Lady With the Hat (Bill) –

I don’t really know where she came from – my best explanation would be from the tip of a pencil.

After that, the decisions become more conscious. Where is the light coming from, should the hat be green instead (maybe)?

I’d like to know what she’s hiding.

Paper Things (Beth) –

“If you turn it,” Bill says, “it’s a landscape.”

I turn the blank book I’ve just finished making a full ninety-degrees. The world I’d conjured in terms of vague verticalities—here are the curtains, here is the breeze—is transformed into a spare forest of dark-blue, stick-armed trees. Snow coming. Wind, quite possibly.

Or is that a bird that I see?

That’s the thing I keep discovering about the collages that I make: they cannot and should not be definitively explained. I work with cyanotypes and gelli prints, layers and edges, textures and dimensions. I experiment with homemade wheat paste and Lineco glue. I work until the fragments hint at a story and then (before I am certain of the plot) I walk away.

That’s because the covers I design for the blank books I make are meant to suggest and not dictate. The someday owner of this particular book will use it in her own spectacular way—see through the paint and the patchwork to the other side of whatever it is she’d like to say. Or draw. Or think.

The books I make will someday not belong to me.

To work in collage is to relinquish control of the plot. It is to let the fingers think.

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