These photos are both recent and some are of pages that have already been altered again. I thought I was going to post photos of the book every time I did something new in it, but that was too ambitious.
It’s “Inktober”, so I’ve been posting daily on 2 different Instagram accounts, and still obsessively working on Sketchbook Project 2019, AND, just the other day, I got inspired to go back to a very old project, which I will write about in a different post.
It’s the tried and true ADHD pyramid of priorities with art and work. The top priority is preparing for the workshop I’m doing this Saturday, finishing the outline and the timeline of it, the structure for the 3 hours, making the questions page and other pages for reflection and directives. Because that has gotten so complicated, I’ve gotten distracted, or distracted myself with other things, and suddenly I seem to have a multiplicity of art projects going on, from drawing bees and insects to obsessing about coloring in boxes with a black permanent marker that is just the right thickness to doing things in this book.
The book is actually important for the workshop. Once I got the idea for the directives involving the book, I of course decided to do them myself.
The first task is to choose or make three creatures from whatever materials you want. There will be a few little animals to choose from and plenty of materials to make little creatures. One creature represents your masculine part, one represents your feminine part, and one represents your non gendered or gender neutral part.
Then you use the altered book to create at least three environements, one for each creature. I will have Velcro and other things that aid in being able to move the creature to different places in the book if you want to. I got this idea from working with a client who took a turtle and put it in various places in their book. I also had another client who took a tiny plastic baby and made little beds and resting places for it in different places in their book.
The above page is made with model magic on a plastic container, glitter paint, skull beads and part of a bracelet – the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. I made it after some other places, so I’m not sure yet who would stay in this little boxed in nook.
This is the cover of the book. It has an old fortune cookie message from over ten years ago. I used to have a photo of my then dog underneath it, as a message that happiness was him and he was right there. I put it on the cover and then decided to remove the photo of my dog and then put glitter tape on it and a piece of a choker necklace that was broken. I’m not sure what else I will put on the cover…
This is the inside of the cover of the book. In it is a short letter I wrote to my child self about the state of gender in 2018 and what she might be shocked about and the good and the bad. That is another possible directive to try in your book, write to your old self and answer questions or what you might have wondered about as a kid. Snoopy was a big part of my childhood and kind of a hero, whose gender kind of didn’t mean much as his personhood was dog and imagination more than male anything…
This page had my 1974 self asking questions about gender roles and things I remember thinking about. In the gender coloring book one of the questions on the list is “What is your gender story?” It’s a great question I’ve thought about but not put into words as one’s “story”, so that seems like a good one for reflecting on and giving people to think about answering or making a part of their book after the workshop, as the question is too big to fit in with all the other things I’m planning for the workshop. In a way makign the creatures and turnign the altered book into the “Validating Environment” is in itself telling your gender story in a non linear way.
This little creature is a fairy, very tiny one, that I’ve had in my studio for a long time. I picked her to represent my “feminine” creature. I had some judgments of myself for doing so, but I like her. She is magical and can fly and has powers. Being so little, she has powers people forget about, because everyone is focused on wanting to be taller and big things are what get attention, big gestures, big statements, big paintings. One thin I associate with the United States is an obsession with bigness and large things. When I lived in Japan I noticed how it was the opposite and things were smaller.
There is power in tiny things. Being a small short person my whole life, I have noticed that people treat you differently and address you differently too. Nobody says cutesy things to a stranger if that person is tall and imposing or just not little. Anyway this fairy has abilities to see things in little places and notice all the teeny things that people do not see because they are focused on the biggest and loudest thing. I made her a little nook out of model magic and used glitter tape and glitter and glittery beads, like she is on a leaf, even leaves are a term for pages of a book… She is smart and speaks many languages and can be almost invisible and observe things others cannot.
I did this page a week ago, covered it with silver washi tape and drew on it with paint pens. It’s not an environement, just a page completely covering the original one.
This space above is the envirnoment for my penguin, the creature I chose as my “masculine” creature. There is also a snake at the beginning of the book in the envelope with the letter. It’s an extra creature and I’m not sure what it represents. I picked the penguin without any logical reason, but I do find penguins interesting, and the males of certain kind have to stand on the egg and just stay there for days, like in the March of the Penguins, while the female penguins go off to get food and are gone for days swimming and travelling, moving and doing while the males stay huddled in a group, not going anywhere, just in charge of keeping the egg warm. When people point to nature when talkign about gender it is funny that there are many situations involving very different gender roles than human typical old fashioned ones, such as this reversal with the penguins, which now plays out on city streets where you see father parents out with babies. Maybe based on these creatures, the feminine part of me is the part that goes places and does stuff and the masculine part sits and meditates and is still. Or maybe this directive is just designed to turn out that you make three creatures and it feels like you’re putting gender on them, then it’s hard to tell if they now seem gendered because of that or that you intuitively chose them…
These are some other earlier pages from the book where I had fun covering most of the page and using mixed media…