Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Something new, Prints for the Silk Road Project

Sometime last year I received an invitation to participate in an artist's book project.  I was intrigued with the idea of replacing the inventory of a lost group of books.  Sadly, these particular books were lost in the war of terror, at al-mutanabbi Street in Bagdad. 

My Dad taught me the love of books, the real treasures of what a book can be in your life.  Though I have been making books for quite some time (mid '80's) , I have not made many.  This book, Treasures of the Silk Road, is a compilation of Art History research (I teach a class which "travels" from ancient China to Marco Polo's Italy, highlighting the art and culture along the way) , printmaking (there will be six landscapes included in the book),  and other interesting mini-books with related subjects regarding silk, art, printmaking and so on.

It has been difficult, with all the interesting things along the route, to narrow the scope of this journey.   Ultimately, the trail ends at al-mutanabbi street and the book sellers who have, for centuries, provided a lively place where knowledge, information, stories, experiences and poetry abound.  I hope my contribution adds to the appreciation of this place and the people who make it unique, valuable and worthy.

This is the beginning of the book.  I am using an accordion folded format with three layers which will make pockets for the maps and mini-books.  The arched shapes are meant to visually refer to the ups and downs of the journey.  The cover side, made with Arches buff colored paper has a rough strip of sandy feeling garnet dust which reminds me of the desert, as well as the desertification which is continually taking place across these regions.  The night sky with a watchful moon, an iridescent moth and mulberry leaf complete the image for the cover's outer side.  There are stamped letters on many of the maps, books and imagery, referring to a code, or code book which is related to the collection of maps, landscapes and mini booklets.    More on this next time.

Here are three of the wood block prints.  The Dunhuang caves, the Taklamakan desert and the Pamir mountains are some of the landscapes that a traveler might experience on the Silk Road.  As the work develops I will post more photos and progress. I am really just getting started and I am looking forward to hearing your comments as the journey continues.  


1 comment:

  1. Good luck with this new project, Renee.
    Thanks for telling me about it and please keep me posted!