by Ellie Weber
Jody Alexander uses discarded books, papers, and fabrics to make contemporary and traditionally bound books, altered books, scrolls, and wall pieces. Her installations include a variety of these works combined as collections in mostly domestic environments.
Her books often inspire her scrolls and wall hangings. She explains this connection by stating in the Creativebug Trailer, that in every piece she makes “there’s always a book at the center, it’s kind of the heart and soul.” As a librarian and teacher, she understands the lifespan of paper objects. Rather than discard, she alters the material, continuing the life and story of the object or person.
Her nostalgic installations are curated collections within an environment reminiscent of them. She collects photos and objects in an attempt to give them new life. The tediousness in often stitching together found photos and stories presents a sentimentality or sense of homage to these strangers. She enjoys the mystery in trying to piece together the unknown lives within these found objects, and imagines their past world. At times, she narrates her fictional version through the work.
Portrait with Phinnea's World
Outdated and familiar associations with the objects allow room for the viewer to invent part of the story. Alexander wants to encourage a collaborative story. In the Trailer she talks about only giving so much information so the viewer can “bring experiences they’ve had so far in life and fill in the blanks.”
The Odd Volumes of Ruby B. give a background story dated Wednesday, July 11, 1979. It says she spent most of her life living in a residency hotel. On her walks to and from work as a secretary, she would collect treasures. Ruby left her family to live a life of near solitude and wrote volumes on the densities of life. This installation tells the mysterious stories of Ruby B. among her one bedroom apartment.
Odd Volumes of Ruby B.
Alexander's methods of constructing and deconstructing create a sense of tenderness and humor. Although overwhelming at times, there seems to remain a quietness or implied exploration.
She uses form and display to build repetition and collections. She thinks about structure as a container of information, communication, and stories.
Both Keep-Modern Library and Bibliomuse are series created using discarded or withdrawn library books. Keep was a discarded library stamp, but the series also includes mostly reclaimed antique linen and Japanese textiles. The pieces are reminiscent of quilts or tapestries, a patchwork of parts. These two series are exploring the ways in which we hold onto things and emotions, while questioning when to keep and when to release.
Genetics, Paleontology, and Evolution, No. 1 from Bibliomuse series
Alexander lives and works in Santa Cruz, California. Her blog Wishi Washi Studio showcases new work, exhibitions, and workshops in person and online.
The Odd Volumes of Ruby B.
Jody Alexander Trailer on Creativebug: https://vimeo.com/43226012
I just really want to talk about Michaël Borremans. I absolutely love the work he produces and he is such an inspiration for my own work. He is a Belgian painter born in 1963 and his pieces possess such disturbing and visceral content while being the most mundane. He used to be a photographer (and went to school for it) but ended up teaching himself to paint. Probably because he used to be so involved with photography, his paintings are created by meshing and manipulating images from old photos into paintings that he makes his own.
He’s still very active and continues to make amazing work, but he never seems to come off as pretentious even with his success and talent. He often claims that he may work in the studio for hours and he does not produce anything of worth. He is humbled. He is able to create his own personal world that seems as if it is such a realized, large world. Borremans seems to pride himself on is ability to avoid labeling with the figurative painting world. He does not paint portraits, but characters and these characters are what define him.For instance, the image below is a perfect example of how his images are so easily able to grab a viewer’s attention. Simply stating the obvious: this painting is weird. It doesn’t make sense, but there is not enough information for one to explain why it doesn’t. It is titled The Angel, but the image does not allude to average connotations of what an expected angel would look like. A blackened face, somber stature, and unknown environment, create a work that is inhabited.
Borremans has also made it clear that he is rather ashamed of his subject. In an art world that celebrates figurative painters, he finds himself uncomfortable with the title. This may be because of his hatred of most figurative painters with their trite subject matter and personal technique that tries creating an impossible—and rather ridiculous—illusion. Borremans does not care for maintaining such an egoist form of representation within the painting world. He often chooses to reveal the canvas and paint in a way to elicit emotions, not try and paint something just to look nice in a collector’s house.
Again, I can’t help but admire the subtle nuances of his work that truly invoke such complex feelings. This piece, The Devil’s Dress II, is haunting. Even with its modest subject and simple composition, it manages create a series of thoughts: why is she there? What is she wearing? Why is she wearing that? Why is she on the ground? Is she okay? I feel that the numerous questions with no explanation is the real power in Borremans work and why it makes him such an enigmatic painter.
