Addendum: Since I published this post about this little book,” The Tally Keeper’s Folly,” it has somehow attracted enough attention to be invited to participate in the April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate the gift of written word and the beauty of handmade books, the Illahe Gallery in Ashland, Or. .http://illahegallery.com/exhibits/2012/february/ The Illahe Studio and Gallery is staging an exhibit of artist’s books of every size and type! “The Tally Keeper’s Folly” will be there with the best of them! April 6-28. It will be a wonderful exhibit if you love handmade books. Posted Sunday February 12, 1012 at 12-midnight. Can you tell I am a little bit excited!
Front of Book
The Tally Keeper’s Folly – Imaginary People I Know
Oil pastel, watercolor, gouache, collage on muslin 5 x 7 inches
This is a handmade muslin book created by Lynne Hoppe, http://lynnehoppe.blogspot.com/ which I won in a give-a-way. I’ve been saving the book for a couple of years. I started doing some drawings in it, and saw a loose storyline form. I have been thinking lately about people who have a very strong need to “keep score” or count up all the “wrong” things people have done, but never think much of all the good things people do every day. So this little book turned into a story about a woman who was driven to keep her scores of every slight, real or imagined, until it began to destroy her life. She is visited in the end by two strange figures who tell her of the mistake she is making by counting sorrows instead of joys. In my version she believes them and changes her ways! I decided to use another time era ambience for this book, thinking of medieval times when people counted their debts on tally sticks where they would make a mark on the stick for each debt owed, and the size of the mark often had bearing on the size of the debt.
The words in the book were printed directly to the coffee dyed muslin with an inkjet printer. I ironed 8.5 x 11 pieces of muslin onto freezer paper then I cut each quotation apart with scissors and used a straight pin to pull threads from the edges – then I just glued them down with matte polymer medium (I used Liquitex). I think sewing them in would have been really perfect, but I would have had to sew through the illustrations on the other side of the page, and it just wouldn’t have worked, so I glued them in.
Pages 1 and 2 – The Tally Keeper is looking at marks on a stick while her favored child observes.
Pages 3 and 4 – Portraits of her other children. A sad lost boy and his older sister, who has little to say.
Pages 5 and 6 The Lost Boy in a younger portrait – when he believed in magic. The Tally Keeper with little time for him.
Pages 7 and 8 – A study of The Tally Keeper’s jumbled dreams. The Old King who never kept a count of sorrows.
Pages 9 and 10 – Her favored son again, still watchful, older now. She cut a paper minion – I just wanted to use the word minion!
Pages 11 and 12 – She continues to count her scores, and keep tally of all her woes. Her husband begins to wonder if maybe his name is on a tally stick too?
Pages 13 and 14 – Two strange old women come to visit her one night to help her see the error of her ways, after a few tears she agrees to change.
Back of the book