Communion Of Dreams


Matter of perspective.

This will probably come across as a little brag-y. Sorry about that. Not my intention.

The other day I got a phone call. For Legacy Art. The gallery we closed May 31, 2004. Yeah, more than ten years ago.

And after I got through abusing the telemarketer over this point, I got to thinking about the many changes in the last decade.

First thing I should say up front: I’m at a low point in my bipolar cycle, as I’ve noted recently. That means that my self-image isn’t all that great. This isn’t a debilitating depressive episode or anything — I’ve managed to continue to work steadily, as well as enjoy the usual aspects of life. So not horrid. But it is sometimes difficult to not focus on the things which haven’t gone well, and my own failings which are often a component of that. And one of those failings is a sense of not accomplishing much, of being lazy, of wasting my time and the time of others.

Anyway. I got to thinking about the changes in the last decade. And surprisingly, more positive things came to mind than negative ones. That fed on itself, and I found myself making a mental list of the accomplishments.

In no particular order or ranking: wrote two books (one of them as co-author). Most of the way done with another. Visited Wales. And Argentina. And New Zealand. And Italy. Wrote several thousand blog posts. Became something of an authority on small caliber ballistics. Wrote several hundred articles and columns for publication. Was the full-time caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s. Have done conservation work on something more than a thousand (that’s just a guess … may be closer to two thousand) books and documents. Made some great hot sauces. Raised, loved, and then said farewell to a great dog. Tried to be a good friend, and husband. Tried to help others when I could.

We all fail. We all have things we’ve done that haunt us in one way or another. Sometimes, those fears and demons overwhelm. Me, at least.

I may or may not be at a turning point in my bipolar cycle. But I’m glad that at least I can think of things I have accomplished. That helps.

Back to work on St. Cybi’s Well.

 

Jim Downey



Looking backwards.

Remember this?

It's a backwards book!

It’s a backwards book!

Well, after wrapping up the big conservation job last week, I promised myself I’d take some time this week after the holiday and do the rest of the edition. Here’s where I’m at as of this afternoon:

Gathered & folded.

Gathered & folded.

Each stack there is one of the 11 sections of the book.  That’s actually 16 copies, which is the edition of 15 (remember, one book is already done) plus two spares. I’ll “punch” the spares (poke holes in the section spines for sewing) but then stick them into storage as a reserve in case a copy is damaged before I can get it to the client.  Collating and folding is probably the slowest part of the whole binding process.

One additional note — see that thing there in the lower right? It’s this:

Pounamu was highly prized by the Maori for use in making tools and weapons. For generations it was fashioned into chisels, axes, and adzes. While I very much appreciated the beauty of the many pieces of art I had seen created using Pounamu, for me the most memorable souvenir of the trip would be a bookbinding tool called a ‘folder’ made of greenstone. I didn’t expect to find one ready-made, but rather to find a piece of the stone which I could shape to my own use.

And I did. It’s about 5″ long, roughly an inch tall and an inch wide, slightly tapered towards the ends. One side is already highly polished, the others relatively smooth. I’ve already used it as is, and need to spend some more time with it before I decide whether it needs more shaping or not.

I’ve actually decided that the piece is perfect just as is for exactly this purpose: folding thick sections of new paper.

Tomorrow I’ll punch the sections and then start sewing the books.

Just thought I’d share that.

 

Jim Downey

PS: there are currently only 8 copies of this edition unclaimed. Full info here.