I’m following-up on my blog of 1st September – Adventuring – with an artistic adventure I’ve been having. I’m calling it Found Unbound.
Found Unbound is about an artist’s book. Found halted in the process of being unbound, or found in the process of being bound together – the viewer who chances upon the book cannot know which. It’s a mystery.
The first image here is of the front and back covers of this Found Unbound) and one page of content. The content is an eco print – one of several I made from plant matter from my garden, bound into bundles of silk pongee (silk chiffon) then steamed for an hour or so and unwrapped straight away (as opposed to my custom of leaving them to mature for a week or two).
It was a mistake to use silk pongee, which is too fine for printing or painting uses. I should have used silk habotai (8 or 10 – whatever these numbers mean). But my ignorance resulted in subtle yet distinct images that reminded me of fossil remains. Fossils are also mysteries – we might know a great deal of the species fossilised but little of the specific life of a particular fossil.
I found these images, which I also made. A paradox if ever I wrote one. And I love the paradox. Like the quantum particle which exists only when looked at, a paradox is an impossible truth (in the sense of a logical paradox – there are others). The logical paradox exists only in margins, the outermost edges of known existence (my observation).
The book covers are developments of the little butterfly book shaped plaster of paris and encaustic pages I made a while back (see right).
Paradoxically, the term butterfly book has nothing to do with butterflies. It is the so-named shape of a book of illustrations of furniture designs I came across in the V & A Museum (London) a few years ago. The shape has nothing to do with the shape of butterflies either; the book was landscape- rather than portrait-shaped, but longer and thinner than the norm.
Pondering my urge to twin the eco prints with these plaster and encaustic pages, two – paradoxical – concepts came to mind – the tabula rasa and the palimpsest.
Tabula rasa translates to blank slate. In philosophy, simplistically, it is about the idea that the individual is born as a blank slate on which life experience is writ. The Tabula Rasa philosophy goes back to Aristotle; then turns up again in John Locke, notably in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding.
Want more? Google it. 🙂
Of the palimpsest: “A palimpsest (/ˈpælɪmpsɛst/) is a manuscript page, either from a scroll or a book, from which the text has been scraped or washed off so that the page can be reused for another document.”
I like this Oxford Dictionary definition: Something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.
I can identify with the idea of human development as a continual erasing and starting over. My conviction was confirmed when I read: “The Ancient Romans wrote (literally scratched on letters) on wax-coated tablets, which were easily re-smoothed and reused; Cicero’s use of the term “palimpsest” confirms such a practice.”
For my butterfly book covers are indeed wax-coated tablets – of plaster of paris bandage, coated with alternating layers of oil colour and encaustic wax, the oil colour being laid down then wiped off to leave only a residue of the colour caught in indentations and cracks. They have been used and wiped clean.
I also like the idea of a continual erasing and starting over. It makes logical sense to aim for that as a lifestyle concept and practice, on a daily basis, even. Here’s a bit of confirmation from Corinthians 4:16 (which is also a paradox): Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Thought bubble: all religions, in their mystic traditions, are about renewal. Got some quotes for me?
Either way, my Found, Unbound pages laid out here, tiny as they are (the whole measures 30cms x 9cms) encompass vast beginnings and ends of things, from the clean slate/palimpsest state, to fossil state. And some fossils are millions of years old (sorry if I offend some Creationists in this statement. It can’t be helped).
I’m going to be doing a triptych of Found Unbounds from this particular eco print batch. This is in part because numerologically, all measurements are curiously boiling down to the number three. That’s another tale for another time. And I will continue to pursue the curious concept of incompleteness (and its paradoxes) in respect of The Artist’s Book.
It’s Friday. I hope you have a paradoxical but nice weekend.
Next up in my Recent Adventures series: Walking Weybourne.