Monday, March 23, 2020

Storing Poetry Fragments in Stenciled Building Boxes

Storing Poetry Fragments in Stenciled Building Boxes          

 When I visit my parents at their retirement community I raid the library for old magazines in the share bin.  They're a liberal academic crowd there in Western Massachusetts, and the bin is full of New Yorker and Nature Conservancy and Atlantic Monthly and National Geographic and the like - magazines full of interesting words and interesting pictures.  I dig to the bottom for the old ones, because the ones I take aren't going back into circulation: they are going to be snipped into bits for composing found poetry.  I have struggled for years to find the right way to store my word clippings, and I have a new solution: boxes which I can store on edge like books.                                        

I started with three six-inch-square wooden boxes from the craft store - like cradled panels, but possibly meant for something else.  They didn't have lids or anything to prevent them from standing on edge.  I stained them gray, and made cardstock lids that would nest inside - with a finger hole for pulling them out.  The idea is that I didn't want them to stack on top of each other, but beside one another, so I could easily pull out one without needing to take them all down.   I then turned to four different stencils with architectural themes.  They are Once Upon a Time, L484, by Carolyn Dube, Rural Buildings, L444, by Andrew Borloz, Venetian Buildings, S199, by Carolyn Dube, and the six-inch stencil from Tina Walker's Irish Travelers club set of September, 2019.  I rubber-banded the boxes together to keep them aligned and stenciled one building or set of buildings on each side.  

Once the sides were stenciled in black and white, I naturally had to collage poetry to each.  Sifting through the fragments was fairly easy to do with these shallow boxes/ deep trays.  I don't know why I enjoy creating this kind of found poetry so much - I like the unexpected directions the clippings force me to follow.  I can spend hours arranging and rearranging these bits and pieces of magazine paper - sometimes I have to go hunting through the stack of ransacked magazines for a specific word I think I need to use.  On rare occasions I resort to stamping a word with my alphabet stamps. In the end, I had four poems that I rather liked:

House from Tina Walker's Irish Traveler's club set of September 2019

Venetian Buildings, by Carolyn Dube

Once Upon a Time, by Carolyn Dube

(not a poem, really, but a lot of good notions - they are marching around Andrew Borloz's Rural Buildings)

Now that I have my fragments an arm's reach away on a shelf over my desk, I can grab them and sort through them very quickly.  (I can't tell you how many laborious other storage systems I'd struggled

I had already added the large cave from Caves and Ladders by Carol Wiebe, the club set for September 2018, to this page in one of my altered books.  It seemed to be waiting for a poem to land on it.
with in the past).  I used to write books for a living, and even though I'm more interested in visual expression these days, I always want to add words to whatever I make - to a spread in an altered book, to a card design, a painting, a drawing.  I like seeing the trio of house boxes on my shelf, knowing my words are waiting to be taken on an unexpected journey.




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