Illustration, mail art

In Production #2

I posted a few teaser images a while back – last June to be exact and mentioned that I was exploring some new avenues. My garage print studio was out of commission back then (needed a whole new roof !) and so I was in need of other outlets in order to prevent another one of those ‘Falling Down’ episodes, but I shouldn’t really talk about that now. Sorry, Whammyburger. lestaret-ab-5 After previously submitting a book for the ‘Encyclopaedia Of Everything‘ project initiated by the seemingly unstoppable Cheryl Penn from South Africa, she kindly invited me to become part of an ‘assembly book.’ I had seen the term used online but did not really have any idea what was involved. Cheryl described it a s sort of zine, but way above any zines she has seen and after a few searches upon Messrs. Google & Co.’s Miraculous Sleuthing Contraption (Patent Pending) to check out some of the previous assembly book projects she has orchestrated, I decided to give it a go. lestaret-ab-6 There were very few rules; the title was ‘Mail Art Makes the World a Town’ which was about as open as it could get; the size – A5; double sided; with some text about each artists own practice/process. That’s it. I immediately decided to depart from the carefully constructed, graphic approach I often take – mainly in response to something Cheryl wrote in an email – she said that she didn’t make ‘neat books’ – in comparison to mine, so I wanted to surprise her a little! By the way, Cheryl makes exceptional books. I am the proud owner of two, both of which can be seen here. I should say here that I am very humbled to be associated with Cheryl on these projects… lestaret-ab-7Oh, I forgot to mention that I needed to produce 27 signed and numbered copies. These could be straight prints or copies, or hand modified, or even individually made. I liked the idea of that, but soon realised that it wasn’t a practical option, so opted to hand make a base and laser print over. Twenty-seven book artists from around the work each contribute 27 single pages – Cheryl collates and binds them and each person receives an ‘assembly book’ consisting of everyone’s submissions. Such a great idea – I can’t wait to see the finished product and will be sure to blog about just as soon as I can! So back to my submission. Each page consists of four pages from an old, yellowed book (beyond repair I must point out for the purists!) torn and glued together. A layer of stiff white gouache was then liberally applied to one side of each page (see Cheryl – I can do ‘not neat’ too!) and then pressed to lose the wrinkles. The printed design consists of 9 (PhotoShop) layers in total and needed special treatment just to get them through my inkjet printer – I needed to make an A4 ‘carrier’ page of stiffer paper, with flaps to hold each sheet in place as it went through – the book pages were too flimsy to be picked up by printer – it either defaulted to a paper misfeed message or ripped the sheet apart. I eventually had to make 45 pages and only got 28 printed intact! This video sums up the frustrations of this process. The last part is a folded translucent square, inserted through a slit cut in the page. This is what my rubber stamp was originally intended for. You can just make out that there is more writing on the reverse side of the crow stamp – more poetry – but this is reserved for the recipients, and on the other part which was folded and glued to the back is a small (very small) statement and the signature/number. lestaret-ab-9-large “Every once in a while, people need to be in the presence of things that are really far away.” – Ian Frazier

Late last month, a package arrived from South Africa – all will be revealed in the next post… LESTARET-AD-8

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2 thoughts on “In Production #2

  1. Looks fantastic as ever Mr Lestaret, I thought I saw you eyeing up some of my particularly old and yellowed books on your last visit… and two bottles of your finest catarrh syrup please.

  2. I should say that no salvageable books were harmed in the making of this project! The rest of the pages are currently being used for another project – I see this a sort of Frankenstein version of giving old books a new lease if life!

    Cough!

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