do any of you out there still remember this old friend (you may click on the photos here for closer detail)? this book and i, well - we go way back, some six + years or more. if you look too closely, you'll see the dust from where it has sat on its spot on my shelf, a frowsy volume that is worn and creased and coming apart at the seams. but that is why i love it so: this books' flaws, its wrinkles and torn spots, its mistakes in designs, its rust and its tarnish and its frayed edges are all a reflection of me. i've carried this book, and a few of its "babies", all the way to australia, new zealand, canada, and the west, east, north and south of this country several times over again; no wonder its corners are rumpled and bent. this book taught me what not to do next time around, demonstrates what i've done right thus far, reminds me of beautiful times in waters of jamaica, on a high mountain top, and in the river close to my home. it is a sacred thing, and mine to pass down along with the others to the boys, should they want them, whenever that time comes.
this was the beginning of my "pocket book" teachings, a workshop that carried me far and near, and introduced me to some incredible people across this vast, wide world. when i thought of its design, walking in a torrential downpour (and hailstorm) six thousand feet down that mountain, i had no clue of the miles this little book would carry me. even now, this week, i am preparing twenty eight kits of eyelets, copper mesh, book covers and brads for that many public school teachers who will be taking my workshop as part of an NCCAT seminar the week of dec. 10-14 way out on ocracoke island (a 12 1/2 hour journey from here - 10 hour drive and 2 1/2 hour ferry ride), on the outer banks of this beautiful state's coast (back to the water! - if you click on the link, you'll see a photograph of the old coast guard headquarters that have been renovated for NCCAT's new coastal center, where i'll be staying, right on the harbor). so you see, i'm quite enamored with this humble little book, and feel that it has been a true and earnest friend.
i received a copy of something lovely in the mail last week: artists' cafe (best of somerset studio art and design), a chunky edition of past articles from somerset studio with many of my fellow artist friends featured (michelle ward, judi riesch, lynne perrella, angela cartwright, lynn whipple, and karen michel, to name a few); and there, nestled amongst the pages, is a reissue of my article "a pocketbook of dreams" from the nov/dec. 2002 issue. i'm tickled to see it in print again, for all the reasons i described above, in such regal, talented company. somerset has always been very good to me, and i know without a doubt that it is because of their respectful treatment of my work, theirs and teesha moore's, that i'm now able to reach out as far as i do with my work, my art, and my words. i don't work much with books anymore - i wish i had the time - nor do i these days assemble things of rust or metal into pages that turn with glass wired to the sides. after twenty three or so years as a jeweler, that craft has become a full time career these days; but come next year, i will once again be teaching a series of workshops that focuses on a book which goes beyond the page, and allows the viewer to play with his or her imagination while turning from one spot to the next. i love that about the combination of art and book - the playing, the leaping beyond the edge into what might be there if you just go beyond the normal limit. a good thing to keep in mind with life, i think.