Sunday, June 30, 2013

More notes and reflections from last Sunday's meeting.

Here's a bit more from last week's meeting:

People attending were Emily Hoisington, Betsy Byers, Erin Maurelli, Hend Al-Mansour, Sonja Olson, Olga Ricalde, and Angela Hed.

We talked a bit about technical details, starting with paper: Erin is considering using a French paper and could organize a bulk order if anyone else wants to, please contact her. We discussed how the book will be more varied than unified, because different print processes will required different papers, and some people might be making their own paper, so we will not be all using the same paper. The important thing is that everyone keeps in mind the flexibility required by a stab-binding when selecting paper and paper grain.

We talked about bleed prints vs. prints with borders. Several people thought that bleed prints (going off the edge and even continuing under the gutter where the book will be bound) would work best with the idea of progressing from dark to light to dark. I agreed that would be nice but stated that I do not want to require any limitations beyond those that were in the original invitation, because some people have already begun work on their plates and at least one person has already delivered completed prints to me (Thanks Pat Benincasa!) So, the conclusion is that you may make a print with borders or not, but if you haven't committed yet and think that it's a good idea, you might want to consider running it off the edges.

We talked about wanting to have uniform signing guidelines. I should make an example of that quickly, as some people finish their prints! We thought that signing prints on the back would be nice, and to make sure that signatures will not be hidden in the binding.

We talked about the kind of collaboration that this is. Some people were interested in coordinating colors with others in the book, while others wanted to work independently and be surprised by what others made. I set the project up so that people could work as independently as they like, but everyone knows who is doing what page in the book and has each other's email addresses, so if you'd like to talk to those whose print comes before or after yours, you are welcome to do that!

Erin wanted to remind everyone about MCBA's open studios on Tuesdays from 6-9pm as a place to work or get advice, and that she will be around and happy to help people until her baby comes sometime in July.

Olga wanted to remind people of the research and inspiration available in MCBA's library, and she is there on Wednesday afternoons.

Several people were interested in meeting again before the deadline for working proofs. If you weren't able to come to the first meeting due to time/date/location and would really like to come to another one, please email me with your preferences and I'll see what I can do. I can't guarantee anything when coordinating a group this large, but I do want this to be a chance to build community and continue conversations. Please keep posting on this blog as a way to continue the conversation! Use the questions I posted before as a starting point if you like.

Hend sent me her thoughts in response to some of the questions:

Question 1
I have been collaborating with other artists lately. I have 2 other projects. It is not easy to collaborate but it makes the work richer and of a larger context. It opens me up to different things artistically and personally. I feel this would help to integrate myself within the Minnesota fabric by bringing me into intimate contact with other women artists.

Question 4
I hope to expand my printing techniques. My theme will not shift much. But the size of my print will be smaller. I had a dream of making a book one day, this might be a sage way to that.

Question 5
“The Full Moon” is a song from early Islamic community in Medina, the second holy city in Islam, it was sung by young women and girls of that city to welcome the Immigrating Prophet Muhammed from Mecca. The event is the start of the Islamic lunar calendar. The image I will make will be of a group of women singing with the background of Full Moon. It will also include an Arabic text of the lyrics and Arabic months.

Question 6
Because I love circles I will make a large white circle with silhouettes of figures, trees, houses and animals. One side of the print will contain the receiving city and people, the other Muhammed and his camel.

Question 8
Contrary to other cultures, the Arabic for moon is masculine while the sun is feminine. The words moon and the “full moon” in particular are used to describe beautiful people.

Question 9 My two hopes are to improve on my technique and to belong to a new community. 

I also have some written notes from Erin from the meeting (we did a few minutes of quiet writing before discussing) and I'll paraphrase them here:

4: Art work relates to current work: The body, particularly the feminine body, changes and evolves through time. Functions as a machine--autopilot as far as menses, menopause, pregnancy, etc. What happens when that machine malfunctions?

5. What are you researching for this project? Re-exploring kitchen witchery. Folklore and the mystical, connection to season, earth, cycle. Trying to integrate that with the more mechanical/medical imagery in my past works. 

