Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova

I’m reading First Person Singular: Stories by Haruki Murakami. There’s a story called Charlie Parker plays Bossa Nova that is delightful. Another great collection of short stories from one of my all time favorite authors.


Chapter One WIP

I stumbled on these old books at work. They’ve been removed from circulation, and I found this whole scene to be inspiring. I took a few – they called out to be repurposed. Objects like Altoids tins and spoons sometimes do that to me.

The audio for this piece is a collection of clips I’ve accumulated from field recordings, old tapes and found sound (literally sounds that I found somewhere and edited).

I hear each different section as though it’s a visual background to a comic panel, and that’s where the inspiration for the animation comes from.

The audio below will likely change and evolve, especially around the rhythm component. But here’s the working draft so far:

Joie de Vivre

Book Arts

I attended a lecture at Loyola University by Paul Johnson last Thursday. I heard about Paul from my book artist colleagues, Jenny O’Grady and Jodi Hoover.


From the Loyola site: “Paul Johnson is a successful pop-up book artist with work in such collections as the Tate Gallery, London; the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York; and the National Gallery, Washington DC. Dr. Johnson has an international reputation for his pioneering work in developing literacy through the book arts. He has written books on making art books, and he loves to teach children how to make books.”


Paul insists that art has been on the decline since the middle ages, and he draws inspiration from medieval architecture, especially cathedrals.  Paul likes to take nursery rhymes and fairy tales and mash them together – stories like “Jack and the Beanstalk meets Goldilocks” or “Mother Hubbard and the Three Pigs.” Or, even, stories from the bible.  Then, he makes pop-up books.


All of his books can be disassembled and placed flat to be carried in a suitcase. He does not use glue, nor does he fold the paper. He uses joints to connect the elements:


He started making these books after he turned 40, and is now 72-ish. He leaves Britain to travel the world, teaching his methods and staying with other book artists.






Paul’s books are astonishing – not only for their detail and engineering, but also the cleverness of how he reworks classic stories into new ones.

On Saturday, Leezle and I were lucky enough to attend a 3 hour workshop with Paul. We learned some folding techniques, and we made some pop-ups.







Paul had a dry sense of humor and was a delightful presenter. He sells his work – both, the original books and editions. They are lovely and worth owning.

Joie de Vivre

Forty Thousand Sublime & Beautiful Thoughts

I’m doing research for a project, and want share what is likely one of the best book titles ever.  This volume contains only twenty thousand “sublime” thoughts and after reading some of them, I’d say that’s plenty.

I did like the Emerson excerpt on Greatness:

Clearly, this book was compiled before Groucho Marx’s time.

I think people should always write in books they give as gifts – it’s nice that this was a New Year’s gift.



For part two of  “Screens and Zines” autumn kickoff weekend, Leezle and I spent a few hours at the Baltimore Book Festival. We volunteered our time at the Make Your Own Zine booth, and did just that.  I don’t know that we helped much, but it was extremely fun. I think Jim Lucio is a super nice guy and Baltimore is lucky to have him working in the office of Arts and Promotion.

On the way there, we ran into an old friend, which has finally come home with me:

The zine tent was packed with inspiration. They weren’t for sale – it was just an exhibit space.

There were a couple of tables set up to make your own.

and a copy machine on hand to do a small run of your newest creation:

Here’s a popular paper folding technique – a single 8 and 1/2 by 11″ piece of paper folded in half and then 4ths to create 8 panels per side (a lot like mini-comics). An incision is made up the center fold in-between the outer to panels.  This makes for an interesting layout.

Finished items:

The originals, starting with Leezle’s front and back and then mine, font and back. Click for larger:

Words cannot express the awesome. Hopefully the pictures can.