Archive for the ‘Artists books’ Category

It’s almost as if it weren’t work at all. In theory, I’m not working any more. But printmakers and other artists keep popping up. And they are unlike “normal” people. They’re special, more interesting. They have more and different aspirations. The Spanish word is better: “inquietudes.” The young woman who has been here for the past two weeks is a perfect example. She has just graduated from a high-class American university with a dual major in Visual Arts and Cultural Anthropology. But she had virtually no experience in printmaking. We had to start from zero.

That’s not complicated. You just start at the beginning—preparing a plate—and continue through the basics. With luck, in a couple of weeks, the budding printmaker has a rough idea of making a print in various techniques and printing it in various ways. I saw a flutter of pigeons bouncing on a branch of one of our cypress trees the other day, and I stopped to try to decipher what was happening. Finally, I got the picture. It was complicated by the fact that baby pigeons, when the reach the age of leaving the nest, are roughly the same size as their mother. What I was looking at was a mother pigeon trying to get two of her offspring to leave that branch and go face the world.

That’s where my young printmaker was last week. But she was atypical from the beginning. Her plane landed in Málaga on a Sunday morning and she showed up at our house at midday after a long series of flights starting from New Orleans.  It turns out that she’s from Louisiana but she was offered a scholarship to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Mike, who is cheeky, said, “That’s an excellent school. What made them go all the way to Louisiana to find you? Are you brilliant, or do you just work really hard?”

“Both,” she replied matter of factly. We weren’t in a hurry that Sunday afternoon, so Rebekah had time to tell us a bit of her story. She was born in Louisiana after her family emigrated there from their pueblo in Northern Honduras. There her grandfather—and by extension her whole family—grew everything and was self sufficient, until a giant American fruit company absorbed their fincas. Instead of living off the land, the children of the family grew up to become exploited workers on pineapple plantations. “What a life your grandfather led,” I noted casually. “Is he still alive?”

“No,” said Rebekah, “He died of a heart attack, a sequel brought on by a hit-and-run incident some years earlier with a Standard Fruit Company bulldozer. It was razing fruit trees in order to open up a road across what had been his former property.”

“What a story,” I said.

“Yes,” replied Rebekah,” I hope to write it someday.”

“It would make a wonderful artist’s book,” I said, entirely spontaneously.

The following morning, Monday, we started work on Rebekah’s artist’s book. What a challenge. The book is little, but the essence is all there. Just over a week later, I asked my long-time helper, María José, to come in and help us print up a few examples of Rebekah’s book, on different papers and in different colors. It won’t be a numbered edition, as each book is different.  Each one is a monoprint with hand-written captions.  The little, accordion-style book is charming, and moving, and it taught Rebekah a lot about making prints and artist’s books. She’s taking the plates with her and can pull an edition of it whenever she likes.

And I had the privilege of accompanying an exceptional young artist on her first steps in printmaking. The talent scouts from Duke knew what they were doing in Louisiana.

Here’s Mike’s pictures:

Thanks for commenting and sharing.

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I just found this in my visitors’ book and was moved by it:

Dear Maureen and Mike,

Thank you so much for the most memorable printmaking experience I have ever had. At the same time I realized that you were a mother to me in so many ways, especially in printmaking. I will always cherish my time with you in the studio working out my complicated project.

You are very creative and have many ideas and I appreciate your mentorship in the business of art. You have taught me what it means to be a working artist.

Mike was a friend to my husband, Rich, and I know he enjoyed the walks and working together on the technical issues such as the wife. Mike is awesome! The paella was excellent and I loved meeting all your friends and family. And, to top it off, the spa treatment every other day did us wonders. You have been a true blessing all around. We will be sending some salmon from Alaska (wild caught) for sure.

Love you and Mike,

Rhonda  & Rich

Thank you, Rhonda. The feeling is mutual. We hope to see you back here whenever you can make it.

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Unexpected treat for Lola  Sánchez and Teresa Gómez

After the poetry reading and presentation of Teresa and Lola’s artists’ book created and edited in my studio, Cinco Minutos Nada Menos (Five Minutes No Less) at the Library of Andalusia in Granada, the library’s director expressed an interest in acquiring a copy of the work for inclusion in their permanent collection. This was the frosting on the cake after selling out the rest of the edition on the night of the presentation, with all the proceeds going to Médicos sin Fronteras (Doctors without Borders).
Congratulations to everybody!


P.S. While Teresa and Lola were in the meeting with Javier Álvarez, the director of the library, they mentioned my own artist’s book, Entredós, Between Two (scroll down towards the bottom) and he decided to add one of those to the permanent collection, as well. It was a good day for everyone.


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A couple of months ago Teresa Gómez and Lola Sánchez asked me if I would help them design and put together an artist’s book made up of a poem by Teresa and images by Lola. It sounded like a delicious little project for summer mornings. These are the pictures that Mike made today when we started pulling the edition. We´re all delighted with what we have achieved.


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