een Hand Gebonden Kunstenaarsboek '(The) Fairing(s)', the Artist's-Books Workshop,Vilnius 2009 a hand-bound Artist's-Book / le Livre d'Artist / ein handgebundenes Künstler Buch / Mahler Buch


dailies of

the International Artist's-Books WorkshopVilnius

'real time' 21 - 10 - 2009

Time is short.

A few days only.
A few days - to really work together and have an exchange of ideas - are nothing but a few days, with hardly an hour of early and half dark walking, after a quiet relaxing brakfast in 'the Shakespeare'; eight hours inside academy walls to experiment - succeed and fail, make a joke, call out for mercy out of pure frustration, be happy and/or angry, try a new start, get to the core and talk it over with small groups of students -, a few hours pub, restaurant and/or private visits with long talks, a little 'lonely last hour's walk' to think things over, a small whisky and some preparations fore the next day in the hotel room (with the bit of basic hand-washing of shirts and such), and a lot of sleep (starting to count the hours that seems impossible - well I'm not responsible for days having the hours that they seem to have).

o k, you find the differences. Oh dear, I'm glad I'm not aware of looking the way I look

We have decided on taking the easy way out and make 'Zaans Bord' rather than the finer papers
Things get properly on the way, so that all students can have two pieces each with different papers in their collection.
And, what is more important, those that took some real interest had their hands in properly.

The paper (photograph under here) shows that tissue and toilet papers make a useful pulp in seconds,
whilst the bits and pieces of the old-money do not even soften up after days in lukewarm water and beating.

Some plant material being finely cut and cooked for some time, opposed to some just roughly cut, show well how much a difference that makes. The point of keeping left overs from the better paper, something that is in any graphic workshop, has been made;
it is fun, it is worth doing, and most of all it has creative potential.
As long as you see how much experience and studie, and 'every day' work all this will take.

It folds well and is stronger than would have been expected from a paper that is so primitive.


The printing of texts has been something I have not stressed on too much, and the idea has sadly almost fanished.
Certainly one of the students was waiting for a chance there, but somehow the graphics department has little affinity with such 'worldly' and 'old fashioned' things as typography, let alone experimental typography; such things seem to have died and fossiled in dada and constructivist era's.
I should have known.
This is something one would see all over the world, exactly now that text is in everyone's hands,
playing with the basics -'droodeling' if you like- has been drowned in the overload.
It takes a bit of courage to type-set a simple poem and print it, and one would need the head-strong ideas typographers have on the subject.
The arts seem to be about 'razzle dazzle glossy spectacular' on the one - the main steam - side, and clumsyness and ragged dirt on the other, where any machanical or computerized medium is tested on possible failure.
Teachers make it worse by endlessly repeating senseless and empty dogma's of a past they have never experienced (and so they would not know the why's of the time in the first place). As a result you see artists at work seemingly to strive towards great imperfection, as a protest against the in-human perfection and emptyness of rigid teaching, the glossy magazine and the 'do as the instruction says' computer-game
Happily young artists are after the re-introduction of the human breath in the recording of the flute-player:
"by George, it is a human being playing there!"

A minor crisis emerges when all students realize that tomorrow at 10 - in the morning that is - there is the final presentation.
And they have not even started editioning. Dear Lord I, would rather not start on thinking about the series of perfect ideas that shattered at that moment of 'real stress'.
Being an artist myself for so long now, I can hardly remember the days that it were possible to go all the length with 'thinking', and 'planning', visiting museums, and going about details and experiments, without realizing that you would have 'the real thing', something that never gets more real or indeed better, in your hands to develope 'here and now' as part of your total being.
And yes, there is always that student that in an air of full confidence says "no problem", and I know that to be the one that will not have the edition ready on time: "it's easy to spot the genius - they love to give it away", my mind murmels with only a bit of sympathy.

Something most interesting about the internet and comunication is that all about this workshop has been on the net for weeks, and now that it comes to the end it seems that none of the students has actually read the edition to be 25 for a number of reasons, one being that they might all like to have a complete collection of all they had worked with. Well, one of the problems there might very well be the fact that most of the Lithuanian students have developed a way of doing their thing at home or in some private studio.
The loss of benifits of a social life, especially now with students from aboad, that they are not going to see for much longer, has not really sunk in yet.
A feeling that struck me right from the beginning is that being an artist is very much a individual struggle here, something that does not work in graphics whatever way one would like it. I still remember the eighties when 'comunity arts' were the thing to be discovered in Great Britain in a trade that ought to have been something growing in a comunity to begin with.
Dear me, graphic-artists must have felt real out-siders with the sociology taking over.

This evening, after a nice walk through the old town, there is my job to find an instant-binding-trick for what is coming in as results from the students. I know no number, I know nothing about how thick things are going to be, I only know that I have told them: "Whatever size you may come up with, we shall have to bring it back to the size that fits together with all other booklets":
most of the students seem to experience this as a thread. Playing with size seems serious matter.
Yet again: be flexible and resourceful.

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