Library Card Catalog Cards! & Vintage “Found Poem” Valentine…

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‘Tis the Season of Love… and I love some new adventures in the studio making greeting cards from altered vintage library card catalog cards!  Depending on the year of your birth, you may or may not wax nostalgic about those big, clunky, glorious card catalog files which used to be a fixture in every library.  Sighhh.  Swooon.

I’m always on the hunt for vintage items and ephemera to re-purpose into found poem art.  (Click here for a post about a workshop I led at Poetry Camp a few months ago if you’d like to see some details about the process.) When I stumbled into purchasing a big batch of catalog cards which used to live in an elementary school library, my heart skipped a beat.  While most of these don’t easily offer up a found poem possibility, some do!  (I’ll use the others in something else, I’m sure.)

I first tested this project with a Poem Postcard Exchange  with my Poetry Friday crowd over at my author blog. The exchange was organized by Jone MacCulloch, and I posted about the cards I received here and here.

I made five different cards to send out by 1.) “antiquing” the edges of thick Stonehenge paper with inks, 2.) carving and printing a “back” for the postcard:

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3.) picking out phrases from the catalog cards to highlight as found text (the words covered up here by adhesive strips of sticky notes):

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and 4.) painting glossy washes over the words, 5.) removing the sticky note strips, and 6.) adhering the cards to the front of the postcards. Oh – and I used this great little antique key to print its shape onto the cards.

I completely forgot to take a picture of any of the finished ones, so Jone kindly sent me a photo of the one I sent to her!

20170205_172612 my postcard i sent to jone 2017 her pic ADJ sm

Jone writes haiku, as I do, so I thought she’d enjoy the haiku-like vibe of this one.

I’ve made a few recent cards for family and friends, and employed this catalog card idea. Then I decided it would be fun to find one that might lend itself to being a Valentine, or at least a romantic card, above.  Here’s a closeup of the text:

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For fun, I attached a vintage library card pocket inside, and tucked in a blank vintage check-out card for a personal message:

inside magnetism card c

DSC09233 magnet valentine library card cThe illustration on this card was clipped from the February 1927 issue of Country Life.

   

I had time to make one more before leaving for the day:

LIFE a poem library card card c

 

This one reads:

 

LIFE – 

a poem

of

wanderings,

wilderness

family,

and

Stories

 

It’s topped off with an illustration clipped from a McGuffey’s Eclectic Reader (1920).

And, yes, it’s hiding away a vintage blank check-out card in a vintage paper pocket, too:

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These cards are made with Strathmore textured paper and come with matching envelopes.  At 5 X 7, they can be easily framed if desired. They’re in my Etsy shop, and I’ll be making more, for sure. :0)

Thanks for visiting, and wishing you love for Valentine’s Day and all days!

A Peek at Micro Found Poem Christmas Ornaments…

 

Click here for this listing in my Etsy shop.

Click here for this listing in my Etsy shop.

Some weeks there’s some cross-pollination between my writing blog and my art blog.  Today for Poetry Friday, I featured a Christmas poem by George Cooper from the December 26, 1896 edition of GOLDEN DAYS for Boys and Girls published in Philadelphia by James Elverson. This is the newsprint magazine that yielded those mini-ornament found poems I featured on my author blog a couple of weeks ago. (And promptly sold in my Etsy shop to my online poetry friends!)

I found one more teeny frame in my studio this week. I’m certain this is the last one (would love to come across more either online or in a thrift store!) . This one was missing its wee bit of hardware, but I improvised.

Here is the highlighted text:

passion

is contagious,

be merry

For this one day,
be merry with heart

 

and here are a couple of pictures of the ornament-in-progress.

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For a slightly more detailed “how-to” with actual words, click here for my account of making a small batch of these year before last.

Whatever your faith tradition, I hope you FIND much to be merry about this holiday season!

