East Bay Open Studios, 2014

In case you are in the Bay Area during one of the next two weekends — I will be showing my art with Jessica Phrogus, at her studio on 2220 Acton St. in Berkeley, June 7-8 and June 14-15 from 11AM to 6PM.

"Book of Bon-Bons" by Jan Dove and "Vessel Book" by Jessica Phrogus
“Book of Bon-Bons” by Jan Dove and “Vessel Book” by Jessica Phrogus

You are welcome to drop by.  I will be demonstrating the Coptic Binding technique intermittant with making some paper puzzles from my Bon Bon book.


Check out Jessica’s wonderful Seminole dolls and drawings.

Seminole Dolls by Jessica Phrogus
Seminole Dolls by Jessica Phrogus


Artist Books in the Digital Age

Just in case you are in the northern San Francisco Bay Area on Sunday, March 23, 2 – 4PM, check this out:

artist book by Jan Dove
Jan shows and tells at the McCune Collection.

There is a rare book and print treasury at the JFK Library in Vallejo called the McCune Collection.  Jan has been invited to lecture for about an hour in the McCune room on currents in the contemporary Artist Book making world.  She will show examples of some of her favorite contemporaries and then talk about some of her books which will be installed in the room. Q&A to follow.

It’s easy to find the library.  To find the McCune Room you must go around to the back parking lot.

You can enlarge this map by clicking on it.

map to McCune Room
Go around to the back parking lot.

The McCune Room is located on the lower level of
the John F. Kennedy Library
505 Santa Clara St.
Vallejo, CA 94590

Trip to Oakland, ProArts

Granted, this is really not a “road” trip for us, but for someone living in Denver it could be….

After months of a dehydrated rainy season, we finally got some rain.  Oola and I are waterproof, so umbrellas in hands we headed out to an Opening Reception for a show at ProArts Gallery, in Civic Center, downtown Oakland.  Works in this show were chosen by peer review — a novel premise for a show and an instructive process.  We were not disappointed with the results.  There were so many great pieces it was hard to choose what to write about.

I was happy to find my artist book “Wave” displayed in a generous space to its best advantage —

artist book, "Wave"
“Wave” in good company

and in the best of company.

I was completely smitten by Michael Koehle’s “Sink”.  It has the translucent depth of layers and layers of wax.  I’m not sure how it was done, but the drawing (pigment print) seemed to float somewhere in the middle of those layers. Poetic merging of content and medium.  Exquisite linear quality.  Love it!

"Sink", print on wax surface
“Sink” by Michael Koehle

Nearby are two paintings by Bernadette Jiyong Frank.   At first they only whispered to me.

Paintings by Bernadette Jiyong Frank
Spaces in Between (Glacier Blue) and Untitled (Red)

Then, on the second go-round — all forty layers of nearly transparent paint sucked me in.  A memory of listening to Mozart intensely and hearing (for the first time) the silence between the notes, the minute space between the end of one sound and the beginning of the next sound — that memory jumped to mind.  Later Bernadette told me about the Japanese concept of “Ma” which is about the spaces in between — in time, in space.  Something like what artists call negative space, which is not negative at all, but can be considered to be the form between the forms, or that which gives the forms their shape.  Exceptional work!

All the way on the other side of the gallery is a pair of embroidered silk hangings by Tali Weinberg.  She tells us that the strong text is from her conversations with Bay Area women — artists, activists, and scholars.  The strength, directness and weight of the stitching underlines the intensity of the verbal sentiments.

These complex works really need to be seen with light coming through them.  The strands of red on the back, strangely compelling and reminiscent of dripping blood, are as strong as the words on the front.

Light as a breeze through drying laundry, heavy as a dying social construct.

One more — though there are so many good ones!  Dear to my heart are the folded elephant-hide paper constructions of Goran Konjevod.

