A view from the porch at Annabelle's front porch. This has been y favorite spot to lounge after work and read a book.
This week has flown by; the fact that its Tuesday night already mystifies me. After the fantastic visit to Calrose Typesetters last week I have continued to have great experiences and meet great people. On Saturday Jan 26 I walked down the hill to the zoo, unfortunately I forgot sunscreen and suffered the consequences of the South African sun.
When I first arrived at the zoo at 9am the light was just to die for.
The lions, tigers, bears, zebras and elephants were all going about their lazy summer morning routines.
The brown bears kept it super easy and napped in the shade.
After an hour of aimless wandering throughout the park, partially due to my inability to read the map because of a confusion as to which entrance I came in, I came across the two seemingly unluckiest folks on the lot. The Johannesburg Zoo is the only zoo in Africa that has polar bears. If you think about it Johannesburg is about as far from the equator as New York and these polar bears are both older than me so maybe its not as bad as it seems. Standing there in the summer heat and watching them wait for the zookeeper to toss in a couple of chunks of ice with fish, kibble, and a chicken frozen in it, I couldn't help but imagine what these bears think of the situation they have found themselves in.
Sunday, I was at the Arts on Main location helping Talya print two intaglio editions for an artist names Tegan. While I was there I met Jack Ginsberg, South Africa's main collector of artists books, and Alan Jeffrey who works at the Brenthurst Library (http://www.brenthurst.org.za/). Its absolutely amazing to me how serendipitous everything surrounding this trip has been, two very important and useful figures for me to meet just so happen to wander in to DKW while I was there on the weekend.
Alan invited me to come by on Tuesday and see the Brenthurst Library which is an elegant building on a hillside near Annabelle's house that was founded by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. Alan showed me around his beautiful book restoration/conservation/binding room, the main library, the art collection, and Sir Oppenheimer's private study which contained some absolutely incredible examples of gold tooling, leather box making containing first editions of European romantic poets, and handwritten letters between important historical figures such as Lord Byron! Alan also gave me some great advice and great leads on where to buy book making supplies in Johannesburg.
The focus of the week was preparing for the upcoming bookmaking workshop which was to be held on Saturday at the Arts on Main location and working with Kate McCrickard, our artist in residence who resides in Paris and who also used to run the David Krut Gallery in New York City. She is a painter and printmaker working on a new body of work for an upcoming show in March. She worked on creating two suites of etchings and a whole bunch of monotypes. It was amazing to see the way her work progressed as the week went on. She was fearless when it came to making new marks and the vibe of the shop while she was in it buzzed with energy without any anxiousness. I learned how to put steel facing on copper plates and put my skills to the test with a couple of Kate's plates. I also assisted Jill, Mlungise and Talya in proofing the etchings and printing the monotypes.
A few of Kate's many plates after they've been steel faced
Kate burnishing a plate
Belgian Lace Binding or Secret Belgian Binding
Saturday came and the bookmaking workshop went swimmingly. We had five participants at first then four more walked in around 10:30am so we prepared more paper and caught them up. Our group included DKW artists, DKW staff and interns. We kept the first class in house so that it could function as a trial run. I had already taught Siphiwe and Chad how to make the structure while I was making the example book (pictured above) on Wednesday. Chad could then assist me in teaching the workshop on Saturday.
Demonstrating to the class how to place the end paper once the cover board has been covered with decorative paper
Covering the spine pieces with decorative paper
Teaching the Frank Mowery trick of folding over the short side of the decorative paper
Robyn Penn and her daughter Mia giggling about the spine piece
Demonstrating proper paper punching posture and hand postioning
Senzo Shabangu and I, with Chad in the background, making sure that all the holes are straight
Senzo and Kate Vota sewing their covers with the utmost attention to detail
We managed to make a bit of a mess...
But the books came out lovely!
Today was Kate's last day in the shop so it was a bit of a scramble to make sure that all the plates were ready to go for the editioning process. We did have some lovely cake and tea to celebrate a successful collaboration but it was brief to ensure maximum working and perfecting time.
Kate and Jill preparing a large monotype to go through the press
One of the last prints that Kate made. It's a good summation of the feeling of all of us after her residency, exhausted! I cant wait to see images of her show all hung up in New York and I look forward to editioning the plates she made with us this week.
Oh and one last thing, CONGRATS RAVENS! CAW! CAW!