Over the past couple of months, I have been busy finishing up and putting the final touches on The Amichai Windows. Here is a medley of pictures to give you a sense of how my artist book is coming together. . . !
Yehuda Amichai frequently argues with God in his poems.
Raised in an Orthodox household, Amichai stopped practicing when he became a teenager — much to the dismay of his father. They argued about God and Jewish ritual practice for years. In fact, Amichai continued to argue with him long after his father died.
When I had the idea of working with a papercut artist on The Amichai Windows, I never thought that I would end up working with the papercut artist who did the ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) when my wife and I got married years earlier. Continue reading
At long last, I have finished printing the poems for The Amichai Windows !
It is a real milestone. I have been at work for the last three months, mostly ignoring the rest of my life — exercising, gardening, reading, writing, socializing, etc.
Recently, my brother — Bruce Black — accompanied me to Pyramid Atlantic, took some photos and made a short video of me at work on one of the last poems that I did, My Son Is Drafted. Continue reading
Letterpress is a type of ‘relief” printing of text and images that is primarily used today for art and wedding invitations, birth announcements and other special occasions. It is done on a cylinder or platen press where a reversed and raised surface is inked and then literally imprinted into the paper itself.
The decision to use letterpress for The Amichai Windows had to do with making the words an integral part of the paper itself. I am also using various plates of images to lend the spreads texture — the outline of a Jerusalem window or a dove or a clock — and to emphasize certain words and letters. Continue reading
I have made the first handful of digital prints of The Amichai Windows. It’s quite exciting — it has only taken eight years or more to get to this point.
As I move along, I am finalizing design elements, adjusting image placements and colors.
The good news is that I found a place nearby, CSI, which prints exhibitions for the museums in Washington, D.C., that is helping me cut down the paper. The Japanese washi paper that I’ll be using for the poems comes in large sheets that are about 23 x 33 inches. Continue reading
“From his earliest poems, archeology has been a primary source of metaphors for Amichai’s perception of the human condition,” wrote Robert Alter, a Hebrew translator and literary scholar, in a New York Times magazine article in 1986. “He sees both the self and history as an elaborate depositing of layers in which nothing is ever entirely buried from sight, in which the earliest strata uncannily obtrude upon the latest.” Continue reading
With New Year’s and the January blizzard behind us, it’s a quiet time of year. Which is just what I need to dig in again and start making more progress on producing The Amichai Windows.
Each poem will be made as a triptych that contains an inner and an outer sheet of paper that will function like a frame. Recently, I spent a week or so experimenting on how to attach the internal sheets (which will contain the poems) and the external sheets of handmade paper. I thought that I had two options: to glue or to sew. But, happily, discovered a third way to do it that I think is going to work the best. Continue reading