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Category Archives: Tabula Memoria

the “Tabula Memoria” journal

Whoa! It’s a good thing that Blurb has easy to follow parameters and diagrams, and a better thing that i was able to bring into play old layout skills i learned in my teens!

I finished this on Aug 13th, and immediately ordered two copies: one for me, and one for the person who commissioned the work. Had to hold my breath until the 24th of August (Actually arrived on the 21st!) ) to have them in my hands, but OH OH OH, i’m so glad i did this.

Right from the beginning, i had all the digital originals in backed up files, and the physical sampling, writing and sketches in a distinct studio folder. The first time i tried to “make book”, i had no idea what i was doing, and tried to upload small photos with low resolution. (KEEP YOUR ORIGINALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And make sure they are properly edited and presented, none of this “there’s my 3 feet of floor around the 1 foot sized piece…. ) Figuring out the layout, the order, and the relevance of specific things for that endeavour was a nightmare, as i hadn’t documented as i went along. I also didn’t hit “save as” when i should have, and that book is gone, except for a few screenshots!

You *have* to pay attention to details, when self publishing. Unless you have a trusted, erudite, educated and very literate friend to proofread for you, trust the guides they give you!

In my mid teens, i worked for a small Canadian “literary” magazine in Guelph, Ontario, and one of my many jobs was actual layout of photos and text. Those were the days when it was “physical” work, printouts that had to be manually manipulated and then pasted down to a master sheet. While i had naive dreams then of being a poet, i never actually thought i could do my own books, never mind have them printed. The exception is a slim “chapbook” of poetry, published by a small London Ontario press, in 1978. “Tiger of a Different Colour” does have an ISBN though ๐Ÿ™‚ย  (That little magazine converted to Communism, and fired me when i wouldn’t go to Ottawa and participate in a possibly dangerous and illegal protest, risking arrest and jail! I was 16 and incredibly innocent, but i wasn’t STOOPID.) Edit: an hour after, i still have *most* of the work that was to be featured in that first book–i *can* rephotograph!

 

 

 

Now i’m thinking i really want to do a How To book after all, possibly from the FrankenStitch classes i have taught online.

 

 

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 22, 2017 in Commission, Tabula Memoria

 

making book

A real learning curve! I tried several years ago to do a Blurb book, but got so bogged down that it’s still sidelined.

However, i’m older and smarter now :), and have more patience and persistence, so i go i go i go–for hours, working on the accompanying journal for “Tabula Memoria”.

I knew from the beginning of this project that i didn’t want to send off a haphazard accumulation of the writing, sketches and samples i did as i went along, that it had to be something that would last, possibly be passed on (to “heirs”?), and that looked professional. From the start of this to the end, i kept a separate file for the physical work (said writing, sketches, samples) and a digital one with folders and sub folders (and sub sub folders….!), planning somehow to collate and correlate at the end.

Once you learn the program, it *is* easy. The hard part is picking and choosing what truly is relevant, deciding what should be featured and what is less “interesting”, writing coherently and in a timeframe sense for each photo, and then deciding how many pages really are needed.

From the initial query from Mr X, to the first concept scribblings, through process and progress, thoughts, changes, references and honestly some blah-blah, i’m up to 45 pages, with only a few left to do. You have to know when to stop too! There could always be another book for the “extras”, incorporated for a “how to” maybe…..

And maybe, just maybe, i’ll finish that first one, because there are others i’d like to do too.

 

 

 

“Tabula Memoria” reveal

I didn’t consider it complete until it was stretched and mounted, though the stitching was finished the first week of July.

The first figure attachment was a bit nerve-wracking. I had to be very aware of not only placement–imagine if i’d had to tear out hundreds of little stitches because it’s 1cm from where it should be, and then worry about the original *and* added tension also. Too tight and i can’t properly stretch the whole work, and too loose and it will be floppy instead of floating….

Second figure was much easier, “old hand” now that i am now ๐Ÿ™‚

The binary quotation:

 

 

I am very lucky in having a patron who commissioned this, and gave me leeway as to subject matter and timeline. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this, Mister X!

