Friday, May 3, 2013
Some thoughts on illumination
It is rare for me to wake in the middle of the night and be unable to return to sleep. Especially with a "princess and the pea bed" beckoning. My mind however was working overtime, full of ideas for a potential creative piece for the Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand (MAANZ) competition being run in conjunction with the symposium being held in Melbourne in August 2013. So far it is looking like I am toying with the idea of illumination depicted as an altered book. There is a whole argument to be had on whether it will in fact be an altered book or an artists' book? Perhaps the former? At this stage however, with nothing started, it is a moot point. The ideas process has been interesting and so far seems to have a potentially personal connection, with references to the art and history of the book, and with connections to my personal professional history as a librarian. That's the theory at this stage anyway. The challenge as always will be the creation of this piece. With a pre selection process to go through prior to submission of pieces, there is the chance that the panel will not even select the piece for exhibtion. At least then I will not have the worry of how to get this piece to Melbourne. Although the symposium is not until AUgust, the preselection deadline is early June, and with a week leave from the last week of May I will be pushing it to get anything to the point that it is able to be photographed as a complete piece. So, thoughts so far - include the following: Illuminarium - being a mixture of "illumination" and "Machinarium" my favourite gaming app on the iPad, which was so hard I had to get my then 12 year old nephew to show me how to play it. Illumination as represented in the Harry Potter series. I wonder whether I can actually use this without being sued by the almighty empire of J.K. Rowling? I need to do a bit more research however at this stage seem to recall something along the lines of there being a sequence of words and actions that Harry uses to uses to activate his wand into becoming a source of light. "Lumos"- creates narrow beam of light that shines from the wands tip (like a torch) and is first seen in Chamber of Secrets, and then in further titles throughout the series. The counter spell "Nox" extinguishes the light. Thanks go to my esteemed colleague Kellie for the gentle nudge in the right direction here. Other print related references I seem to recall include a candle silhouette, using words within the shape of the silhouette, not unlike the logo for Amnesty Iternational, perhaps without the barbed wire. Lets face it, another law suit pending and a little too dark perhaps. Humament book - words connected with circles/boxes to pick them out and highlight them on a page. The Luke Roberts Breugel book always fascinated me - with its paint over the pages so you couldnt actually read it. It too has an element of the dark and brooding, but then that it not unlike Luke and perhaps relates back to dark times in the history of the printed book. Which then leads me to think of the tradition of locking books up as they used to in monasteries. Lets face it the amount of time and effort that went into early illuminated manuscripts probably warranted it. So, sealing wax, rope, lock and key a la modern day girls diaries to collate their secrets in. There must be some notable quotes on illumination and light from the likes of eminate people like Martin Luther King, Churchill, Gertrude Stein, Helen Keller or an artist or two.....mmmm, something else to look into. What references might there be in classic literature. Must have been dark when Alice fell down the rabbit hole. How did she see? How about the Bible? In the beginning....then God created light? Research required, or perhaps I should just brave it and ask Mum. So, the contexct behind the content is coming togehter. Now to struggle with the construction process. How do you make a book solid enough to support mosaic embellishment? Consider stiffener to make "pages" solid? Utilise smalti around the edge of the front cover to form a protective recess for the remainder of the book to "sink" into? How will this stand up to wear and handling? How do I successfully integrate the look and feel of mosaic? It is after all a mosaic competition. Can I integrate the effect of peeling away the layers to reveal (illuminate) the image beneath? It's times like this that it helps to have like minded friends - those who love books, art and are creative souls. All going well, and with a dose of faith, things will come together. Time will tell.