Raleigh Rambles

John Dancy-Jones at large!

Whoso List to Hunt

Happy to announce the current publication from The Paper Plant, this broadside of a poem by Sir Thomas Wyatt. One of the very first sonnets written in English, Sir Thomas Wyatt’s poem is based on Petrarch, the Italian master who established the form. The broadside is executed on hand-laid recycled paper with 25% banana tree fiber (from my yard), letterpress printed with a stenciled monoprint. Available here.

 

 

September 6, 2021 Posted by | literary | , | Leave a comment

Truth Responds

Mail Art Titled “Truth”

for John Dancy-Jones

 

Truth comes to me in the mail

wrapped grey in hand-made paper,

a gift and memorial

from an old friend to his friends,

 

to those who remember all

his letters, lovely labors.

Truth kept over time will tell

beautiful truth without end.

 

Or so it seems. It could end.

Or rather crawl like a snail.

Steady. Even on razor’s

edge, it makes a slow slick trail.

 

Truth can be like that, my friends.

Gaps here and there, serial,

zigging, zagging, circular,

and like this art, not for sale.

 

Pick it up later, send again,

Truth, and all it recommends,

in a phrase—whole or partial—

in a stamped posted parcel

sent from friend to distant friend.

 

Paul Jones

 

Thanks so much to my dear friend Paul Jones for sending this poem after receiving Plague Daze, and Beautiful Truth, two pieces of pandemic mail art. Paul is retired as professor and digital librarian at UNC-CH, and is an accomplished and widely published poet.

March 9, 2021 Posted by | literary, mail art | , | Leave a comment

Utopian Dreams at Fruitlands Museum

The Fruitlands Farmhouse in Harvard, Mass.

So proud to have my letterpress work displayed at an exhibition at The Fruitlands Museum. Fruitlands was the site of Bronson Alcott’s 19th century utopian community, and the show Recruiting for Utopia: Print and the Imagination explores past and present examples of “the capacity of print and the schematic imagination to build community.” For over a decade, I have been creating hand-laid paper printed objects to give away at the annual Black Mountain College conference conducted by the BMCM+AC. Shana Dumont Garr, curator at Fruitlands and former Program Director at Artspace in Raleigh, received a couple of these at the conference and learned of my tradition. She asked to display these items for the show. The museum purchased all the available items I sent, and now  is collecting my mail art pieces!

Below is the Wayside Gallery, a large Fruitlands outbuilding which hosts the exhibit.The pictures zoom in a bit to show my pieces, with the Anni Albers Red Meander and Ted Pope’s blue broadside reasonably visible. The show now runs through March 21, 2021.

My photo below shows the collection of of conference handouts involved. I make about 50 and give away to the visiting scholars and the conference regulars that provide most of my friends in my retirement town.Click on the phrases to read about these pieces. Fish by Ted Pope, Harper Lee bookmark(BMC Museum workshop), Red Meander, Cut-up, Jacob Lawrence, John Dewey on reason.

The larger show in which my pieces take part is a fascinating duel show with a historical collection and a contemporary collection of visual artifacts.  Shana Dumont Garr, curator at Fruitlands, explained the overall premise of the exhibit: “To look at New England in two specific time periods: the 1840s and 2019-2020. And to explore how print and design helped express peoples’ worries and their desires to make the world a better place.”  There is a local feature article here. I hope to make it to the show to see printing from the time of my favorite Transcendentalists, and see some creativity from my fellow artists in the show.

Black Mountain College posts on Raleigh Rambles

October 21, 2020 Posted by | art, Black Mountain, literary | , , , | Leave a comment

Plague Daze Zine Features in Asheville Zine Fest Exchange

September 20th, 2020 marks the scheduled day for the Asheville Zine Fest, a long standing venue for the numerous micro-publishers in Asheville as well as zinsters across the state. The Paper Plant was set to participate, and I was very excited to network with other publishers and display the Paper Plant catalog at The Center for Craft in downtown Asheville. Alas, the event was cancelled but then replaced by a wonderful idea: a zine exchange among the publishers. That motivation pushed me to one last version of Plague Daze, the May 2020 mail art project that I also had converted to poster form for a mail art show at The Flood Gallery in Black Mountain. Above is the zine I created along with a spread of the zines I received in the exchange.

The packet I received contained a predictably wild variety of graphic designs and content. The organizers used the now-closed Asheville Bookworks as headquarters, and Laurie Corral, Jessica Smith and Mica Mead and Colin Sutherland of Woolly Press,  a west Asheville publisher and risograph shop, worked to make this happen. I enjoyed all the entries, particularly Laurie’s risograph project “Forager’s Favorites,” and a wonderful textless mini-comic by Carrboro artist Julia Gootzeit called “B-Sides.”

I enjoyed all the entries and hope to meet many of the publishers in person at next year’s Zine Fest. A dominant theme in the collection above is risograph work, which was new to me until I discovered Woolly Press a while back. To quote the School of Design at the University of Illinois,

The Risograph is a stencil duplicator. Think of it as a cross
between screen printing and photocopying. The Riso prints
one color at a time in bright, vibrant colors. It is ideal for
posters, graphic prints, zines, comics, and other graphic arts.

Each color requires a separate print run. The colors are like strong watercolor tones, and I like the effect very much. Asheville is a hot scene for alternative arts, and zines and fine art printing are no exception! Below is a description of the rather laborious process used for my own contribution.

Plague Daze started as a mail art project sent out on May 1, 2020. Rubber stamping was the primary means of making images, with collaging of hand-laid paper some monoprinted and marbled. The poster version I created featured a collage and marbled version of the “40 days” concept from the mail art piece. That image, along with the art of guest artists, was color photocopied and then cut out and glued on to the background pages. Those pages are my secret ingredient for this zine. In printing covers for my book, The Natural History of Raleigh,” I set aside a ream of 11×17 copier paper to use in clean-up. The excess ink was removed with these, leaving strategic marks of the curved platen, the brayer marks, and various accidents of the cleaning motions. I collected over 200 of these and when the call for a zine came, I knew these were the perfect background for some pandemic content! Enjoy the contents of my zine below, and be safe!

Connie Bostic is a founder of the River Arts District in Asheville, and a leading figure in the Black Mountain College Museum community.

You may recall that Mary’s booklet, reproduced and stapled into the middle of the zine, was featured, along with the Anna Weaver poem below, in a post here. (full size scans).

Bonniediva is a mail artist with whom I came into contact through a national mail art organization.

Sure honored to have this set of zine publications for the Paper Plant archive of zines and other alternative art and publishing from the 1980’s.

September 20, 2020 Posted by | art, literary, mail art | , , , | Leave a comment

Fish, A Broadside by Ted Pope

Ted Pope is a stalwart and beloved performer who features at the annual Black Mountain College conference held every year by the BMCM+AC on UNC-A’s campus. His presentation of his poetry is unmatched in creative delivery – from crumpling each piece after reading and tossing to the audience to lying prostrate while reading to whipping a deerskin as warm-up. The Paper Plant is proud to announce the publication of a broadside of Ted’s poem Fish. This broadside is offered in celebration of Ted’s inclusion in Appalachia Now!, the show that opens the newly renovated Asheville Art Museum.

The broadside will be available in the museum’s gift shop and is also available from The Paper Plant.

I look forward to Ted’s performance and much more at this year’s BMC conference.

September 20, 2019 Posted by | Black Mountain, literary | , , | 1 Comment