I made an artist book last weekend…when I’m not writing, I’m always making something, I have a busy mind, so it needs to do something with that energy, and I poured into this artist book the things that I have no words for.
I kept it simple, black ink on white paper. I let the ink saturate the paper and it simply sprawled…(the page on the left is a self-portrait, that’s my left hand print (cuz I’m a lefty) and later on I wrote “I Am” in the lower left corner.)
I love this so much – you have no idea.
The artist statement is two sided (tho’ there is no determined front or back to it) and thought I’d translate it since my handwriting in white sharpie is so wildly shitty, it goes like this:
Going with the flow…a Sketchbook (subject to grow more) Handmade book – archival boards + India ink rag paper – hand torn – brush – Ink wash – rubbings on wet to dry paper (often sheets used as blotter paper made interesting marks.) Random mark making – these are the things I have no words for- 4/23/2017 Laura J. Wellner
There is a lot of energy while making art – raw experimentation – Looking, waiting to see what will happen – impulsive – there is no right or wrong – no up or down – no top or bottom – no right or left. Inspiration asks no questions it just is –
The inside cover without the pages, I wrote the poem Little Things by Julia Abegail Fletcher Carney, I was reminded of it last weekend when Meryl Streep sang it (dedicated it to Amanda Palmer’s little boy, Ash) at the Academy of American Poets evening event Poetry & the Creative Mind, it was so sweet, and I knew the poem, and it pleased me to be reminded of this lovely piece, so I included it in my sketchbook. It felt right. Then while writing it down I wrote “rain” instead of “water” so of course, there was no turning back…(Little Drops of Rain is a song Judy Garland sang that “borrowed” from the Carney poem. Featured in the 1962 animated film The Gay-Purree, cats in Paris – what the fuck, I love that movie!)
A lot of things poured into this little artist book, I’m quite happy with it.
My tools…and that big bottle of Higgin’s India Ink, I’ve had since the early 1990’s, a friend of mine who had it when she was an art student in the 1970’s gave it to me. It was nearly full when I started splashing around, it’s about half empty…
I’m still “crawling” through the first proof copy of Drinking from the Fishbowl, I’m taking my sweet old time. I’m looking the spots off of it. I found a few flubs-ups, but nothing too awful. And as always, while I’m working on a book, I’m insecure about it, my inner critic is being a real asshole to me along the way, so the inner battering has been a bit rough going. I expect to make a dent in it today.
Today. April 29th. Oh – today is wow – it’s been 18 years since I started writing my books. I opened up a salt n’ pepper notebook and started writing the first novel that I would ever complete. (I finished writing it on October 29th 1999.) I had a lot of stories that I started and discarded before this, but this is the day that I became more certain about what I must do. The first one, Washed Glass – is not yet published. Being the first one, it’s a bit of a mess. (I know it is a mess, but it’s a good kind of mess, my sitting on it for almost 20 years has granted me to become a better writer, so I can do it right this time around.) Without that first book, there wouldn’t be the others, while writing it, I found the other stories that became Dusty Waters, a Ghost Story, The Fractured Hues of White Light, and Drinking from the Fishbowl, and there’s also the drafts of Layers of Illusion and Wish that are waiting their turn for my attention. They’re all connected, kind of like Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, the characters know one another, and everyone has their story, but the books themselves are independent, they’re not a continuous series with a specific order. It’s complicated, but not.
Anyway, it makes me extremely happy.