So here's the plan: to spend one full day in my studio every week. Now that I have a functional and comfortable space, I have no excuse (except fear and anxiety and piled-up unwatched episodes of House on Tivo) not to do this. So that's what I did today. I spent the morning tearing paper and gluing covers for two coptic-stitch books I plan to sew tomorrow (at a meeting of the ad hoc Book GeekSewing Circle) and the afternoon playing with techniques for making ATCs (artist trading cards). All this, and I made it through 5 CDs worth of The Piano Tuner. Note: I've decided that books-on-tape -- or books-on-cds in this case -- are a terrific complement to the mindless parts of making books. I've also come to the conclusion that it's better to listen to non-fiction or to light fiction under these circumstances. The Piano Tuner is neither (one reviewer on amazon.com referred to is as "Heart of Darkness meets Fitzcarraldo," which is fairly apt), and trying to take it in to it while I'm doing something else has reminded me that I'd rather have the book in hand if I'm reading something serious, unless it's a favorite that I've already read and enjoyed, and to which I'm listening simply for the pleasure of hearing the words out loud (Jane Austen's novels are great for this).
That aside aside, I decided to try making ATCs because they struck me as the least threatening way to approach the blank page. You can't get much smaller than 2 1/2" x 3 1/2," which is the standard ATC size -- although I understand people out there (who ARE these "people"?) are now making things called "inchies" (people with very good eyesight, I expect). Working on the smaller canvas of an ATC is nowhere near as daunting to me as filling up a PAGE. Along the way, I tell myself, I'll exercise my creativity muscles, explore new techniques, and see what I move toward and away from. To prepare for the journaling class I'll be taking in the spring, I've decided to start keeping a visual journal, which will give me the opportunity to make the ATC goodies part of that process.
For the curious, which includes me, here is what's considered the original ATC web site. The first public introduction of ATCs is attributed to a Swedish artist, m.vänçi stirnemann, who mounted an exhibition in 1997. Visitors to the exhibit were invited to take one of the cards from the exhibit in exchange for leaving one of theirs.