alice miniature kleiner
miniature alice book

Hello, and happy new year 2016 everyone! I am back from a short vacation in Germany. As mentioned in the quick post before I left, the time before Christmas was stressful like it is for everyone, filled with projects to finish so they can be gifts, other gifts to buy, wrap and send with the post. To top off the general frenzy I had some medical problems that required frequent visits in hospital (luckily I could avoid being “held” over night, although I made a narrow escape once by discharging myself) and required that I rest a lot. Now all that is behind me. I had another two visits with medical staff this week, and a -hopefully- final visit in hospital tomorrow.

Despite the busy schedule, I made the miniature book that you can see above for my dear M for Christmas. What I really gave him was Alice in a World of Wonderlands, three heavy big books about the Alice in Wonderland translations. When I mentioned that I was not going to take my present for him to Germany and then back because it was too heavy, M. asked for a miniature or something he could receive as a substitute. And so I made the book for him. It has been my first case binding in ages, but was a lot of fun to do once more! I even added silk sewn headbands. – They are a lot wonkier than I would like (hence no close-up), but still, – headbands!

Both the miniature book and the books themselves were well received. And now I am back in my studio, and I could and should get working again. – And I did! While I couldn’t get up, I worked on a translation of one of my instructions, and finished it yesterday. So now the simple leather binding kit is also available with instructions in English. But what I really ought to do, or want to do, is to finish 346.

choosing covering fabric and headbands silk kleiner
choosing covering fabric and headbanding silk, bound book on tapes on the bottom

It is silly of course, to reserve a special time, a random mark on a calendar called New Year for reflection. Casting a look back and forward, adjusting family and business plans, is something I normally do on a regular basis. Still I feel it is something that was lacking from my Christmas holidays. I was so busy with other things, and now I am trying to catch up with this: sorting through thoughts and rationalizing feelings I have had in the past weeks. And so I have not been working as much in this first week in my studio as I wished and maybe should have. I find myself lingering and contemplating… Thinking about how to continue with my supplies business, how to fit in time for art. And what kind of art I want to make.

miniature worlds
some recent messages in bottles

I worked now for approximately 14 months on 346, not to count all the thoughts I put in before that. Since I have arrived in England, I have been working on several personal projects which are all unfinished: soulsong (aka bloodsong) in various forms, 346, some smaller things I have not menioned before and have no working titles. I somehow never seem to finish these. Also my ruled worlds and geometry projects are on halt since I started to work on 346. What I did finish and work on with ease and joy is my project message in a bottle, which is refreshingly stress-free for me.

056 blog
bloodsong or soulsong as it looked like when I abandoned it

These stories and books that involve my personally more… I really want to finish them, but I want them to be right. Other things come easier to me, and I made them sort of in between: absences, the nightmare box, erased, the book I sent to Cathryn last year: chasing infinity, and others, in 2015 I made a series of prints (woman with hat), took a printmaking course and learned kitchen litho printing at home, participated in the bookmark project, woman with child was my first submission to a printmaking competition, I made a bookbinding kit, many miniatures, and probably other things that don’t come to mind right now. Somehow I even tend to forget to count them as things I made and accomplished, it took a big effort to think about what I made, and it somehow surprises me that they are there. I tend to think I have been working on soulsong and 346 and just can’t finish them and so I have not done much.
I read in an article somewhere a little while ago, that artists (or anyone, really) can feel they don’t accomplish much, especially if and when something comes to them easily, because they then feel it wasn’t work and anyone could have done it.

Have I stepped into a trap here? A trap of my mind that makes me think that to make meaningful art, real art, it should be more work. Maybe it is a mistake to try and incorporate biographic parts into my work directly. Writing about these definitely doesn’t come easy to me. It is so much harder for me to judge whether I am using the right words, whether the story is interesting to anyone but me. Imagery and words don’t seem to fit together well, and don’t generate the feel that I am looking for for the book and the materials used… But then, I genuinely want to make these books, so maybe this is not a trap but a necessary process to go through and learn from?