Folded paper constructions by Gordon Konjevod
Folded paper constructions by Goron Konjevod

I asked him if he had thoughts of making larger constructions.  The problem is finding the paper strong enough to resist the force of gravity.  “Perhaps in Bronze”, Oola said.  “Maybe”, said Goron.  He’s working on the “how” of it now.

I felt proud to be included in this collection from Bay Area artists.  The artists will be talking about and taking questions about their work on Saturday Feb. 15th, starting at 2PM in the gallery.  The show is up through Feb. 21.

You can visit Bernadette Jiyong Frank’s blog to see unobstructed views of more work in the show.

ProArts Gallery
150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza,
Oakland, CA  (Close to 12th St. BART station)

www.proartsgallery.org510 763 4361

Gallery hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10AM to 5PM, and Saturdays 11AM to 4PM.

Open Road

There are times when one must accept that one is not going to go on a road trip — of the physical type, anyway — for a while.  That is when a trip by poetry can provide what is needed.  I went back to Leaves of Grass by Walt Witman and was once again adrenalized by the exuberance and abundance of his spirit.  I had this little set of linoleum print scraps sitting on the back burner of the studio, and I discovered that his “Song of the Open Road” felt perfect for these images.

Click on any image to view an enlargement.

Visual Bon-Bon

Getting close to finishing an Idea which hatched during my residency at Blue Mountain Center, and that is a box of visual bon-bons.  In actuality they are geometric puzzles to which I added photographs, prints and drawings.  You can find these puzzles on the internet by searching for “flexagons”.

One fairly simple puzzle with an impossible flap grew into a little book named “Membranes”.

Click on any image to see an enlargement.

Artist Book by Jan Dove
impossible flap puzzle grows into a book

“Membranes” is finished off with some batik cotton and coptic binding.

coptic binding

Next project: finish the box of bon-bons of which this book is one piece — I think.

More Art from Blue Mountain Center Residency

The idea to pay homage to the water and the land here in the Adirondacks lead me to a second installation (in addition to the Waterbook in the last post).

Earth woman artist book
Earth woman

Here she is as installed in the woods outside my studio,,  She is an artist book of 16 panels with the image sections of Earth woman on one side and text on the other.

Earth woman text
Earth woman text

Here is a view of the text, which consists of definitions of land related words from which I highlight chosen words to create a kind of “found” poem.

If you were walking by this section of woods at  night with a flashlight, you might see this.

Earth Woman at night.

Paul, a fellow resident, suggested I try candle light.  He helped me, and we got this.

Earth Woman by candle light
Earth Woman by candle light

Here is a small section from the poem on the back of this piece.



I held my

‘seat,’ by association

with trees:

for the trees fail to grasp

overattention to details.


Plant a wooden structure

representing different


A man.

A challenge.

Bony antlers.


This book started as a photo of a small statue that watches over those of us who simply MUST read our email, (and write our blog).  Through the miracle of Photoshop I took the Christian crosses off her dress and replaced them with the logos of some environmental organizations.  Foremost on the list to my mind is the ban fracking movement.  http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org.  If you haven’t heard what Obama and the BLM are up to right now, get info and submit your comments here. act.350.org/letter/public-lands-fracking/

This book will fold down to about 6″ x 17″ x 2″.  My next job is to create a book box for it.

Going home soon.

Work at Blue Mountain Center

Today was the day.  When I came to Blue Mountain Center three weeks ago,  I thought I would like to try to create two books, one that pays homage to the water here, and one that pays homage to the land.  The water book has been finished for a while, but rain has kept me from presenting it to the Lake.  This morning opened just a little cloudy, so I told Oola, Today is the Day.

All picts can be clicked on to get enlargements.

The photoshop file looks like this.


and it is divided into 28 panels, printed on clear film, and bound loosely into a folding book.  I attached little floaties and prints of waterlily leaves.  (The waterlilies here are beautiful and endangered from acid rain.)  (I had a remote encounter with a river otter, and a mink.)

