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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Inside the Studio: Thou Tempest Affliction

Hi friends!  I thought it might be nice to tell you a little about my background and how it correlates to what you can expect to see around velvet tangerine.

In 2010 I finally received my BA in Fine Arts from San Francisco State University, with a concentration in printmaking.  I've joined the office dwelling work force since then, but spent a good chunk of last summer volunteering at the San Francisco Center for the Book and volunteering as a studio monitor back at SFSU.  Basically this means that at the present moment my time with a letterpress is limited to when school is in session cuz I just can't afford $25 an hour at SFCB!  Therefore, new letterpress projects are sadly on hiatus for the summer.

Today I'm sharing a little peek into the making of a hand-bound artist's book.  This project took me around 3 months to complete and uses an accordion-style structure.  Thou Tempest Affliction is a fictional story written by myself, and I also digitally collaged all the images used.

Each book in the edition was printed mainly using cyanotype - an alternative photographic process.  This allowed me to print my content - images, text, and all - as one huge negative on special transparent film.

As it turns out, I don't have an actual picture of what the negative looked like, but trust me, it was massive!  The thing measured 18"x24".

I can, however, share with you a flickr set which contains, in order, each page of the story and its images!  Here's a little preview:

You can visit the flickr set here, but readers be warned you may find the story to have a slightly sinister edge to it!  Do you guys remember reading The Yellow Wallpaper in high school?  That short story was part of the inspiration behind Thou Tempest, but far shorter!  By the way, if you follow that link you can read the full version of the 1892 classic by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

One of the awesome things about making cyanotypes with digital photo composites is that your digital images needn't be anything too close to perfect!  If you visit the flickr site you may notice that I didn't pay too much attention to blending or making the images look natural in their surroundings :)  This is because between exposing the negative to light sensitive cyanotype solution and developing the print in water, enough resolution is lost in the image to hide stuff like that.  Here are a couple of my favorites!

Once the huge negative was contact printed onto Rives BFK rag paper I was left with a one-page sheet containing every page of my book, laid out like a story board.

Each strip of images was cut down and glued end to end in the sequence of the story.  From there I accordion-folded each page, scoring it first with a bone folder (an incredibly handy tool for paper crafting!)

The folded strips looked like so:

The next order of business was creating my title page and colophon on the letterpress, and sewing those folios to the beginning and end of the image strips as seen below:

In the photo above you can also see the hard covers waiting to have the text block "cased in," as we bookbinders say.  The title was relief printed on the book cloth using a carved linoleum block.  All that was left was to paste down the end papers (decorative papers that line the inside of the cover and hide glue and/or seams) with ever-delightful PVA glue.

And viola!  Here's a cracked-out looking picture of me holding the finished product.

all images and text pertaining to Thou Tempest Affliction are copyright Molly Doane 2011


Superstition Vintage said...

Cyantype Accordions?! I am in ❤!! I just graduated with a BFA where I learned cyanotype and fell in love with letterpress :) Your books are lovely! My accordions never look that good! No Fair!! :P


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