Making of
346 dummy, half pulled out if its enclosure

Despite all I said, I did push my project further this year. Now I am really happy with the current form of 346 (a scroll with one dowel). I have more plans for the complete structure in my head, and I would like to now just pull this through in an effort and then be done. But every time I take the current dummy in my hands I realize something is still wrong. Something is still missing maybe. I don’t know what it is. I guess I’ll keep on searching, and making message in bottles in the meantime. I hope I’ll find that something soon. Then finally I get to work on different books. There are some I would like to make, that have been living in my mind for a while. But also thoughts and plans for soulsong come to me frequently. I am definitely not done with that book either.

On a lighter note: Do you still remember that I started a new monthly series of “webfinds wednesday” in November? Well, you didn’t see anything in December because, well, it was December and all the reasons above. But the thing is still “alive”, and I do have something for next Wednesday and a Follow-up Friday interview which I hope you’ll both like 🙂 Talk to you then!

2 replies on “Back in my Studio, welcome 2016”

  1. I’m so very sorry to hear about your latest medical… ehem… adventures! (AGH!) I do hope that you have now recovered. (And, yes, checking yourself out and escaping from an overnight visit in the clutches of the medical system sounded like a good idea! AGH!)

    What a sweet little Alice book for M! What a clever gift.

    I suspect that you have a harder time with the autobiographical pieces because they mean more to you. People who set high standards for themselves can be the worst at getting things done! Nothing will ever measure up with the vision in our heads — it’s impossible. Sometimes I think that’s one of the hardest things about creating.

    I actually am amazed (seriously!) at how productive you are. You do a lot, even in spite of your responsibilities with the little ones (and the odd contact with the medical system… AGH!).

    1. Hello Ellen,

      thanks again for your comment! Beeing in too close proximity to the medical system yourself, I know that you are familiar with how energy sucking hospitals can be in and of themselves, even when trying to factor out the reason for going there in the first place.
      I saw that you made New Year’s cards by hand this year again, and even wrote a tutorial on your blog about it. I am so sorry that I didn’t write a comment yet. I made several attempts but couldn’t seem to find good words to write. I am rather impressed that you found the time and energy to make them! I for my part passed out on handmade cards this year.

      And while I am on the topic of impressing with getting things done: I always feel I should get done much more. Currently I actually have a lot of time for myself, my work and my art. The twins are in school 5 days a week for more than 6 hours after all. But somehow, the less time I had for myself, the more efficient I became. Now that I have more time to myself, I catch myself spending more and more time on facebook, reading silly stories that are not even interesting, instead of getting work done… But I should probably just shut up, and enjoy that I managed to impress 🙂

      As for being (too) perfectionist with autobiographical work: That may be the case. But it might also just not be “my thing”.
      I tried to evolve my work my looking at other’s books, find out what I like about them, and trying to incorporate that into my art. It is no secret that I admire your books and work. I am impressed how lightly and yet critically you can write and work about your personal fight with illness. How you delicately weaved a smile in there with codex (daily planner, too, but I love the codex pills), how you create atmosphere in Be Careful What You Take To Bed With You …
      I wish I could work like that. But maybe it is time to admit that I just can’t. My attempts at working in personal content +directly, writing about experiences and persons, end up as illustrated diary entries. They lack that little bit of something that would make them more than just personal. I am still on a lookout for the twist that will make 346 more than it currently is.

      So I am thinking, probably this is just not the way to go for me, as much as I might want it to. My process smoother and ideas came forward with less effort when I was talking about reading, about books, script, reading experiences and the magic of books. With 346 I might be trying something artificial, rather than making art. – But I am not giving up yet on this book now. Not when I have come so far. I just wish I could have finished it already and now could move on to something else. 🙂

      Mhm, that was a longer answer than was being called for, I guess. Your comment helped me think about all this a little more. Thanks for your help! And thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment. I appreciate this very much.

      A happy and creative 2016 to you! I hope along your way you’ll find calm and peace to spend some time in your studio and manage to express what needs being said. In whatever fashion seems appropriate and manageable, whether it be a new book, or a couple of pages in a plaything. I am looking forward to following your blog and your story for another year!


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