I truly feel that his work is made in such a way that he doesn’t need to do much else. He can just make the work he wants and enjoy hating when others call him a “figurative painter”.
P.S. I have no idea why the fonts are different?? I tried everything I could think of? Was it because I copied and pasted it from a word doc?
Movable type printing is one of the four great inventions in China and symbolizes the great technological revolution in printing history. In the Song dynasty, Bi Sheng invented the clay movable type, which marks the birth of movable type printing. Almost 250 years old later, Wang Zhen successful created wooded type and revolving table typecase.
According to the historical records, Bi Sheng was a craftsman for woodblock printing in North Song Dynasty. Since his longtime working experience, he found that the drawback of the woodblock printing is that it requires to re-engraved every time for each book. It not only wastes a lot of time but also increase the cost. But if change it to the movable type, it only needs to crave one movable type once and use repeatedly. By this revelation, Bi Sheng invented the clay movable type.
Bi Sheng tested wooden type printing. Due to the uneven density of wood texture, difficulty engraving, easily deformed after wetting water and easily stick with agent layer and other reason. He failed. After repeated experiments, clay was chosen as main material to make same specification cube. And each cube only was engraved each inverted word on one side surface and only one coin thickness. Then using the hard fire roasted. In order to meet the needs for the type words, some high-frequency use words usually are prepared with dozens just in case it will appear multiple times in the same article. But for those rarely use words, if not prepare in advance, the craftsman can make a new one and use it immediately. Priority to typesetting, it needs an iron board full of the grid as the base, then applies the layer with the turpentine, wax and paper dust at the top. When printing, putting the iron frame on the iron plate, and arrange the font closely. Each plate will be a single plate and then hold it close to the fire. When rosin and other objects begin to melt, taking a tablet to flatten its surface and waiting for agent cooled and solidified. As a result, the pattern on the board is flat as a whetstone.
This invention is especially quickly when printing dozens or even thousands of books. Usually, the craftsman will prepare two iron plate. Two iron plates are alternating use: one is being printed and the other is already typeset. The printing method is also easy. As long as brush the ink and covered with paper and add a certain amount of pressure. The printing is finished. After finishing printing roasted the agent layer and gently shaking the hand, the movable type can easily fall from the iron plate, and then put back to the wooded grid storage for restoring and ready for next reuse.
After Bi Sheng died, movable type printing has been popularized in the whole country. After 250 years later, Wang Zhen invented wooden movable type printing. Wang Zhen is a great inventor in Yuan dynasty. The wooden movable type printing is a technical improvement which is based on Bi Sheng’s clay movable printing. In order to publish his book Nong Shu earlier, Wang Zhen improved Bi Sheng’s invention and successfully invent the wooden type printing technology. Also, he invented the revolving table typecase for craftsman easily to pick words instead of keeping walking around. It can be a summarize in seven steps: write the rhyme and engrave the words, hollow up the words and changing the mistake, make revolving table typecase, check words, typeset, brush ink and print and classification.
In the 1980s, archaeologists found Buddhist scriptures and amanuensis in wooden movable type printing in Xixia period in Gansu province. It indicates that 100 years after published movable type printing, this technique has spread to the remote minority area. At the end of the 14th century, movable type printing was transmitted to Korea, as well as to Japan and Southeast Asian countries, and then to the Middle East and Europe through the Silk Road. And it was four hundred years earlier when German Johannes Gutenberg uses mental type to print Bible in the mid-15th century.
There is a short video about movable type printing below.
“CCTV.com.” Unofficial position Bi Sheng, 30 May 2015, tv.cntv.cn/video/C39295/de6accb535404282a48e12d395e3f255.
Shen, Kuo. Meng xi bi tan: Publisher not identified.
“WangZhen.” Wang Zhen-Research- China Printing Museum, www.printingmuseum.cn/Wap/Collection/Details/7ce616dc-97d4-42c8-b5c3-9b0e4d78af32.
“Wooden movable type printing.” China Printing Museum, China Printing Museum, www.printingmuseum.cn/News/Details/db94375f-8c35-4a58-a3e5-6bc90266ff28#comehere.