Books with Content
When we received our assignment about collections, the first thing I thought of was a box. Regardless of what people collect, they put their collection within some sort of secure structure to protect it. I found directions on how to make a box book, but not any with compartment in them. I quickly realized that this would be a completely self-taught project. I began asking people what the most interesting things were that they collected, and I got some very interesting responses in return. I then selected some of the more intriguing ones and asked people to send me pictures of their collections. From there I wrote a narrative to go in the bottom of the box so that it was centered within various compartments, then lined each compartment with photos of the things people collected. These collections include Santa Clauses, Gideon Bibles, breweriana from a specific brewery, shot glasses from travels, matchbooks, and silver related to English coronations. I intentionally left the final compartment blank with a specific line therein. The box measures 6.5"w x 9.5"h, and the text reads:
Little pieces of us -
fragments of people,
places and memories.
Vessels of knowledge,
memory and culture,
these are our own
that every else
that no one else would buy.
what tie us
to our past,
and guide us
What do you
For our final project, we were told to create a book using a book form our professor had not taught us. I ended up combining two different book forms to create my own, a double dos-a-dos with a double fold-out accordion. This culminated in a book containing three separate books within. The first book had text about decisions we make, interspersed with lyrics from Baz Luhrmann's spoken word song Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen), which itself was adapted from columnist Mary Schmich's essay Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young (aka Wear Sunscreen). The third book contained a narrative interspersed with Robert Frost's narrative poem The Road Not Taken. Both narratives, as well as the fold-out accordion, were centered around the idea that had I not taken my first job in high school, working in the kitchen of a nursing home, I would not be where I am today. The accordions contained a series of photographs from different stages of my life. The first accordion covered events that happened while the second accordion has events from the same periods, but increasingly faded as their likelihood of happening diminishes the father away they get from that initial job.
here by myself, away from the clank of the world
For as long as I can remember, I have always grounded myself in nature. Be it simply playing outside or escaping to somewhere desolate to clear my head, nature is at the core of my being. One of my favorite things to do is go somewhere alone and hike, resisting the temptation to take my headphones but instead listening to nature and to myself. I will either go somewhere new, photographing all of the unique things that I see, or I will go somewhere I have been to before just to ground myself in that familiarity.
As I began my senior year at Appalachian State, I started to think back on my journey as an artist and a non-traditional student, at all of the choices I made and how they have led me to where I am today. I also thought ahead to where my journey could lead and what I might uncover as I continued down this path of self-discovery. I walked these paths in the shadows of those who had come before me while carving out my own path at the same time. I absorbed the mistakes, successes, and lessons of those trailblazers – I digested the breadcrumbs they left behind – in order to create my own.
I chose to present “here by myself, away from the clank of the world” in book form because of the narrative aspect of the subject; I wanted the reader to physically turn each page as an act of engagement and discovery. By using photographs taken at Bass Lake in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, I invited the reader to join me on a visual excursion to discover this solitude and my self-exploration.
As the final project for Alt Processes at ECU, we had to choose a process we learned over the course of the semester and create a conceptual piece that was tied to the process. I had been experimenting with toned vandykes and had read about gold-toned vandykes, which I chose for my final project. To tone the images, they are placed in a bath of gold chloride, thiorea, and salt. The gold replaces the silver in the image, first turning it an eggplant color and then a pewter-like silver tone once humidity is added. Both stages of this are quite beautiful.
All of the images I chose to print were of abandoned cotton mills and tobacco factories located in Charlotte, NC, and Wilson, NC. The brown in the vandyke process tied to the tobacco factories, while printing on cotton rag paper alluded to the cotton mills. Additionally, I chose to make an accordion book with my prints, and instead of gluing the individual pages together I sewed them with cotton thread. Lastly, I chose a particularly fibrous paper for my covers, which gave the appearance of having bits of cotton and tobacco in them.