I was thinking that perhaps the deepest goal of many mixed media artists is the synthesis of acquired artistic information. That, and uncovering layers of the self in order to truly know it and express it. My own personal learning ethic is to acquire as much information as possible, then integrate it. From this, an original knowledge set is born, and a personal style, as well. My joy is in expressing the mix to uncover the layers.
It's a very "liberal artsy" outlook and one that I hold dear. It requires continuing education in a lot of arenas. Both inside and outside the comfort zone, and sometimes conflicting in purpose, style and opinion. Art is born from the resolution of the problems that occur in the conflict. Artists are problem solvers.
The pic above is the front cover of one of the books I'll be using in Juliana Coles Field Notes class. This one is hand made and the basic style for this book is currently being taught by Kelly Kilmer in her Memories and Reflections class. My tweaks to this book include the hand painted canvas cover and the arrangement of it's innards. The spine is stippled black acrylic paint over a highly detailed plastic doily, courtesy of my friend Jo who is an antique dealer. The first time I used plastic doilies as stencils was in one of Kelly's classes, and I fell in love with stippling. Not so much the spray or misted paints though. I like the more precise control that comes with paint on brush or sponge.
I've devised three distinct sections to the inside of this book, and have left a generous amount of expansion room in the spine for the advent of additional material. The center is a single sewn signature of various lightweight drawing papers. On either side of the signature are accordion folds of heavier weight paper: drawing paper on one side and watercolor on the other.
You can see that there are an impressive number of pages to be worked, all of which can be folded or unfolded into two-page spreads. The tie is braided from three lengths of black silk ribbon. The brass heart has a "made in Sweden" stamp and was included in a grab bag of assorted pieces and findings.
Along with the traditional art curriculum, I learned basic bookbinding skills in college. But I'll never pass up the opportunity to add to the repertoire. The final product always arises out of the conflict of what to keep and what to discard of each piece of gleaned information. I never tire or feel a glut of information. I've discovered that there's a file folder for everything in an artist's brain, with an infinite capacity to hold more, synthesize more and integrate everything.
Now to fill it up. The book and it's papers are precious only as a means of storing the information they will hold, which in turn will not be precious as artwork, but infinitely valuable as a reflection of the artist's heart and soul.