Saturday, March 17, 2012

Process of writing a book...Contemporary Paper and Encaustic

Artist Mona Waterhouse in her studio in Peachtree City, Georgia  (Photo by Catherine Nash)
It seems that I am writing my book, Contemporary Paper and Encaustic, in a most unconventional way.  Through my preparation for my one on one time with each of the 28 interviewees, I do intense research beyond what they have sent me and on their personal websites, uncovering information and images 10 pages back in Google, searching in a variety of ways that includes reviews of their most recent exhibitions and mentions in varied articles and blogs. Then I compose a series of questions specific to them.  It takes me from 3-6 hours of research per artist.

The artists I have curated to interview have all conferred on what I intend on asking....and rarely do we need to adjust the questions although sometimes we think on our feet, so to speak, when in front of the camera...the interview is truly collaborative, creating the sets (at least 4 or 5 per interview) with lighting and their supporting artwork.  I make sure that they feel they have stated and covered all information that would reflect themselves in the manner they'd like to be "seen" at this moment in time before we are finished. 

Artist Michael Marshall in his Athens, Georgia studio (Photo by Catherine Nash)
Artist Lynn Sures in her Silver Spring, Maryland studio (Photo by Catherine Nash)
I just completed interview #16 or 28 with my trip to the Southern states Feb 14-28.  I'll complete 9 more on my next trip March 23 -April 11 to artists in NY, NJ, CT, ME and Montreal, Canada, with a final 3 interviews by skype in early May~

Because their interview is in lieu of writing, once the 28 interviews are all edited (I anticipate extreme editing focus this summer), the layout of this "portfolio" section should be relatively easy.  Of course, there still remains the job of organizing the 90 or so artists represented by one work each in the "gallery" section and indeed I will do some comprehensive writing to tie them together by content.
Artist Dennis O'Neil at Hand Print Workshop International in Alexandra, Virginia (Photo by Catherine Nash)

While some would find my schedule harrowing, I am deriving intense pleasure and fulfillment from it...learning so much.  Making connections with people/media/ideas.  Total kick!   I am not worried about when the book (i.e. the product) will be done but I do have a new goal to have it published by September in time for a joint conference by The Friends of Dard Hunter and the International Assoc. of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists...

Artist Georgia Deal in her studio in University Park, MD (Photo by Catherine Nash)

Artist Jessica Drenk in her Clemson, SC studio (Photo by Catherine Nash)
I am so very grateful for the great success of my fundraising last Nov/Dec.  It has enabled me to pay for the expenses incurred in conducting these cross country interviews and more publishing related expenses. Working consistently on my book, I also must teach and earn money full time to pay my personal bills.  So I am not rushing this book writing... If I can't derive intense pleasure from the process, there is no point in undertaking a project at all.   I took a big leap of faith and am trusting that all will somehow fall into place with this huge idea I had....  My ultimate goal is to translate all that I am learning and absorbing and getting inspired from into a publication that will offer a unique perspective on artists and their ideas and process...written by an artist in the trenches herself~