Happy Poetry Month! Sharing a Vintage Mixed Media/Found Poem Piece…

 

vertical for blog heart poems c I hope you are having a Wonderful Poetry Month!  In my corner of the virtual world, the Kidlitosphere, bloggers and poets are celebrating all month long with fun and inspiring projects.  You can find a roundup by the terrific Jama Kim Rattigan at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

One of these years I’ll have it together to do something beyond a few special posts on my robynhoodblack.com blog in April. Like last year, I’m participating in the Progressive Poem today and will host Poetry Friday this coming Friday.

But I did sneak over to the studio to finish a little project I’ve been wanting to make for weeks. (I was “homebound” in early April finishing some freelance writing assignments and hosting company.) This little framed mixed media piece features highlighted text from CROWN JEWELS – OR GEMS OF LITERATURE, ART AND MUSIC, compiled by Henry Davenport Northrop, D. D., copyright 1887 by J. R. Jones. The original text was given a glossy acrylic wash and boasts a vintage heart key, a snip of vintage lace, and a small fancy vintage watch hand from France.

heart poems close up cIt says:

life

contains

heart-poems.

 

 

The frame is one of four I found in an antique shop a few years ago. It’s about 4 and 1/2 by 5 inches – wooden, made in Italy.  It has the loveliest handpainted turquoise color, with antique (very antique-y looking now!) white paint as well.  It’s full of character (slight imperfections), and I kept the little triangle brass hanger attached at the top.

I was tempted to keep it, as I rather like the simple message this old text yielded.  But I also love it when someone comes along and says a piece like this speaks to them, or they have the perfect person in mind to give it to.  So I listed it in my Etsy shop.

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Whether it sells quickly or hangs around a long while, I wish its sentiment for you always:  that your life is full of heart-poems!  Happy Poetry Month.

Art Break Wednesday – Poetry Month, Austin Kleon, Found Poems

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Happy Poetry Month!  Because I’m a poet as well as a visual artist, I especially love April.

About this time last year, with a couple of Atlanta writing buds,  I got to hear and meet New York Times bestselling author Austin Kleon.  Sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book, he spoke at the DeKalb County Public Library about his book, STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST – 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative.  Ready for more black and white graphics?

StealLikeAnArtist

You might know writer and artist Kleon from his 2010 NEWSPAPER BLACKOUT:

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dedication page Austin Kleon 2012 RHB(I was happy that he signed both of my books with his signature arrow-through-the-head image.)

 

Do click over to his blog to check out his work.  He’s a warm, funny, engaging speaker addressing creativity in the digital age.  He’s also a new dad (awwwww…!) and presents common sense ideas about creating in uncommonly understandable terms.

Robyn with Austin Kleon 4 2012

 

 

He’s spoken to audiences at Pixar, Google, and The Economist, to name a few organizations.  Intrigued?  Check out his TEDx Talk.  His work has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS Newshour, and in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

One of my favorite things about his books is the introduction to NEWSPAPER BLACKOUT.  The book contains dozens of “redacted” poems created with a permanent marker and newspaper articles.  You’ll have to check out his blog to see examples!  Anyway, in the intro, Kleon gives us an abbreviated history of this type of poetry – stretching back more than 250 years!  As a lover of found poetry (my first publications in an anthology came in THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK – A Book of Found Poems  edited by Georgia Heard and illustrated by Antonie Gullioppé, Roaring Brook Press, 2012), I was hooked on this surprisingly rich history as well as on the poems.  Why not try some yourself?

The few found poem collages I’ve made for my art business and my Etsy shop have found buyers these past few months (Yay!  Thanks, Buyers!), so I’m conjuring up some more.  Here’s a peek at one just done – when the glue finishes drying (!) I’ll take some real photos and list it tomorrow.  I always start with a real page from a vintage book.  This one is from p. 47 of A LITERARY PILGRIMAGE, Seventh Edition, by Dr. Theodore F. Wolfe, J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia: 1896.  (Such a lovely laid texture on those pages!)  I use the real page but photocopy it to work out the found poem before I paint over the original text with gouache, leaving only the bits I want for the poem unpainted.

