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Monday, September 23, 2013


Fourteen members of Study Group spent the afternoon of September 14 exploring possibilities for our planned collaborative book, inspired by a June field trip to the Vent Haven Museum. (See blog post of June 9, 2013.) One of this area's hidden treasures, Vent Haven is the world's only museum dedicated to the art of ventriloquism, and our visit is still the object of fascination.

First used by the French Surrealists in the 1920s as a writing exercise, the exquisite corpse process later developed as a book structure using pages divided into sections that flip back and forth. The resulting composite images can be humorous, eerie, absurd and are always just a bit unnerving. The figures at the Vent Haven Museum offer wonderful possibilities for using this book form.
Exquisite corpse examples
For September's Study Group, Peg Rhein and Janice Kagermeier brought in numerous examples of exquisite corpse books to generate discussion on how we might want to format and bind our collaborative book. Several members brought their own work to share, including Cecie Chewning who brought a portfolio of beautiful pastels and April Foster who showed photos of the magical marionettes built by her late father.
Cecie with pastel portrait of a Vent Haven dummy
April's photos of her father's marionettes
For the hands-on segment of the session, each member built a drum leaf book using prepared photos, cut the text block in half horizontally and added a cover.
Gluing up our drum leaf samples
Although we didn't finalize the details, the consensus seemed to be that the drum leaf structure would work for our final book, and the ability to incorporate text would add another fun dimension. Lots of possibilities were discussed, including distributing one basic image for each participant to color, collage or embellish in their own style. The next step will be to decide on dimensions and materials for the final book and to establish guidelines for submitting images. Stay tuned.

Thanks to Peg for guiding us through the process, and to Janice for her help.
Possibilities include adding text to images

And thanks to Janice for sending along this report and photos.

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