It has finally started, my 16 week long novel writing course with Deborah Bailey at the Nottingham Writer’s Studio. Yesterday was the first session, and I can feel my mind buzzing. I hope I’ll indeed finish that book of which I have bits in my head since summer 2018 when I got a high fever for two days on a three day vacation with my sister and her family, and spent two days lying in bed while they were at the beach. I have a lot of fragments of which I don’t really know where they go yet, often no more than a couple of lines long, and some thoughts that I can’t quite sort through yet. If Deborah really manages to make me write this all down, that will be an amazing task – I wouldn’t be surprised or too disappointed if I get stuck along the way. This is the first workshop or the like I ever took that focused on writing, and I am so looking forward to really getting into the matter. We have a good plate full of exercises and homework to do, and stuff to read and write. – This is why I really wanted to finish with 346 before this weekend. But – of course – I didn’t.
In the past week I felt rather frustrated with the whole box making thing, and taking the waiting for one of the books recommended to me after I asked on the book arts forum as an excuse, I focused on the cover art. I drew this and that. Admittedly once again not as much as I would have liked because it was a week busy with other things as well. In the end I decided to make a drypoint from the picture I tried before, and I also tried chine collé for the first time. In the workshop at Leicester which I took two years ago, they taught us how to do it with dry wallpaper paste powder. I can see that it could work, but I definitely need some more training with the method: I have pockets with dry powder in some areas, and other didn’t want to stick. But all in all I am happy with the experiment, and think I’ll go for a more detailed print next. I think this could actually work for a cover. Ideally, I’d have a group of fish swim through the sky outside the window. – We’ll see.
Today I returned to boxmaking. I realized I need another mock-up, but I am a bit scared by the boxes big format: It is close to a cube with 30cm (12″) edges. So this morning, while looking at the models, and thinking once again about what kind of box I would want to make, I decided to make a model of the model, and the scroll of course, too.
Below you see how I envision the box for now: on the left the model will sit. The box has, or rather will have, reinforced edges and thus will slot into the plate on the left. On the right there is closed compartment, because the scroll just really doesn’t need so much headspace (maybe I’ll put a secret message inside), and on the upper right there’s a place for the scroll to sit. I had thought I’d make it a “top loader”, but making this model made me realize that I prefer it this way. Below you’ll see a short video where you can see this mock-up in action.
I am so happy that I took my time to make this model. Although it is so small, it took me two A3 sheets of cardboard. – I wouldn’t have thought! That tells me to think twice about what I want to use for the real thing, and to check whether I really have enough. But most importantly it makes it much easier for me to decide how I want to cover it, and what walls I really want to have dropping down and so on. While making the model I already understood what ideas of mine had been really non-suitable. I am not so convinced by this “slot-into-place” thing with the base plate for the model. I think I’ll rather have a complete plate attached to the removable box after all, and a “normal” floor for the box. But I’ll have to give that another thought.
Well, it is half-term, and for the next week I have the kids at home and a lot of homework for my writing course. That leaves me just one week in February to finish before the entry deadline for the VOLUMEN exhibition of scrolls in Venice, Italy. – At the moment I am at the point where I am losing hope I’ll finish by then. But I am sure this will come together some time, and I am very much looking forward to it. And then I can finally try out my screen printing machine!