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What to do when you can’t find the right tool for the job

I am stymied in my 200 artist book manufacture. The first 35 went quickly into production and I utilized E6000 glue to create the spine. E6000 will secure a live chicken to the bumper of a Volvo.  But now the book covers will be comprised of matchbook covers and I need small, ever so tiny, staples to secure the spines. Stapled Spines. Sounds like a punk rock group, doesn’t it? Or like my personal spine, lumbar-fused with pedicle screws. For me, finding the right tool for the job requires more than simply securing the appropriate mechanical device. Severe degenerative arthritis of the osteo variety, limits my mobility, especially in the hands. I have no grip, no thumb strength and, to make matters worse, I can’t push down on anything — torn rotator cuffs.

It takes some creative restructuring of devices to achieve perfection. This is why I have such a love of all things “glue”. (yes, I know, I began this conversation with the need of a stapler, but that is a quick fix, a mere series of annoying events since it involves 1. shower 2. dressing 3. securing dogs 4. trip to Office Depot) The truth is, Epoxy rules my fixation attempts these days. Then, I glue (yes, not nail or screw) a faux attachment pedicle-like appendage. Meaning – I pop the rusted heads off nails and screws and glue them onto the piece, thus achieving a faux-hardware look. This is what arthritis does, it forces me to find new methods for art. How to work my way around traditional methods while all the while seeming to employ traditional methods. The faux of faux, the folly of faux.

There is a lovely 2 lb. coffee can filled with rusted hardware on my back porch.

Oh wait, back to the concept of staples, 210 artist’s books, the meat of this post.

I have de-fused dozens of large matchbook covers and then inserted lined paper to be stapled where the sulphurous masses once existed. If I owned a gallery or could display my work freely to you, the viewer online at this moment, you would behold a clear plastic bag filled with matches, not covered, naked rows of flame goodness… I digress. The point is, these artists book covers are created with vintage matchbooks, the previous books sported individual covers created from a variety of sources such as cereal boxes, flyleaves from old books, catalog covers and more. Can you follow my train of thought? Do you get my drip? What’s it all about, Mr. Natural? Well, it’s about this long. And it’s about this wide. And it’s about this land we’re talking about. *points for recognizing that one.
Books utilized thus far in the artist’s book creation process, as in, single pages folded and cut to form 8 pages:

1982 Episcopal hymnal
1930 Third Grade math book
1919 Literary Digest magazine
Ikea catalog
Dante’s Divine Comedy
MacBeth
1950s-era geography book (6th grade)
1964 Ladies Home Journal magazines
Reader’s Digest compendium of national parks guidebook
Notebook written by Evelyn – for her bookclub circa 1960s
Interior design magazines circa 1950-60s
The Watergate Tapes paperback of Nixon excess (combines well with Dante)
Trigonometry and Algebra books from Barnes & Nobles press

Wow! That’s not all. I truly have been busy. Perhaps obsessed? Ya’ think?

Time to prepare for a quick foray out into the commercial world of the Lesser Ass of the Great Dismal Swamp.

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