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L'Absence, cut paper and glue ©2013 Musta Fior France

L’Absence, cut paper and glue
©2013 Musta Fior
France

20 December 2014

So much for wanting to have the Slowbook done by Black Friday. In late October, the local chamber here in Viroqua announced an opportunity to open “pop-up stores” in empty retail spaces on Main Street. Without much planning, I joined forces with another local artist (and farmer), photographer Tim Wirtz, and with the help of Eddy Nix and Shawn Neary at Driftless Books & Music, we opened the new Driftless Trader on November 7. It’s an arty shop in the main lobby of Viroqua’s 115 year-old landmark Fortney Hotel on Main Street, featuring picture framing service, art, used books, coffee, tea and treats, and all the fun things you can browse at the Driftless Trader online store. Maybe should have announced all this earlier for the Christmas gift-giving season, but that, too, is how it goes…too busy for online updates, which is okay with me.

However, we are now in the process of negotiating rent with the landlords because it looks like this pop-up store could be strong enough to stay open all year. The plan is for Tim to take the reins, so I can return my focus to working on some of these book projects before it’s time to get back out in the cemeteries in April. All this means that you don’t really have to try to get here before pop-up store closes at the end of the year, and instead you can start planning your visit for later in the new year.

But…if you’re one of those people who always wanted to buy a copy of Thawt but couldn’t imagine dropping the $250 to have it, they are on sale at the Driftless Trader now for just $50 (that’s $4 over cost) until Christmas. Happy holidays, all you people of good will, and peace be with you.

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22 October 2014

Finished editing scans for Slowbook. All postcards for B(l)eached, another collaborative book with the same contributors to Thawt, inspired by and initiated on the family vacation to North Carolina’s Outer Banks this past summer, have arrived in the mailbox. Brandon Graham (Good for Nothing) has furnished text for the book and it’s another that I cannot wait to see become a reality. B(l)eached will be published as an ebook and a limited edition casebound book sometime in the first quarter of 2015.

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What does it mean?

24 August 2014

Just committed myself to another new project. For many, many years, I have thought about publishing my own collage work in book form. They are most often developed as a unified series, and over the course of their creation, they reveal and tell a story. This time, on a cloudy Sunday morning in late August, all that cosmic energy came to a head. I’m doing it.

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18 August 2014

I have initiated a new project that will remain top secret for the time being. Also recently caught up with correspondence (in the middle of the busy cemetery lettering season) enough to pen a letter to Italy regarding the Slowbook project, which is moving very slowly. Looking forward to winter.

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8 April 2014

In addition to the presentation about Thawt at the Viroqua McIntosh Memorial Library on Monday, 14 April, I’ll be talking about the book on radio from 9-10 a.m. CST on WDRT Viroqua, Thursday, 10 April.

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4 April 2014

I will be giving a presentation about Thawt with a slide show and discussion regarding the creative process behind the project, and the book form as a medium for artists, on Monday, 14 April, at 6:30 p.m. at the Viroqua McIntosh Memorial Library. Copies of the book will be available for purchase, with 33% of sales benefitting the fund for the construction of the new Viroqua McIntosh Memorial Library. Please join us if you can!

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18 March 2014

BREAKING NEWS 40 copies of Thawt arrived at the back door yesterday and they look great. Thumbs up for the production team at Bookmobile. 26 copies are spoken for, leaving 14 for sale. Two days left to reserve your copy at a 33% discount!

Read more about this project.

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12 March 2014

Sadly, The Hartman Creek Odyssey has been put on indefinite hold due to the inability to obtain permission from Dr. Seuss Enterprises for the use of original Dr. Seuss characters in the collage illustrations. An attempt was made to replace the original drawings with drawings of the same characters by my daughters, but again Dr. Seuss Enterprises said the project would still be infringing on copyrighted material. So…until there is a solution and a good reason to move ahead with this project, we can only wait and see what happens.

Slowbook (March 2014) is also evolving slowly (imagine that). All submissions sent as desktop-printed Word documents have been transcribed by hand. Next step is to scan those hand-lettered submissions into the computer, along with all other hand-written or hand-drawn or collaged submissions, and then arrange/compose the contents.

Both the Alchemy book (2002) and Native Son at Home (2000) are now available for sale on the new Viroqua Creative Workshop web site, as well as the Strength print (2003), which is the only existing letterpress printed broadside set in Earthish, a phonetic alphabet I developed in the late 90s. More items will be uploaded to that site as time permits.

If you would like to see visual proof of what has been keeping me busy lately, a photo album documenting the resurrection of The Heavy Duty Press can be viewed through the Facebook page.

Peace,

Mike