Artist talk at T.W. Wood Gallery summer camp
Today I had the privilege of talking to a bunch of kids at the T.W. Wood Gallery Summer Art Camp. I got to put on my bookbinder hat, which was hard because it’s hot and humid here and my frizzy, curly hair creates unfortunate hat interference.
I started off by telling the kids that I made art all through my childhood – painting, ceramics, drawing. I showed them the first book I ever made (or at least that I have), The Dog Who Couldn’t Bark. It is one of my finer works, made of oak tag and bound with staples.
At the kids’ request, I read the story at the end of my talk.
I talked about the tools and materials that I use in my work, then passed them around so the kids could experience them firsthand. They seemed particularly interested in the glue eraser. Perhaps it was because I described it as “kind of boogery”.
Something I learned pretty quickly – when you tell kids to let you know if they have any questions…
…this is what happens.
Kids ask the best questions. In fact, I’m pretty sure that a kid near the front of the group was a professional question asker. He kept me on my toes.
Do you have a studio in your house? What do you use the leather for? How long have you been making books? How long does it take you to make a book? Where do you sell your work? What’s the most expensive book you have?
[quickly followed by]
What’s the least expensive book you have?
I showed them about a dozen different bindings, ranging from accordion to coptic. I also brought some of my one-of-a-kind pieces, which they seemed to enjoy.
We talked about how sometimes you only want to make one of something and keep it for yourself. I was then asked what I do when someone wants to buy something that I want to keep for myself.
My advice was simple – just tell them no. Repeatedly. Sooner or later, they’ll get it.
It seems that no matter what I try to cover in a presentation, I will never ever ever get all the way through my outline. Ever. I think I’m starting to be okay with that.
Many thanks to the art camp for inviting me to speak today – I had a great time!