Flesh & Bone
Paper, watercolor, oil paste. Dimensions: 5 3/4″ x 6 1/4″
Flesh & Bone was born out of a time of play with watercolor and musings over the nature of journaling. I’ve noticed that a number of my recent books have all come out of processing what has happened over my life and the past five years in particular. So in an odd way they are journals, an external processing of what I have felt internally. This was the idea that gave me the idea for this book.
My original concept was an inverted journal–the idea that the inside would be blank but the outside would bear the typically internal text. I mused that journaling is done to externally express internal thoughts, yet ironically it is still kept within the covers of the book. In this way, a journal mimics the nature of the body and the mind. It is, oddly, a recreation of that same sphere. Thoughts remain internal, and a cover remains external.
Rather than inverting this concept, I fixed on the idea of a journal reflecting the nature of the body. I wanted to write about my experience with Lymes disease and what I felt, and decided that rather than write about it, I would let this book reflect my body externally and internally as a journal does with the mind and body.
The paper on the cover comes from India. The paper is made of bark stripped from a particular tree. The tree can then grow the bark back, so it is a very sustainable way to make paper. I thought the parallel to skin in color and origin would make the perfect cover material. The rough edge along the spine was a part of the paper, and I thought added an organic element to the book.
I covered the inside cover with white oil pastels, then I roughed it with a floral arrangement base. This gave it a porous texture like bones. A mix of flesh-colored watercolor decorated the pages. I tore the edges for more texture and help hint at the brokenness. The color itself felt accurate to what I felt my insides were like at the time. This was around May, when I was wasting away because I was hardly absorbing any food. My insides felt like a muddled mess.
The book turned out well, considering the changes in the process. There are some places where things aren’t perfect or pretty, but I think I’m okay with that, considering how broken I was when I created this.