I seem to be genetically incapable of working on one thing at a time, so I am researching and pondering 2 book projects and stretching canvases for new paintings, as other ideas dance like sugar plums in the back of my mind.
My commitment (last year) to make a book for Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here has been an exercise in what I don’t want it to be, and I have spent a year thinking, reading, looking at other books, and being stymied. It wasn’t until I signed up for another group project, Book-Art-Object, that a concept arose that seemed to fit, and, I hope, will merge the two commitments into one book.
The title I chose for BAO is Making Bread. I started thinking about Mesopotamia, the Cradle of Civilization, the Fertile Crescent as the breadbasket, all information stuck in my head in 7th grade Geography class. And then, Baghdad as a focus of high culture and the irony of moving from heights of intellectual creativity to fear and fundamentalist intolerance. Now I am reading histories of bread and writing in my journal about having grown up in an intellectually curious extended family amid fear-instilling radio and television news reports of the Cold War, Viet Nam, and myriad civil wars, genocides, famines around the world. Man’s unimaginable inhumanity to fellow man, but not in my neighborhood.
I started making bread in High School, as my Sunday morning meditative replacement for going to church, and as a way to connect with the millions of people who make bread around the planet (yes, I was an aspiring Hippy). I have added the subtitle (Not Bombs) to Making Bread to merge these ideas, and am trying different structures in sketches- soon to be working models. Hedi Kyle’s flag book, with its interleaving fragments, seems most satisfying at this point, but everything could change before the book is actually editioned!
My creative process tends to develop through a sometimes painfully slow germination process, making lists, trying out and rejecting possibilities, and eventually having a sudden “Eureka!” moment when a path is revealed to me. And so, progress is being made, however slowly.