discarded stanzas in process RHB

Once the poem emerges and the paint dries, I attach to a prepared substrate (background surface I’ve already painted – Canson matboard in this case) and embellish with vintage metal elements.  I’ve been waiting for just the right piece to use this twisted black piece on (from an Eastern European Etsy dealer!) – it reminds me of a figure, specifically, a Kokopelli type figure playing his flute.  A prankster and storyteller, I think of him as a poet, too, and he seemed to fit here beside the “preface” line of “footsteps lightly print the ground.” – a line from Thomas Gray on this page.

discarded stanzas image adj RHBWritten out, the found poem would look like this:

Discarded Stanzas

the poet’s footsteps lightly print the ground

what was

the transcending quality of

such stanzas

divinest poetry

of a noble soul

on which

bereft mortals meditate

on the way to

darkness

discarded stanzas framed RHB

For a look at my process making another found poem collage, click here.

Thanks for stopping by, and wishing you a month full of art AND poetry!

(Thurs. Update – Listed this new found poem collage in my Etsy shop.) :0)

Art Break Wednesday – and a Book Give-away!

 

WELCOME to ART BREAK WEDNESDAY here on artsyletters!   Grab your coffee or tea and visit each week to find creative inspiration, camaraderie, and special give-aways.

What inspires you?

As a writer/poet, I’m a sucker for the written word.  My recent artistic adventures reflect that – whether in subject matter (books, etc.) or in substance (vintage book pages, old typewriter parts and keys, and the like.).  While my artwork is predominantly black and white, sometimes I like to color things up a bit.

Here’s how I made the 5 X 7 collage I featured in my Poetry Friday post last week on my writer blog.

(detail)

 

 

 

First, I found a section of text from a vintage book that had “found poem” possibilities (double-checking online first to make sure it wasn’t the last rare copy of this edition or anything!).  This is page 206 of the 1922 JOURNEYS THROUGH BOOKLAND (Vol. 6) compiled by Charles H. Sylvester. It’s the first page of a story called “The Poet and the Peasant” by French novelist Emile Souvestre.

 

I added a little bling to that inviting initial “A” in the form of some 23-kt gold leaf.

 

 

 

Then I played with the text on a photocopy to “find” my poem before working on the real page of text.  I wanted to use the first part of the story title to call the poem, “The Poet.”  I applied blue-green gouache washes (mixed with gel medium) to the page, leaving the words I wanted highlighted untouched.  I added some darker washes underneath the words to make them pop. Then I sprayed workable fixative on the page.  When dry, I applied acrylic gloss medium over all of it.

Now for the fun part!  I wandered over to my old metal cabinet (does anyone know what this was originally for?  I snapped it up on a trip with my artist friends, Paula and Beth, at a local antiques market day).  It’s full of recent treasures such as vintage objects and old metal pieces I’ve found on Etsy or picked up on the side of the road!  It also holds small letterpress letters and antique type keys and such.

I tried out a few elements to arrange on the page as a collage and settled on these.  The beautiful old watch face, vintage key, and vintage Remington typewriter part were all Etsy finds.

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

I glued them on to the altered page, placed the piece in a frame that could be used as a shallow shadowbox (from a local art/craft store), and, Voila!  Now I have a mixed-media tribute to the observational qualities of “The Poet.”

 

 

 

 

Another essential source of inspiration for me is enjoying the creative work of others – in museums, online, or in books and magazines.  I’ve just read ART AT THE SPEED OF LIFE by Pam Carriker (Interweave Press, 2010).  This mixed media artist and blogger offers up a feast for busy artists.  You can savor a variety of artists and projects at a leisurely pace or grab your inspiration “to go” – the author offers “Speed of Life” versions of instructions for some of the featured works, perfect to fill an art journal in just a few days.  Whatever pace you prefer, I’d love to send you this copy!

Please leave a comment below about what inspires YOU, and you will be entered in my first book give-away.  [Deadline for Entry is midnight EST Monday, Oct. 8.]  One winner will be randomly selected, and then I’ll email you for your mailing address.  Thanks for playing along!

 

 

 

[Two of Robyn’s found poems for children appear in Georgia Heard’s THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK (Roaring Brook, 2012), illustrated by Antoine Guilloppé.   This featured shadowbox and other altered pages artwork can be found in her Etsy shop – more coming soon! ]