Term paper, Folded books and a gigapixel conference

Yes, Mage, it was a very busy week. While I was in New York last summer, I heard about an exhibition of artist books to be held at MOMA's PS1 on November 5 and 6. I planned to go, but finally decided I didn't have the time. Instead, I signed up for two book-making workshops here. One of them took place on the past two Wednesday evenings and was about folding and  embellishing books. Here is my folded book, not yet embellished. I work slowly.

This book was particularly satisfying to fold. It was a text from a class I took while I was working on that master's degree on corporate communication. I wanted to sell the book back to the school bookstore, but they would only give me $1 so I kept it.

I began the week working on my term paper. We were each supposed to give a ten minute talk about our projects. I spent Sunday, Monday and Tuesday morning trying to figure out exactly what I would say. I wasn't even sure I would be called on, but I wanted to be prepared. Being an auditor is an uncertain life. We only got through about half of the class last week and I will be called on Tuesday. I'll append my notes at the bottom of this post.

I alternated work on the term paper with work on the poster for the gigapan conference. David kept finding typos and adjustments; I kept making the changes. The conference took place Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday. I am amazed at all the uses for gigapixel imagery–showing detail in microscopic images and detail in huge panoramas. You can see the papers here and some of the gigapans from the conference here. I think they will also post the talks. Tomorrow I am supposed to begin work on the new gigapan we shot last month (along with the term paper and Thanksgiving preparations). Here are David and Simram, another member of our team, in front of our poster.

I continued going to my Osher classes, along with all of this, and on Thursday, managed to get in another quick walk in Frick Park.

The weather has been cooler, but still sunny and most of the trees still have their leaves.

Needless to say, my house looks like it's been trashed. So I'm off to the club to exercise, then back here to clean.

Notes for term paper presentation

In fall, 2008, I was in Japan looking at gardens for more than a month. Most of the gardens were in Kyoto, but I traveled to Tokyo, Nikko, Kanazawa, Nagoya, and Okayama. Most Japanese gardens use the same elements, yet each one is unique; each one has its own design and arrangement of space; most have great appeal for me, a few left me wondering why I had bothered to come to them. Allowing for some days of fatigue and the fact that winter was nearing, I still did not understand why some of those gardens had little appeal for me. This paper is an attempt to examine the elements of a Japanese garden to determine what made the difference.

I will look at two types of gardens: those viewed from within a room or a veranda, and scroll gardens, which promote interactive viewing, each few steps presenting a different view, much like walking through a museum and stopping to examine and appreciate each picture.

The elements of a Japanese garden are greenery, water, rocks, stone lanterns and bridges. Design of a garden is governed by use of space, illusion/shakkei or captured scenery, management of vegetation and growth, and an invocation of famous places, usually in spirit or in some abstract fashion.

I will consider how each of the elements is used in a garden and some of the history of that use, beginning with rocks, which are considered the most important element by the Sakutei, the eleventh century gardening manual. Further, I will show how the use of space and illusion intensify the experience of the connection with nature for the occupants of the house.

Painters, particularly emaki painters, designed many early gardens, creating a “conceived” work of art that combines a gardener’s sense of composition with the idea of scenery “borrowed” from nature. To view the garden from within a house is very much like viewing a scroll painting. To walk through a stroll garden each new view could be another part of the scroll. I did my best to frame each of these views within the viewfinder of my camera.

In addition to a general consideration of the Japanese garden, I propose to examine Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, Koraku-en in Okayama, Sankien in Yokohama and Shirotori in Nagoya and two gardens meant to be viewed from within a building, Chishakuin and  Nanzen-in, in Kyoto, using maps and my own photographs for reference.

In conclusion, I propose to illustrate how the use of space in each garden made a difference to my feelings about it.



I'm feeling very proud of myself this morning. I actually made this bag over the weekend, and I will give it away tomorrow. That's two pieces of fabric gone from my stash. I'm sure I could make at least twenty more bags and still have fabric left.


This is the new dog that lives upstairs. Max, held by my across the street neighbor, Mary, has charmed us all. He's just a puppy but won't be much bigger.


Japan artist book FINISHED

If you think it's the greatest bit of prose ever written, get rid of it. That's common advice to writers and probably should be given to artists also. I fell in love with the idea of embroidering this tree on a piece of obi silk, and using it as a book cover. I spent all summer working on it. I should have just tacked it on the wall; the book would be better bound with something else.


So I'm not happy. Actually, I'm never happy with my finished work. Sometimes after it sits for months or years I like it better. We'll see about this one. 

So that I remember, and you learn, I'll tell you what's in my head. First, putting a photo transfer on silk is not a great idea. I said that before, but now I have another reason: making it into book cloth didn't work. The fusible interfacing never fused properly. I had lots of trouble with glue coming through and you can see the lumps and bumps because of the lack of proper fusing. 

Second the silk cloth is really too
thick, even though the glue came right through it. Folding it under to
make sure it didn't ravel made it too thick. I probably should have
just cut it and used some kind of fabric stablizer. This fabric was machine
embroidered on what would have been the right side of the obi and the
threads are carried loosely along the back as the color and pattern


I used archival foam board instead of the more commonly used davey board. It's much easier to cut. I made a mistake there also. Instead of cutting that 1/4" piece for the binding edge, and moving it 1/4" away from the large piece, I left it attached on one side just cutting away the inside foam and the other side. After I finished the binding it was still too stiff. It doesn't open as nicely as my earlier books.

I had trouble finding a good, heavy binding cord. My preferred cord is waxed, linen carpet thread; not beautiful enough for all that embroidered silk. I tried several other kinds of cords, none of which worked. In desperation I went to Michael's (not a lot of choice here in Pittsburgh) and got this silvery stuff. It pulled tight and did the job, but I don't like it. Finally, I had trouble drilling the holes and the back holes don't line up properly. The whole thing was too thick, but probably would have been better if I had used that 1/4" space technique.