08 November 2017

Bibliomuse at Seager Gray Gallery

Bibliomuse is a series of books, wall pieces and objects that are inspired by discarded/withdrawn library books.

Hemingway and the Art of Awareness, No. 2,3,4,5 & 6

Bibliomuse is a subseries of KEEP: Modern Library.

Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution, No. 1

In KEEP: Modern Library I looked to one withdrawn library book as my muse. That was: Records Management: A Collegiate Course in Filing Systems and Procedures. Imagery from that book floats through each piece in KEEP: Modern Library.

Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution, No. 2

In embarking upon the subseries Bibliomuse I looked to five additional books as my muses: How to Know the Mosses and Liverworts; Genetics Paleontology and Evolution; Incredible Truth; Manual of Scientific Russian; and The Art of Awareness.

How to Know the Mosses and Liverworts, No. 1 (detail)

 I have extracted, abstracted and repeated imagery from each of those titles throughout the new Bibliomuse series. The imagery is created with a mixture of stencils and image transfers.

Incredible Truth, No. 1 (detail)

The exhibit Bibliomuse is now up at Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley for the month of November, 2017.

Bibliomuse at Seager Gray Gallery

Each piece continues the exploration, started in my KEEP: Modern Library series, of what we keep, the different ways in which we keep things/thoughts/emotions, and when it is perhaps time to move those things along.

Manual of Scientific Russian, No. 1

Each piece utilizes bookcloth that is extracted from withdrawn library books. Wherever you see color in these pieces - it is old bookcloth. These pieces are all repeatedly, and rather excessively, machine stitched which creates a unique texture and a new textile. The base cloth is antique handspun/handwovern linen, backstrap woven cotton from Africa, and other reclaimed linen.

Bibliocubes, No. 1, 2 & 3

Seager Gray Gallery created a gorgeous catalog that is available by contacting the gallery. A digital version is also on the Issuu site here.

Bibliomuse at Seager Gray Gallery

If you are in the area I hope that you get a chance to stop by the gallery.

10 October 2017

Taos 2017

One week after I returned from Tokyo I was headed to the airport again to fly to Taos, New Mexico to teach with Diane Ericson, Design Outside the Lines, at the Mabel Dodge Luhan house.

What a wonderful, nurturing and inspiring venue Mabel's is.

I was brought on by Diane Ericson to co-teach alongside her and inspire the students with what I have learned about Japanese textiles, and Japanese Boro and mending techniques, and how I applied that to my artwork.
We practiced Japanese mending techniques on a piece of cloth that later was turned into a mini-bag:

I got to play around a bit and was experimenting with stencils and fabric painting on some scraps that I brought and turned those scraps into a different kind of a bag. When I asked the students if they would like to learn the structure, the answer was "yes"!
Well, a few of them became obsessed with this bag and they played around with the dimensions and pushed the original design of the bag into these fun structures:


Seeing as I had just returned from Japan, I could only really allow myself to take a day and a half to site see after my teaching duties were up.

But, my friend and I packed as much as we could into those hours.


So minimal and modern!

 And, the short drive to Ghost Ranch was just stunning with the post-rain saturated earth surrounding us:

Although I am thankful for the experience, Tokyo and Taos with just a week's catch up time in between is a bit more travel than I'm used to so I'm trying to slow down and process both of those inspirational experiences right now. 

As usual, more pics over on Instagram.

18 September 2017

Tokyo and Urawa, 2017

I've just returned from Japan where I gave talks at the Urawa Art Museum and at Blue and White in Tokyo, and I wanted to give a quick report.

Shinjuku, Tokyo

I traveled to Japan to see the exhibit, MUSUBU, that I co-curated and to give a talk. Read more about MUSUBU in my previous post.

The exhibit space in the Urawa Art Museum was beautiful and the show was thoughtfully installed. We had a good size crowd that first day and visitors seemed genuinely interested in the work.

After I had made travel plans I was invited by Amy Katoh to give a talk at her iconic Tokyo shop, Blue and White

Such a beautifully curated shop that celebrates items handmade, hand dyed, and hand stitched in Japan.

I was only in Tokyo a week but packed quite a bit in. If you would like to see more photos please go on over to my Instagram account or my Facebook business page

Nezu Museum, Tokyo

Arigatou Gozaimasu to everyone who made our stay in Japan a fabulous one!

Later this week I re-pack my bags as I head to Taos, New Mexico to co-teach with Diane Ericson at the Mabel Dodge Luhan house. More on that when I return, or follow along on Instagram!

14 August 2017


Over three years ago book artist Hisako Nakazawa asked me if I would help her with an idea for an exhibit that would involve members of the Tokyo Bookbinding Club and book artists residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. I immediately said "yes."

In those last 3 years the project has evolved, waxed, waned, and stalled before it became reality. Now, this idea has finally come to fruition. About a year ago the Tokyo Bookbinding Club secured a place on the exhibit calendar at the Urawa Art Museum, just outside of Tokyo, for the first leg of the exhibit. Hisako and I set about inviting Bay Area book artists to participate in the exhibit and the Tokyo Bookbinding Club queried their members, as well.

[PRAYER]: Memories of 4/16,2016 Kumamoto Earthquake by Hisako Nakazawa

The result is an exhibit entitled MUSUBU: Tokyo: California: Urawa. Twenty-four members of the Tokyo Bookbinding Club are exhibiting and 21 book artists that reside, or have strong ties, in the San Francisco Bay Area are participating.

