book of hours photos

I finally made some scans of my Book of Hours creation.

The original Books of Hours were personal devotional books created in Medieval Europe  and modeled after monastery devotions.  They usually start with a calendar of religious holidays, and then follow with meditations on the Life of Mary, sometimes followed with meditations on the four Apostles (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) … sometimes with stories of saints. As far as I know, they’re always filled with gorgeous imagery.  Of course, most were created before mass printing & the invention of moveable type, so they were hand-lettered as well as hand-illustrated.

My Book of Hours is bound with leather and ties closed with yarn. Inside is a small text of devotions – meaningful to me and connected with the life of Mary. I also created an icon, which can be seen when the cloth covering protecting it is lifted. I may later add gold leaf or more “jewels” to the icon – but for now there’s just the inked and colored drawing of the Annunciation.


blogging on blogging and social media

I’ve been experimenting with Facebook, with Twitter, with blogging on this site and on my Eastern Shore Stories site.  I’m forming opinions about how to use them effectively and how they differ as publishing platforms.   Because that’s what they are – using written communication with photos/scans/videos salted in – personal publishing platforms for anyone who has a computer and access to the internet.  Publishing has never been easier.

I didn’t expect to enjoy Facebook, but I really do and I’ve decided to keep my Facebook page a personal blog / family & friend focused communication vehicle.  That means my goal is not to have thousands of friends nor to use it as a marketing vehicle, but to enjoy the freedom of connecting and reconnecting with people who are friends and family.  I love the interaction, the photo albums, the randomness.

Twitter still seems like an odd bird to me … and I thought that the Cool Librarian’s blog about what teenagers in her library are saying about Facebook, Twitter, blogging made sense.

Here’s an excerpt from her April 18 2009 entry:
We were talking about advertising the next teen movie on Facebook – which works well for reaching the high school kids, but is not as effective at reaching the middle school kids – and I asked how I could get more kids to read the Teen page of the (new) library website. The answer: “We don’t look at websites. Kids do Facebook, and that’s about it. We’ll Google if we have to for a school paper, and maybe check out Wikipedia, but, really, don’t bother with the teen page.”

Now, I’m not sure how surprised I was by that. One look at my stats tells me that no one looks at the teen page that I slaved away on for days – in spite of all the PR I have done – but I guess I was surprised to learn that high school students don’t seem interested in surfing the web at all (gaming sites not withstanding). Oooookaaayyy….

Next up:
“So, I was thinking of having a workshop on blogging – would there be any interest in that?”
“Nah, we say everything we need to say on Facebook.”
“Ok, what about Twitter?”
“Twitter is for old people. My mom is on Twitter. Which is cool, I guess, because I didn’t know she even knew what Twitter is, but really, what’s the point of Twitter?”
Well, I can’t fault this question, since many people find no use for Twitter, and those that do are usually connected to a network of other like-minded adults. But again, I guess I was just surprised by the total lack of interest.

This conversation nailed it, I think … websites are for information … they’re static and, unless something like a blog is happening there, why would I return once I’ve got the information I need.  I say most of what I want to say about my private and family life on Facebook, but, as a writer, find I need more space, so I blog.  This blog is also where I explore my professional interests in more depth than I ever will on Facebook.

Twitter is good if you want to stay current in a fast-moving field or if you’re trying to communicate during a revolution, but how plugged in do most people need or want to be?   I went to a Social Media meeting at VCU – they had a huge screen set up behind the panel and published the tweets in real time while people were speaking.   It was distracting, slightly bizarre, and cool all at the same time.  People in the audience were tweeting about the event while we were in the event and those of us in the event were reading the tweets, usually at the expense of the presentation.

I have to tweet as part of my GTA appointment in communications, but I do wonder about our audience, about what we have to say that’s worth anyone’s time.  This morning I tweeted about today’s deadline to withdraw from a class … an important deadline for undergrads, especially.  So that’s a public service.  It only works if we’re being followed, however, which takes something more interesting than bureaucratic deadlines.  

Blogging is more interesting to me than tweeting. Maybe it’s just that haiku has never been a strength of mine and that 140 characters forces the English language into strange mutations.  In a blog I can ramble on … just like I’m doing now.

My Eastern Shore Stories blog is a very different animal – it’s an occasional blog with interview excerpts and historical photos, reflective of the project.  I want to be able to blog for months, at least through the lecture that’s scheduled in April, posting only one entry per interview even though they’re hours long – so I’m only posting a new entry every two weeks.  The challenge is to add an rss feed or some way for people to follow it easily – some means beyond a bookmark.  I think I’m going to set up a separate Facebook Fan page for the project and publicize it on the blog so that I can post to the Fan page whenever there’s a new entry.

With my personal entries on Facebook I know people are listening and I even know who they are, so conversations will and do happen.   I haven’t seen that happen much on blogs unless it’s a celebrity blog or a blog where the blogger is shooting for controversy … sort of pulling a “Rush” if you will.  That’s not my style.  I’m a quiet blogger.  My husband tells me it’s hard to leave a comment on this blog, too … told me months ago that I should “get that fixed.”  I’ve done nothing because I don’t know how to fix it … it may be a weakness of this particular blog interface.

Being in a PhD program with a strong digital media focus has certainly forced me to ask questions I wouldn’t have asked otherwise … go places I wouldn’t have otherwise gone … all good.  And now it’s time to finish my last book for PAPR 591 (a grad seminar in bookmaking).  Time to get out the glue and the fabric and the transfer material and make something by hand.  Time to unplug.

farm life oral history blog live

Here it is … the farm life oral history blog.
Eastern Shore Stories

About ten days ago, I removed the privacy setting on the Eastern Shore Stories blog, but I’ve been dragging my feet telling people about it. I don’t know why I’m going for the opposite of buzz.

