Friday, December 7, 2007

Snapshots in time

The things we do for love. And that’s what this project keeps feeling like—a labor of love…or is it love’s labor lost? All I need, to quote the marvelous Marvell, is world enough and time.

But I am running out of both, at least for this specific class project. I’ll post the final draft of my project paper December 11 on Chatoyance, since I figured out how to use Blogger’s “read more” code there but not yet here.

I’m feeling looser and the work is flowing faster on the prototype for Rachel Barenblat’s book spreads, so there is some kinesthetic learning and muscle memory from my arts and crafts past waking up.

The project is a shared, community effort in many ways. Not just because of your support and interest, and those other friends known and unknown who have stopped by this blog.

I also had help from those folks who live close by. My friend Beth came over today (I took a vacation day from work) and spent the day cutting mattes while I worked on pages and the paper. Our working side by metaphoric side was very reflective of the guild craftsmen who worked to fill the demand for books of hours back in the Middle Ages. Many hands, joined to one process.

Speaking of process…the deeper I dug into this project, what had been peripheral (process) became central. I found the unexpected tie between the project’s process and Sol LeWitt’s “Sentences on Conceptual Art” one of the most interesting things to have surfaced during this work.

To quote Sol: “The artist’s will is secondary to the process he initiates from idea to completion.” Is that true? I don’t know…but there were times when my will was weak, and the barrel of process I put myself in provided enough momentum to keep going.

Ananda Coomaraswamy
defined art as “imitation, expression and participation.” It’s been (and will continue to be) a delight to participate in this with you, and this is not the last post.

There will be more after my last class, after I see what my professor thought of the work.

And I’m doing a directed study in art next semester focused on the medieval Book of Hours, so I will be able to riff on the theme even further.

(What’s the HTML for “a nicely theatrical bow as the author exits for the moment”?)


rbarenblat said...

Even just seeing these tantalizing glimpses of the project fills me with excitement. I can't wait to see more. This looks utterly beautiful.

I'm not sure I had realized that you were making an actual, paper, hold-it-in-your-hands Book of Hours. What an extraordinary endeavor. I hope you'll post photos here, and I hope someday to be able to hold it in my hands!

dinahmow said...

My (old) Oxford English Dictionary lists enchant right after enchain and it seems to me both are entirely appropriate here.
I've been following this since you first "put yourself out there" and I feel a strange sense of pride in your achievement. Well done!

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

and what is the HTML for "Bravo"?
I'm particularly taken by your comment about "muscle memory". I tend to write out in longhand the passages of those authors that truly impress me. As if the muscular act of linking their words to my fingers led to a deeper sense of ownership of their thoughts than the mere act of reading. Interestingly enough, I started translating a passage of a Camus lecture the other day. I was minding the shop at my husband's studio so I worked in longhand. And as I read the French while copying it down in English, it; just; flowed. As if, at some deep (yes, muscular) level, all that writing down of his words over the years had seeped right past the language barriers.
Sorry to be so wordy here (it's because I can't find the HTML for bravo)

Dinah said...

Hi, Lori.
I totally love your project!! I learned about it on Rachel's blog, Velveteen Rabbi, which is my favorite blog on the web. I have two other reasons for being interested in your project, too: First, I'm a book editor for the Getty Museum -- where I have edited many books about illuminated manuscripts, including books of hours. I thought you might be interested in one of our titles, "Margaret Makes a Book," a wonderfully illustrated children's book about a girl who helps make a medieval manuscript. You can read about it here:
And second, I'm also a poet and have just come out with a modern, English edition of a 19th-century Jewish book of hours (not illustrated) called "Hours of Devotion: Fanny Neuda's Book of Prayers for Jewish Women" (Schocken, 2007). Rachel reviewed it, in fact! And so did the NYTimes. You can read more about it on my web site,
I'll look forward to seeing how your artist's book of hours progresses. Keep up the great work!!
Dinah Berland