Boro Vessel: Topsy Turvy, Inside Out and Outside In by Jody Alexander

When choosing the artists to represent the United States we looked for artists who were active members of the book arts community in the San Francisco Bay Area who created pieces that incorporate innovative book structures with strong content, possess solid craftsmanship, and a creative use of materials. Each artist also actively exhibits in the San Francisco Bay Area, and many exhibit nationally and internationally. They are also professors and teachers of the book arts at local colleges, universities, and art centers. In a sense it is a "dream team!" If you are familiar with the book arts world you will see what I mean when you read this list of participating US artists:

Rhiannon Alpers, Elizabeth Boyne, Macy Chadwick, Lucy Childs, Marie Dern and Danielle Giudici Wallis, Casey Gardner, Alisa Golden, Jennie Hinchcliff, Charles Hobson, Lisa Kokin, Bryan Kring, Hedi Kyle, Howard Munson, Penny Nii, Felicia Rice, Judith Serebrin, Larry Van Velzer and Peggy Gotthold of Foolscap Press, Katherine Venturelli, Kenneth Wilkes, and co-curators Hisako Nakazawa and Jody Alexander.


Members of the Tokyo Bookbinding Club who are participating are:

Yoko Bato, Keiko Fujii, Michiko Fujita, Sinki Fukuda, Mari Hatano, Fumiko Ichida, Masumi Inayama, Junko Inque, Hisako Kawashima, Rie Kondo, Yukari Kunii, Ikuko Nakajima, Hiroko Nakano, Amu Nakao, Eiko Nakao, Kunie Ogoshi, Maki Sato, Katsuyuko Sawada, Ariko Shibata, Keiko Suzuki, Yoko Taguchi, Hiroe Takahashi, Akiko Tsumura, Maya Yamashita.

Hisako Nakazawa, the brainchild of the exhibit, is one of the founding members of the Tokyo Bookbinding Club, and she currently lives in California. She was interested in having the book artists living in these different parts of the world, that also have very active book arts communities, share their work with one another. Keiko Fujii is a member of the Tokyo Bookbinding Club and is also a co-curator of the exhibit along with Akiko Takiguchi who is a curator at the Urawa Art Museum.

    Seven Wonders of Honjyo by Akiko Tsumura

Hisako's husband helped us come up with the title for the exhibit: MUSUBU. Musubu means to tie, to connect, or to be bound by friendship. We thought this was the perfect word to represent an exhibit of bookmakers and bookbinders who are forming connections through their artwork.

I will be traveling to Tokyo in September and giving a talk at the Urawa Art Museum on September 12th, and am very much looking forward to seeing the exhibit.

Here is information about the exhibit:

Musubu: Book and Art: Tokyo: California: Urawa

Urawa Art Museum, Urawa-ku, Saitama, Japan

September 12th - 24th, 2017

Artist/Curator Talk by Jody Alexander, with Howard Munson and Kenneth Wilkes on Tuesday, September 12th from 3:00 - 4:30

Our very exciting news is that the exhibit has secured a US venue at the American Bookbinder's Museum in San Francisco, CA, in April/May 2018.

If there are any Tokyo readers out there I hope that you will try to make it to the Urawa Art Museum to see this exhibit. And, I'll be sure to share information about the San Francisco show as that date approaches.


22 June 2017

Shakerag 2017

I have recently returned home after my week at Shakerag Workshops in Sewanee, Tennessee. I had been there once before and it was so nice to return this warm, friendly, gracious and familiar place. It was wonderful to see some friends I had met there previously and join up with those that I was acquainted with from other areas.


After teaching for a week at Arrowmont I decided to roll on down the road and be a student at Shakerag Workshops. I took a class with Dorothy Caldwell entitled Human Marks: Drawing, Stitching, Batik, and Bookmaking. What a pleasure it was to meet and spend the week with Dorothy. She is grounded, giving, gentle, and that other "g" word again - gracious. A talented artist and teacher.

Textile piece by Dorothy Caldwell
Textile piece by Dorothy Caldwell

We began the week by making simple marks with a variety of tools. Sometimes the mark would stand on its own and sometimes it would be repeated, combined, and layered.




Then we started stitching. Dorothy had conducted research in India on traditional and contemporary kantha cloth and she shared with us stories and examples of these wonderful pieces of women's work.


We started stitching cloth in the kantha style that would eventually be a wrapper for the book we would put together later in the week.


More mark making processes were shared.

Inspiration board of Dorothy's work and processes
Result of student blind stitching exercise

And, then the bookmaking began. I love the woven binding that Dorothy taught us - so simple yet rich and textural. The first book we made was from the piece of paper that acted as our place mats earlier in the week - by Thursday they contained ink spills, notations, and doodles, and when torn into book pages created some interesting juxtapositions.


Finally we put our week long mark making experiments together into another book. I had used the water harvesting system in the building where our workshop took place as my muse throughout the week. I was immediately taken with the lines, curves, and shapes of these structures and also the idea of reuse, sustainability and water!


I sketched, drew, and made stencils inspired by these shapes and then repeated them throughout the week in our mark making exercises.


What a wonderful class - the content, the teacher and my fellow students. A very kind, sharing and talented group to say the least.


A visit to Shakerag is not complete without as many dips as possible in The Rez.


To see more about Shakerag Workshops visit my posts from June 2014 - there are three of them and you can search in the box (upper right) or click here, here and here.


Thank you Shakerag, Arrowmont and Tennessee! I know that I will return - just hope that it is sooner rather than later.