Because of the size, i bought stretcher bars, a cross brace and canvas and put it together myself. No doubt, i will/can do this again for other works that don’t fit “conventional” sizes of ready-made. When i start a work, it is the size it is to begin with ๐Ÿ™‚

EDIT: A. Thank goodness for Greyman’s help. The joints were SO tight, we had to shave them.

B. WTF? I measured this sucker THREE times, so HOW the hell did i buy stretchers that are TOO BIG????

C. Started again with new shorter bars………… Now there’s a really big extra canvas to use for something else………….

The shorter stretcher bars i bought went together much easier. I asked the fellow at the art supply store, and he said we shouldn’t shave at all, that the pieces DO fit together very tightly (demonstrating by actually shoving the pieces together with no body english involved–his 30-year-old hands are obviously much stronger than our 50something appendages!). I’m thinking because it was so hot and humid that week we did the first one, that it swelled. (That’s our excuse reasoning.) I sweated profusely andย  my hands shook when it was time to actually mount it: i was petrified i’d booboo’d again, that threads would snap, and areas would pull too much, that it would be wonky, miscentred, and just WRONG. Took me an hour to do because i had to keep stopping to calm down!

Now we had to crate it for shipping (fortunately for “domestic” delivery, ie within Canada)–and that means we’ll be building the crate too.

The next part of this project is to complete the accompanying journal, front and back covers below:

 

I feel a bit like this now that it’s done:

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on August 3, 2017 in Commission, Tabula Memoria

 

two milestones marked

“Tabula Memoria” is done. You won’t see it though until it’s mounted ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m taking a much needed break from the studio and from the Dayjob for the next week or so. (We gotta “get out of Dodge”, as it’s Calgary’s Stampede Week.)

 

And i’m featured at one of our favourite magazines: HandEye.

 

backsides are beautiful too

I’ve always loved seeing the back of work. Not those neat tidy “don’t carry floats, don’t use knots” kinds of embroidery and quilting techniques, when someone worries that Gramma Stitch Police Member Emeritus is going to pass judgement, but the ones that are worked as they are needed to be worked. Nobody sees the back of my completed works, so why worry about it?

I have miniscule amounts of embroidery to finish in the top left panel (reversed, it’s the right side top of this photo), the figures to attachย  in that open section in the middle (the standing one has two inches left to work), a teeny bit at the bottom of the centre panel, and then i can stretch and mount the whole.

 

 

 
 

codex

Hopefully my reasoning will now make sense, and the explanation clear. I embroidered most of the phrase in binary code, but left some words, and some parts of some words as text. ( I did leave “by” as binary too.)ย  Those sections became their own phrase, poetic, and meaningful within the context of the whole original phrase, and the intent of the whole work.

I’m nearing the final phase of the other embroidery on this piece: a teeny bit on the standing figure still to do, then to attach both figures,do a bit more work on the top left panel, and then sit back for a week, just looking at it, sensing if it needs anything more.

The next phase is to figure out the journal that goes with it, the explanation, the sketches and samples, the whole meaning and the subtexts, the wonderings and wanderings, the crux of the biscuit.

 
 

an elegant solution

That’s a Binary table above. I wrote out the entire phrase in it, punctuation included, and surmised that it would be insane to stitch the whole thing this way…………I’m “translating” a phrase that holds 58 characters, a piece of cake in regular text, but multiply those by 8 and that’s 464 little marks! The space available for that means my “numbers” have to be too tiny, which makes them impossible to read, and therefore pointless, and the TIME to do this wholly in Binary would exceed my timeline–given that there are other parts that still need working.

 

EUREKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Truly, the punctuation does not have to be in Binary, and when i started looking at the phrase, certain words jumped out, and became another phrase in themselves, fitting with(in) the original phrase, the meaning of the whole and *as* another consequential but purposeful catch of words. It also lessens the numbers of signifiers by 238, so i have “only” (HA) 226 to do. Given that some of these are now going to be actual letters/words, it’s less daunting, and requires less space, time and layout!

Yesterday at ACAD, i made a start as i waited for fabrics to percolate and imprint. And it took less time than i thought, not as much a worry as anticipated!

Proofreading was the hardest part ๐Ÿ™‚