such as: ritual and ceremony, creation and evolution, myth and memory, heaven and earth, superstition and scholarship, sacred and secular, rites and symbols, traditional and modern, occult and omnipresence, agnostic and atheistic, west and east.

As we all know, religion has a close relationship to books and texts. The Bible, the Quran, the Torah, Buddhist sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, the Dao Dejing, along with many others, are all books deeply religious. With this exhibition, book artists had a chance to explore their own relationships to and rejections of religion and spirituality through the creation of their own sacred and profane artist books.

This exhibit features book and paper arts related works including limited edition and one-of-a-kind artist books, sculptural books, altered books and broadsides by the following artists:  Islam Aly, Tania Baban, Alicia Bailey, Kate Barber, Anita Bigelow, Louise Cabeen, Clare Carpenter (with Ingrid Kincaid), M. Bernadette Castor, Gatis Cirulis, Robin Cushman, Carol DuBosch, Emily Dyer, Mari Eckstein Gower, Arini Esarey, Jerrol Eshleman, Walter Feldman, Cari Ferraro, Diane Fine (with Mario Laplante), Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord, Vicki Gerton, J. Mar Goman, Francine Goodfriend, Patricia Grass, Stewart Harvey, Josh Hockensmith, Shireen Holman, Arlyn Johnson, Jared Joseph, Paula Jull, Naomi Kasumi, Dorothy Krause, Carrie Larson, Julie Leonard, Mary Jeanne Linford, Rachel Livedalen, Susan Lowdermilk (with Denis Keough), Marvel Maring, Sarah McCoy, Erin Mickelson, Chandler O’Leary (with Jessica Spring), Ippy Patterson, Meryl Perloff, Francesca Phillips, Linda Piacentini-Yaple, Katya Reka, J. Anna Rich, Lynn Skordal, Bessie Smith Moulton, M. L. Van Nice, Elsi Vassdal Ellis, Candy Wooding, Philip Zimmermann.

SACRED | PROFANE was juried by Jim Carmin, who has directed the operations of the John Wilson Special Collections at Multnomah County Library since 1998. Prior to that he was an art librarian at the University of Oregon and sold books, rare and otherwise, at Powell's City of Books in Portland. He has a Bachelor's in studio art and Masters in Library Science from Ball State University, a Masters in Art History from the University of Oregon, and has attended Rare Books School at the University of Virginia with classes in bindings and typography. Related interests include reviewing contemporary fiction for The Oregonian and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune; letterpress printing and bookbinding; and curating exhibitions in literary and book arts. This summer he'll be teaching a course on Medieval manuscripts and early printed books at Portland State University.

A full online catalog for SACRED | PROFANE can be found at:

Exhibition Title: SACRED | PROFANE
Exhibition Dates: November 7 - December 20, 2014
Artists Reception: Friday, November 7, 2014, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Location: 23 Sandy Gallery, 623 NE 23rd Avenue, Portland, OR 97232

Ippy Patterson's Escape from Eden, also showing at 23 Sandy Gallery

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sin (a new found poem)

A couple of months ago, Chuck Cave -- a book artist who had recently relocated to the area -- asked if I'd like to collaborate on a book with him for an upcoming show in Lithuania that he had been invited to participate in. Even though we hadn't (still haven't) known each other long, it was pretty obvious that we share some fundamental aesthetic ideas and approaches. We both like to invite chance into our work, and humor.

The result is a book we're calling Verso. We'll have more to share about it soon, but in the meantime here's a part of it in progress. Each copy in the edition will come with a unique 'errata' sheet that we create by altering a folded map page from a large atlas.

Today I've been working on my contribution to the first errata sheet, which will accompany the copy of the book we send for the show.

This page is inspired equally by Tom Phillips's classic A Humument, by Austin Kleon's black-out poetry, and by another of my all-time favorite bookworks, La Prose du Transsiberien... by Sonia Delaunay and Blaise Cendrars.

Below is the poem as I read it. If you read the poem on the image above, you might put the words in a different order depending on how you map out their relationships on the altered page...


Sin is vast. deserts and high mountains, lightly
rim the province

Perhaps China is overworked.

Sin comprises one-sixth
lows have been recorded.
is 505 feet below

the annual
Sin is
melons, seedless,
renowned throughout China.
Sin is isolated by
sheer distance, for centuries a
major means of contact with the rest of the world.

provincial, devoid, bare,
drought, scrub,
desert, Dry,
dead.  Nevertheless,
life exists

oases, great fertility.

oases are populated by people.
they have built intricate systems
in which various


Northern Sin, comprised of
10 inches of
large numbers of


The base has
been enlarged
near Ur

there are tanneries,
A number of mines



A significant
the linkup


Monday, April 28, 2014

Return to Ippy Patterson's Eden

Title page spread from Ippy Patterson's
Escape from Eden
Some years ago now, a magical opportunity fell into my bookbinding lap. Poet/friend/general facilitator of magical opportunities Jeffery Beam and I had just worked together on a small handbound run of his book, Visions of Dame Kind. When Jeffery learned that his friend and neighbor Ippy Patterson was interested in creating a book out of her recent drawings, Escape from Eden, he put her in touch with me.