7. Thoughts or concerns about making something to be understood in context: Concern that each of us iwll have a literal image of the moon on each page. My thoughts revolve around the New Moon as a beneficial time to start a project, adventure, or endeavor. But in a body/mechanical way. How do I approach mechanics in the new moon? Why does this folklorish concept resonate with me?

Ok, now you've all heard some from me, Hend, and Erin. Please post your thoughts here!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What does it mean to you to be collaborating with this group of women?

We had a good meeting on Sunday. Seven people came, a good representative of the variety in the group. I asked each person at the meeting to share their notes or reflections from the meeting on this blog. I hope those of you who didn't come to the meeting but who are interested in sharing your thoughts about being part of this project will also post to or comment on this blog so that the conversation can continue.

The question I'd like to write in response to is, What does it mean to you to be collaborating with this group of women? 

This group of women includes colleagues, friends, and acquaintances from several circles, people older and younger than me, those who are my teachers and mentors as well as students. I am approaching this project as a learning experience. As instigator/facilitator, my role is like being a teacher, and writing up the invitation felt a bit like writing an assignment. But I am hoping more and more to have my role be that of a student, to learn from the diverse perspectives that everyone brings to this project. It is also a chance to build community, and make artwork that draws its meaning from its context in that community.

Please post your thoughts and questions!

Monday, June 24, 2013

I was looking to see what I missed at the meeting on Sunday.  I will check again later on.  I am sorry I missed it, hope it was a productive meeting.  Let us all know!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Meeting at MCBA Sunday, June 23 from 2-4pm

Meeting: Several of you have expressed interest in discussing your ideas related to this project with other participants. I started this blog as a virtual way to do this, and now I've scheduled a time when anyone who is interested can meet in person. I'd like to invite you to meet at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts in the Bindery on Sunday, June 23 from 2-4pm. This should be good timing, as it is about a month before a digital image of a working proof is due. As a reminder, here are the important dates for this project:

July 26, 2013: Digital image of working proof, bio and artist statement due

October 25, 2013: Final prints and $50 fee due
January 10, 2014: Books mailed to participants and possible exhibition.

Agenda for the meeting: Please let me know if you have anything else you'd like to add to the agenda.
2:00pm Brief introductions and quick clarifications of technical details.
2:15 Discussing questions in groups of 2 or 3.
2:30 Sharing and discussing as a large group.
3-4pm Time to share sketches and get feedback or suggestions.

RSVP: If you are planning on coming, please email me to let me know. This will give me an idea of how many people to expect. If you are not interested or not able to come, no need to respond unless you want to send in your own thoughts to be shared at the meeting.

Questions to discuss: I'd like to prepare for this meeting by asking all of you to share a question or two with the group that you'd like to hear other participants' answers to. You may email me directly with these questions, or post them to our blog. If you'd like, you can also begin to answer and discuss these questions on the blog. Please share your questions by June 16, so I can send out a list of questions to everyone to consider before the meeting. If you have discovered in your research any really tantalizing articles, poems, images, or links that you want to share with the group in order to discuss at the meeting, please share them in our blog or send me those links or attachments by June 16 as well. Also, if you are unable to attend the meeting but would like to bounce your thoughts off of others in the group, you may send me (or post on the blog) your answer to a question or two that interests you.

Here are some of my questions that I'd love to hear some of your thoughts in response to, and I look forward to adding more questions from the group to this list:

  • What does it mean to you to be collaborating with this group of women?
  • What would you like to learn or receive from the others?
  • What would you like to share of yourself with the group?
  • How does this project relate to your other artwork and interests?
  • What topics are you researching in preparation for your print?
  • How are you interpreting the proportions of dark and light visually and conceptually?
  • What thoughts or concerns do you have about making something that will be understood in the context of 28 other prints that you haven't seen yet?
  • What is significant to you about what it means to be female and experience the rhythm of the lunar cycle?
  • What are your hopes and dreams for this project?
  • Who do you imagine to be the ideal audience for this project?