Friday, November 23, 2012

To week-end or not

It's been head down, tail up for me these past weeks. As you know I've been working on a wedding album for a friend in small chunks of time, almost every day.

The end is close now but I've noticed how slogging away at something with a deadline really drains a lot of the pleasure from tasks I would normally enjoy.

Annoyingly I have set myself up to finish this year (and probably start the next too) with a number of things like this, projects with deadlines.

Of course, the truth is that all of these are self-imposed and only half are things where I have actually made a commitment. It may be that I will be forced by time and energy to drop the others. In the mean time, I want to relax a little about them, so I can enjoy them more.

Just this past couple of weeks I have been having a week-end, and it feels so good! As I am free to organize my own schedule, and low energy times have no respect for the day of the week, I have not really bothered with week-ends as such for a long time, maybe even years. I would spend Saturday and Sunday as any other day, working in my studio if I was able, and rarely actually nominating any day as "off-duty".

Taking week-ends, I found some time to potter with my garden, tiny as it is. I have planted some seeds of Australian Indigo, my first plant specifically for dyeing.

Nothing to see yet, but hopefully in a couple more weeks! If you'd like to see what we're waiting for, go here.

I found that even when I just do the things that people with 9-5 jobs have to do on their week-ends, like catching up around the house, it feels a lot more relaxing than cramming things in while thinking "I just want to get into the studio."

So I'm wondering, do you have a "proper" week-end? Or do you treat everyday the same? How does this work for you? Do you find it's easy to get/take enough time to relax?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Testing book structures for "A Day"

My deadline for the wedding album is now very close, so that has had all my attention. That was until last week when the reaching of a significant birthday milestone demanded some celebration time and subsequently even more recovery-time....

However, before that I finished binding the album and I am very pleased. It is both lovely and sturdy. Result!
Now I have about 100 photos to print and insert into the album, as well as some decorative finishing to complete in the next 10 days or so. (In case you are confused, yes the wedding has been and gone, and I am aiming for an anniversary finishing date.)

As promised, in this post I will share some photos of structures I tested for my Book Art Object edition, and I'll also just talk a bit about my general approach to the title. However, I won't talk too much specifically about the decisions or thoughts coming from the test structures, as that could make quite an essay!

My title is "A Day Just Like Any Other", which like everyone else's this round is one of the one hundred short stories written by Sarah Bodman and buried in a Danish forest, after Kurt Johannessen's Exercises. You can read more here.

Although this title sounds very like the beginning of a story, along the lines of "Once Upon a Time...", I don't work with narratives very comfortably, and I selected the title so that I could explore the idea of a day.

I'm really interested in time, and when I hear the word "day", my first thought is about a day as a chunk of time.

A day is a particularly interesting amount of time to me. Often a day can absolutely fly, but at other times it seems to stretch out, seeming like eternity itself.

A day also offers us a refreshing beginning. A chance to start over that comes around comfortingly quickly.

A day is the amount of time we choose when we want to honour or remember an event, a person, or even a moment, whether good or bad.

And of course, there is day's mate: night. Or is it really day's nemisis?

Centuries ago, we developed ways to demark our days, and now we can gather them together in bundles of varying size according to our need (weeks, months, seasons, years, generations, and so on). It wasn't easy to wrestle the days into our rigid structures, with our desperate obsession with whole numbers. Some might say that the leap year we slot in every fourth year is a sign that we didn't really win that one!

So you see I've been reading about what we mean by "day", about the planetary movements, the development of various calendars going back through history, and all the while thinking about the elasticity of time.

For the book, I had an idea to use one or some of the photos of sunrise that I took last year while flying home from Paris. You might remember one from this post. I wasn't sure what structure would work best to convey my thoughts, and so I tried making some maquettes (or models). Below you can see some photos of the experiments. Promising beginnings!