You can see from the photos why I was in, immediately. Ippy's rapidograph drawings are stunning, and the visual narrative is perfect for the accordion book format.

We made the first copies of the edition in 2005 (9 or 10 copies, I believe, out of a planned edition of 20), and then took a breather as they made their way into the world. I'm thrilled to be working on a fresh round of copies for some new shows and events that Ippy has coming up later in the year.

An interior page spread from Escape from Eden, by Ippy Patterson

As impressive as the drawings are from page to page, they're even more so when you spread the accordion to its full 10' length.

Escape from Eden, open, by Ippy Patterson

The opposite side of the accordion features a poem that resonates with Ippy's drawing: "Paradise," by Keith Waldrop.

In the first round of binding, we created copies with three different bindings: a beige/gold, a rusty brown, and a burgundy. For the next couple of copies we are sticking to one color: Canapetta's natural cotton/linen bookcloth.

As much as I enjoy making artists' books with my own content, this project is a reminder that sometimes the greater joy is creating a book whose primary purpose is to support and showcase someone else's work, while I slip into the background.

Final page spread from Escape from Eden, by Ippy Patterson.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Opening reception this Sunday afternoon, April 6th, 2:00-4:00

Looks like tomorrow's not going to be quite as beautiful a spring day as today was, but still a great afternoon to come out from hibernation to Pittsboro First Sunday. Lisa Gilbert and I will be at Liquidambar to celebrate the opening of our two-month, two-person show of artists' books and handmade blank books. 

Here's a little preview of a new book that I'll be showing there: I Ching #3: "Difficulty" 

(Please pardon the shadow stripes. This is the best I've been able to edit them out, and can't re-shoot the books because they're currently at the gallery. I'll re-shoot as soon as I have the next copy finished.)

This is the second book I've completed in the I Ching series. Like I Ching #64: "Unfinished," this one is also based on a sumi-e original that I then scanned and made archival inkjet prints of. The covers of each copy are decorated with unique burn and smoke marks, as well as some work done with a soldering iron. It will be an open edition.

Also debuting at the show will be the commercially printed edition of Doctor Mister Miracles's Guide to Miracle-Making: A Manual (Abridged).

Hope you can join us at the reception! If not, though, the show will be up until May 25th so there's plenty of time. You'll even have a chance to join us for another reception at the next First Sunday on the afternoon of May 4th. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Upcoming show in Pittsboro! Opening reception on Sunday, April 6th

I Ching #64: 'Unfinished'
After an unusually wintry winter here in North Carolina, today the air had a distinct smell of green to it. Not the green beer of St. Patrick's Day (although there may still be a whiff of that around), and not yet the visible yellow-green tinge of pine pollen in the air. Just the first, barely noticeable taste of Spring. And the much more noticeable increase in temperature to 70 degrees.

With Spring this year has come an exciting opportunity. My work and Lisa Gilbert's work will be featured in a wonderful little gallery in downtown Pittsboro called Liquidambar. Here are details:

  • Where: Liquidambar Gallery and Gifts, 80 Hillsboro St., Pittsboro, NC
  • When: The opening reception will be part of Pittsboro's First Sunday celebration on Sunday, April 6th, from 2-4 p.m. 
  • When else: The show will be up for a nice, long, two-month run from Sunday, April 6th through Sunday, May 25th.
  • When else else: There will be another reception on the First Sunday in May, too.  Sunday, May 4th, from 2-4 p.m.

I'll be showing a mix of work--old and new, artists' books and handmade blank books of different kinds. Depending on space constraints, the giant Book of Mister Miracles may make another appearance, along with his smaller cousin Doctor Mister Miracles's Guide to Miracle-Making: A Manual (Abridged).

2 copies from the 5-copy original edition of Doctor Mister Miracles's Guide
 to Miracle-Making: A Manual (Abridged)

I've also just had a larger edition of DMM'sGtM-M:AM(A) printed, which I'll be picking up from the printshop tomorrow. It consists of scans of my favorite version of each page from the original edition compiled into a new version and digitally printed. It's my first foray into publishing a larger edition (100 copies) that's neither print-on-demand nor an open-ended edition of handmade copies, and I'm excited to see how it goes.

There will be copies of Surf Book #3 at Liquidambar, too, as well as copies of I Ching #64: 'Unfinished.'

I Ching #64: 'Unfinished', open

There's other new work in the works, but it's not quite ready to be photographed yet. A scroll inspired by the flooding Haw River, painted using water from the river itself; and a new book in the I Ching series: I Ching #3: 'Difficulty.'  

I'll see if we can't post some photos of the newer work before the show opens, but if we don't, I hope you'll come out to Liquidambar and be surprised.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mr. Miracles begins...

When you haven't heard from me in a while, you can assume I've been busy in the studio...

The past couple of weekends have been big for the Mister Miracles giant book project! (Click here for a reminder of what the project's all about and to see what the empty giant book looks like...)  Last weekend Rio did a 24-hour-long drawing blitz to create panels for it, and this weekend I've been putting together the large panels for the front of the book.

Have to get back in the studio to continue working on it, but here are some teaser photos of the first panel, which will be the book's title page!