It’s a simple blog – excerpts from the interviews, as well as relevant photos if I have them, posted occasionally on Thursdays. I decided to post only one excerpt from each interview, although I may change my mind on that later, but that way I can keep posting new material through the lecture that’s scheduled at the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society next April.

The one thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to make this RSS-feed enabled. And I haven’t created a Facebook page or a Twitter account to support it. Since I’m only posting every two weeks or so, I need a way to let people know when new posts are there. I love this development in blogging … that it doesn’t have to be an every day thing, but that – through news feeds – I can give and get notice of longer-form blogging.

My style, as a blogger, is definitely on the quiet side. As for why I’m going for the opposite of buzz with Eastern Shore Stories … I feel very protective of this place, these people, this material. I hesitate to share it digitally with the world in cyberspace because I don’t want it lifted or misinterpreted or misused – so easy to happen. But I don’t own the place or this material … and I know from my uncle’s sudden death that the stories can be quickly silenced. They live orally with the people who tell them and the people who hear them. I love the stories that have been shared with me and they’ll live with me now until I’m gone too. I feel honored.

art moment: comic book artist Eddie Campbell

elephant man at night, From Hell

I’m doing a presentation for my Reading Comics class on From Hell – a book written by Alan Moore, illustrated by Eddie Campbell. It’s a graphic novel retelling of the Jack the Ripper story. My cohort is a fiction writer and wanted to present on Moore’s work so my part of the assignment is to research and talk about Eddie Campbell and his work.

I got the good end of this arrangement. Campbell is a very cool comic book artist – originally Scottish, but now lives in Australia – and I like his independent work much better than From Hell … at least what I can find piecemeal published along with interviews. He’s published too many to list here. Three I’d like to track down are Bacchus, The Fate of the Artist, and The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard.

an interview with Campbell
a 30-min video presentation on BookSlut

Even better … he blogs, regularly … here’s the link:
Eddie Campbell’s blog

grab a mop

Just got home from seeing the new Michael Moore flick “Capitalism: A Love Story” – it’s definitely worth seeing, regardless of your politics. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I were a CEO from AIG and sat through this movie. I think I’d feel ashamed of myself, but most of the folks who made out like, yes, like “bandits” … they’re probably not watching Michael Moore movies. And I don’t they feel ashamed … do they just feel lucky? Or unfairly portrayed by Moore? Who knows. I do think someone has made a mess of things public-policy-wise from about Ronald Reagan on. Time to get a mop and help clean up, I suppose. I say it’s time to share the wealth and create a more stable and fair America.

Michael Moore’s website

finding cool pics for a slide show on bookmaking

Books as repositories of knowledge and magic – people still travel thousands of miles to Ireland to see the Book of Kells. I suspect there is no way a picture of a page from this book can do its materiality justice. Even here it’s incredibly beautiful.

I’m working on a slide show for a bookmaking workshop at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts. Teaching a unit is a requirement for my bookmaking seminar, but I’m also having fun putting it together.

Meanwhile, Google is going to make thousands of books available on any web browser. NY Times article: Google Sparks E Reader Fight with Kindle

Are the days of physical books as numbered as the days of a wet darkroom for photography? I think that’s when the artists move in … art books and art photography made by artists and photographers using non-digital technology, because quickly anything non-digital is becoming arcane.

want to write with me this weekend?

I’m teaching an all-day writing immersion workshop at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond on Saturday, Oct. 17, from 10 am to 4 pm.

It’s open to writers of all levels of writing experience … costs $75, unless you’re a member, then it’s less.

In the morning, expect lots of prompts and starter exercises – adaptable for all genres. In the afternoon, each participant will choose one promising writing “start” to develop and spend the rest of the workshop writing or they can work on a project they’re already stewing about.

At the end of the day, if folks want – we’ll share what we’ve written.

To sign up, contact the Visual Arts Center .

They have lots of other cool classes, programs, exhibitions too! If you live near Richmond, Virginia, and love the arts – check out the Visual Arts Center.

a radio interview with a musician about his memoir, heard on-line

How many media is that? a radio podcast of an interview with a musician about his published book. Now that’s mixed media.

I enjoyed this interview on Studio 360. Stewart Copeland was drummer with The Police, but has also garnered quite a few awards as a film composer, and he grew up in Beirut, the son of a CIA spy (although he didn’t learn that until he was in college).

Studio 360 blog re: Stewart Copeland interview

Also worth listening to this week – a piece on Disney music.

on bookmaking and flash galleries (or why I haven’t been blogging)

I call this book Found & Stitched, made over the summer for a grad level studio course in bookmaking.

What I like about it are the interior details … the silver stamping on torn white paper. The contrast of silver with black. The Frankenstein-like stitching directly through the cardstock.

Torn paper and found sentences … silver thread and images of flying or running … for text, I lifted sentences at random from books around my house … usually the first sentence of the third paragraph on the 50th or 70th page. Oddly, the randomness coalesces into something that makes sense.

Next – I finish my Book of Hours.

I’m also creating galleries in Flash to showcase work on my website. Once I got the first one to work (the one on Found & Stitched) … creating the others has gone quickly. Last night I created one from photos I took over the summer (my Life Unplugged) and this morning I’ve got a cool one partly done with historical photos from the oral history project, complete with captions. Maybe by Monday, I’ll have uploaded the new pages to my website … if so, I’ll post here and on Facebook.