Organizing a Mess


Organizing a Mess


11 x 8 inches, digitally printed on acid free coated 80 lb. text paper, 28 pages + cover, hand stitched. First edition, 26 copies, signed, and lettered A through Z.

Organizing a Mess is a sequence of seven collages by created with the leftover pages and cuttings from earlier finished work, paired with a short essay about the project.


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So there I was, summer vacation 2013, inspired to clean up and organize the readily available discards in my suitcase. I did save them, right? This must be why I saved them.

While working up the seven collages (determined by the number of useable gazetteer pages previously pulled from a UW publication, circa 1972), it crossed my mind that maybe I could think of each collage as a chapter in my life, and use them to tell a sort of graphic autobiography. After all, I was born and raised in Wisconsin, and I’ve enjoyed every corner of it in some way or another, and I was marking a very specific change in my life’s course. It felt like a good time to document the journey up to now.

It is never easy or precise, as the organizing of these puzzles forces a dreamlike state, and one begins to invent strange symbolism, and a kind of tangential and abstract thinking about things. The end result is not only an arrangement of lines, shapes, and colors, but also an arrangement of thoughts, presented here in a specific sequence.

(sample page spread)

Ideally, at the very least, these images are a pleasure to view. And at their best, they will inspire others to think about things in new and creative ways, and to act upon their own creative impulses, for their own amusement, and for the benefit of others.

Organizing a Mess is set in Century Schoolbook for easy legibility. Printed at Proline Printing in Viroqua, Wisconsin, just in time for the opening reception of an exhibit featuring the original collages reproduced here, at VIVA Gallery, also on Main Street in Viroqua, the city I graciously call home.


28 January 2015

Re-designed. 28 pages + cover. Still very clean.


31 December 2014

Designed this simple book last night, magazine format, 16 pages + cover, clean and simple. Available soon.


What does it mean?

24 August 2014

Working on a series of collages that has been tough going, but as it always seems to go, things eventually fall into place and the solution presents itself. (This is called trusting God, or using the Force, fate, or whatever way you wish to put the grand experience of being.) The whole time, again as usual, I envision these collages becoming a book. During the course of creative work this morning, I found myself reading something fitting and inspiring, and at that point committed to following this one through all the way to whatever it becomes.

The comment I left on Hired Hand this morning:


I am working this morning on a series of collages that began with the intention to use up all the scraps that had been cut and pages torn from books that didn’t make it into whatever it was I had been working on at the time. Listening to Roots and Crowns, Califone. Always liked the album but it’s not something I listen to a lot. Every time I do, though, which is often when I am working on something creative, I think about how much I like it. I had to turn on the computer to charge the battery in the camera. I decided to google Califone and now I am here, reading about this project, and typing this. Thank you. The collages I am making are telling me a story. They always do. In my mind they become books, and I can make that happen in the real world. This series will become a book. And perhaps, somehow, a book with a soundtrack. Wait…electronic world. I keep forgetting. We are not limited to ink on paper. Yes.