This 4th of July Weekend


I’ve been working on my artist’s book Houses, pretty much non-stop. I did, however, take a break to go to the Hollywood Bowl last night to see Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II, which was fabulous! I have lived my whole life in Los Angeles and I have NEVER been to the Hollywood Bowl! Isn’t that something? Aint I a stinker?

This was an early birthday present from my amazing boyfriend, who got us perfect seats, right smack! in the middle, just above the sound board. I also quit smoking (again) on Friday night, so yesterday was my first day without a cigarette, and it wasn’t so bad. Keeping busy really helps. And the patch. And live music. And Bugs Bunny.

I know I have probably said I have quit smoking 100 times on this blog, but you have to understand that I have been successful at this before. Many times in fact, so don’t think just because I keep falling off the wagon that it means there is no hope for me. There is!

First of all, I’ve smoked since I was 12 years old. I quit the first time for six months when I was 19. The second time for two years when I was 28, and 11 years again when I was 31. I smoked six months in between that last time.

Then, when my dad was dying, I smoked for a couple of months. Not even in fact. Picked it up again three months later when my mom got dementia, and then it was on and off until last February. That’s when I quit for a good six months after I wound up in the hospital with pneumonia. Why I started again after that has been the biggest mistake of my life.

Now, I have my excuses, like almost going crazy and stuff like that, but I haven’t really tried quitting again. It’s easy when you’re sick in the hospital and can’t breathe NOT to want to smoke, but once you can breathe again and feel healthy and WANT to smoke, how do you quit?

One thing is for sure. You can’t wait until you don’t want to smoke anymore. That’s not going to happen. I started again by bumming ONE smoke off someone during an art opening and I thought I could just have one – once and a while. HA!

I’m a smoker. Always have been, always will be. I love smoking, but I’m not going to sit here and type all the reasons why – let me count the ways – when I’m trying to quit now.

Today is day two, so give me a fucking break.

Okay, so back to the book…

The colophon has been printed. There is no turning back now, however, it looks like the Giclee print is not liking the Arches – not the kind I have in my arsenal anyway. Tomorrow I have to go find a brighter, whiter Arches that’s less absorbent.

I also have to get some spray mount too. I ran up against a wall this morning when I was working on the embroidery page. I need to spray mount that piece of linen on top of it before I sew into it. This is the page that is going to take me the longest. It is pencil, ink and collage. Plus I have to poke holes into it so I can see where I am going to embroider into it from the back of the paper, but the fabric has to be kinda stuck on there a bit before I do that. You get where I’m coming from without me having to show you pictures? Because I’m not showing you any yet. If it all goes as planned, this will be my favorite page in the book. Trust me, it will look cool. The piece of linen is a kind of pocket shape a covers some of the “scene” in a way.

…Maybe because it was all so shameful and private? Just thinking about that now. Weird.

Oh! I know what I will show you, the text from the poem that is letterpressed on the opposite side of the page I am speak about above, and how it is broken up:

Homes where sounds / of broken dishes lay / Murdered paintings admired / left in her past  /she killed / HOUSES

And, the colophon reads like this now:

Houses is based on a poem written by Carol Es, copyright and published by Careless Press, ©2013. Special thanks to Bill Roberts, Stephanie Mercado, and Poli Marichal. This handmade book is limited to a signed edition of eight copies, all slightly varied because of the original touches throughout.


Four of the inside pages, plus the front and back covers were letterpressed by Bill Roberts of Bottle of Smoke Press, Dover, DE. The two etchings were printed at Paper Doll Press in Highland Park, Los Angeles, CA (thanks Stephanie) with Master Printer Poli Marichal.


Papers used throughout are Artistico Fabriano, Rives BFK, Strathmore Artagain, Mohawk Superfine text, Moab Kayenta 205 gsm., Daler-Rowney Canford 150 gsm, various cereal boxes, and imported flower-pressed and gold, imported handmade papers from Nepal.


Each 20-page book contains an original drawing on black paper, a hand die-cut cover, two original watercolor paintings, four digital pages in Epson Ultrachrome K3 inks, two etchings, a block print and a Sumi ink painting on gold paper, and one original pencil, ink and collage drawing with sloppy hand embroidery over a bit of linen fabric. Each book also includes a 5 x 5 inch, full color Giclée print of the painting, “Home is Near the Sea” on hot pressed Aqvarelle Arches watercolor paper. Originally 30 x 30 inches, this painting was created in 2001 in oil and paper collage on canvas. The print slips out from an acid-free, laid paper pocket adhered to the page.


Pages of this book are French folds, with the exception of the end papers. The binding was Japanese stab bound by Carol Es with waxed linen thread from Ireland.

How’s that?

The second most complicated page there is to do is actually the first page. It’s a kind of detailed watercolor and I’ve only done one! Seven more to go.

As much work as I have to go on this book, I hope to have it completely done by the end of the summer, if not sooner. But I say that now. It really is a lot of sewing (not the binding, but that embroidered page)!

Still thinking about price. This will be the smallest edition I have ever done. Not only that, most of the pages are original. It has to be more than 1-SELF, but less than All Done But None because it is not hardbound. I ordered some simple lime, vinyl envelopes that I pray they will fit into as dust jackets. We’ll see.

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