December 2nd, 2010
great gals

One title I wish I had added to my What to Get list is Great Gals (because you always think of five more after you have sent your list), from the ever talented Summer Pierre. I have not seen this one in person, but for many years I used to get her Great Gals Calendar, which was hand photocopied at Kinkos onto colored cardstock. I love that it has been transformed into a really pleasing book/journal format. And as with myself I am also happy for Summer to enter into the world of publishing (this is her second book, the first being Artist in the Office), something we are all striving for as we while away for hours and hours, cutting paper and throwing away numerous copy blunders under the intense florescent lights of unfriendly copy shops.

I can’t deny that working with a publisher has been a life changing and career making experience for me and I wouldn’t change one minute of it. Having instant access to a world wide market is a vast difference to the world of the home made, which is primitive and painstaking (and prone to mail mixups and copier problems). Year of standing in long lines at the post office, and dealing with unhappy holiday shoppers trying to send gifts to relatives overseas.

And yet I can’t help feeling a bit nostalgic, especially at this time of year. Dare I say, that I miss those hours spent creating a little holiday zine or a variety of self published titles, laying them out, making drawings, and later the satisfaction that comes from sitting down and folding hundreds of little booklets, packing them into envelopes and licking stamps? Yes, it’s true. I miss it intensely. Something about the ritual of it made my holiday season complete, even while it was challenging. The satisfaction of having mailed every last person on my mailing list was amazing. One of the main reasons I had to discontinue my yearly mailing was that I had amassed too many names on my list, and the cost was edging up to $1000 a season, (yikes).

Hopefully the years spent in copy shops has affected our work in a beneficial way, our work still has an “of the hand” feel, and our process much more tactile and simplified. It is the tangibility of the process that feels satisfying, and the immediacy of the final product. Plus there is something about a little photocopied booklet that holds a certain charm. I think in lieu of going back to my roots, it would be helpful to work on a quick project in the zine format. I suppose that it is a good thing that you can at any time go back to where you started and remember all of the things you love about what you do (in my case bookmaking).

I have an exercise that I use in my class where you have to make a zine in one hour, using the magic book folding technique. Which I am going to do myself, once work on my new book has slowed a bit.

Congrats to Summer, my partner in a colorful photocopied past!

Dec 2 2010
11:32 pm
Jenny Smith writes:

I think I recall you giving me this calendar for Christmas once. I really liked it! Jx

Dec 3 2010
3:05 pm
Rebecca Stees writes:

I made a series of one hour zines with a friend using different one (or two) page book techniques. It’s called Women of Action!

I’d love to send you some!

Dec 3 2010
3:08 pm
Rebecca Stees writes:

My young campers (ages 5-11) would love to collaborate with your college students on a zine project too!

And have you hear about ….

Dec 5 2010
7:10 pm
Teena in Toronto writes:

Looks like a good book!

Mar 31 2011
2:16 pm
Roxane writes:

Have scoured local used bookstores for “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler.” Helped my local librarian hunt for on the library shelves. She confidently suggested I put in a request to prompt a broader effort to locate the illusive book. After several months, I rec’d this note:

Your hold on the title below has been canceled. It may be unavailable at the Library because it is missing or lost, or the publisher may have announced that it will not be published, or you may have requested the cancellation. If you have questions, please call the Library at the number listed above.

AUTHOR: Calvino, Italo
If on a winter’s night a traveler

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