Monday, October 26, 2015

Alas, the bard will be cut!

I presume that perhaps I have written before on this blog about the dilemma I am now facing... again. But I contend that it is worth rewriting about. I am really struggling with an issue. I recently procured a set of three beautiful volumes of Shakespeare from 1858-1859 (i.e., The Comedies; The Tragedies; The Histories). I did include an image of these books on a short blog post on May 20th. The volumes are complete; but I would say are probably poor-to-fair quality (I think). I suspect that, as a set, the books might fetch $100-200 if I were to sell them on e-bay (although maybe not). But I am not interested in the money, per se. The beautiful etchings in the books are "worth" far more to me personally as elements for use in collage! So what is the "real" dilemma if not the conflict of the money vs. a set of beautiful collage elements? Well, part of it is the "intact" nature of this set of books. If I use the images for collage, these beautiful and historical books will be ruined. However, I have already decided that I am not going to sell them to anyone else for $100-200. I will use the images for collage! But I feel so badly about "destroying" the books. On the other hand, I know that probably more people will enjoy these beautiful etchings if I "re-purpose" them in various collages than if they remain "locked away" between the leather covers of these book. The books just seem "precious" to me (even if not very valuable in the monetary sense). Why not make photocopies of the images, you ask? Well... I pride myself on using only original images in my work (yes, a self-imposed and perhaps a silly restriction!). I recall with some vividness, the admonition by my mentor and collage master Jonathan Talbot, to beware of making any books too "sacred" to use in collage (I remember him tearing out a piece of a 17th Century book for a collage at one of his workshops). I will cut out these etchings. But I will do it will respect for the source. And hopefully, I will not be "paralyzed" by the respect for such unique and rare beauty as to avoid making the decision to finally "commit" to an image when I should be using it. I sometimes "save" a really striking image for fear that a composition won't be "good enough" for inclusion of a particular element. Can you sense the struggle that I am experiencing? It so real and so interesting to me. But it is actually another of the MANY reasons why I enjoy this medium SO much! Although somewhat reluctant... I look forward to using some of these elements in my upcoming collages...

1 comment:

  1. It's a dilemma for sure. Destroying ANY books is a problem for me...but you just have to do it occasionally.