Right after breakfast Mike – another of the residents and a fine writer – and I took the Water book down to the shallow part of the lake and launched it.  A little while later several other residents showed up.  Jen and Danica took these great pictures.

a corner of Waterbook
a corner of Waterbook
Waterbook floating
Waterbook floating

I bet a few of you were wondering where Oola has been.  Well, she’s been plenty busy, but she helped out with this art installation.

Oola and Waterbook
Oola and Waterbook and some real waterlily leaves

Soon it was time to take Waterbook out of the water, and start thinking about a suitable bound box for it.

Taking Waterbook out of the water
Taking Waterbook out of the water

Then it was time to start folding up Waterbook for the trip to the studio.

folding Waterbook
folding Waterbook
folding Waterbook
folding Waterbook
once more

Here you can see some of the text.  It consists of water related definitions from which I highlighted selected words to create an I Ching sounding poem.  Here is part of it.


a house down by the lake

your story:
to breathe
under water,
flowing water,
an abundance.

she swam on the surface.

he went for a swim
against) the tide.


The second book, an homage to the land, is nearing completion.  Hopefully I can finish in the next 6 days.

More later.

Road Trip to Dallas

It’s time to hit the road again.  Oola and I are going to Dallas – with stops along the way –  to a family wedding.

Before the camera, people on the Grand Tour would keep their observations in a sketchbook.  This ties in perfectly with my conviction that I remember places and things I take the time to draw much better than if I only take a photo.

I have this app that lets you draw and paint on the iPad with finger, stylus, or special brush.  The plan is to post a drawing each day.  It’s new to me, so let’s see if I gain any facility with it.  I also got an app that alerts you to roadside attractions along the way.  We’ll see what oddities we can find – and draw.

You can click on the drawing to see an enlargement.

Blue Prius
Mom’s Memorial and VW

Here is the first sketch.  In the parking lot, under the magnolia tree, ready to go.  On the left is Mom’s Memorial Prius, still with her bobble-headed chihuahua who has acquired the name Bruiser.  On the right is a Volkswagen van of venerable age.  It bears the decals of many trips, and would love to go, but, alas, is no longer a long-distance vehicle.  I have a greenish memory of morning sickness in this van, brought on by the child who is now getting married.

We’re leaving tomorrow morning, heading to the Sierras, maybe Tioga Pass.  We are trying not to plan to much in advance.  Just generally heading East.  Though we do have reservations to camp on the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

Oola vs the Forces of Evil and Dismay


Click on the card to see a larger version.

Following on the chicken/egg question – and along the lines of  “Does language express our concepts, or does language create our concepts” – in this body of art and tomfoolery Jan asks “Are images the result of our perceptions, hopes, and fears, or do images create and perpetuate our cultural/social experience.”  How important is “High Art” and what is it doing to us?  Oola takes on all questions in her own inimitable style.

Oola rides again.  And there will be hotdogs with yellow mustard at her reception!  All welcome!


Infinity Detail

Here is a book that has been fermenting for a while. I’ve been tearing up old prints and making new ones from the pieces.  And I was curious about light coming through the paper. This version has been produced digitally.

Artists Book, Infinity
Infinity Detail

As the book emerged I saw that it wanted to take on some aspect of the infinity symbol.  So then – of course – there crept in that old nagging Catholic question, “What exactly is ‘Infinity’?”  “What exactly is ‘the moment’?”.  “What is ‘now’?- as soon as you are aware of now, it is ‘then’.  I hear that other animals don’t ask these questions.  Is that true?  What is “Truth”? Do other animals have “Truth”?………..

Infinity Detail, selected page
Infinity Detail, selected page
Infinity Detail, selected page
Infinity Detail, selected page
Infinity Detail, construction
Infinity Detail, construction

You can see more (and larger) details at www.jandove.com/index.php/artist-made-books/infinity-detail

I had planned to post my reflections on a recent trip to see the Balclutha in SF. But after the event yesterday in Connecticut my mother/teacher heart was elsewhere.  It goes out to the families in that unspeakable tragedy, and to every parent who is holding children closer today.  May the healing begin soon for all.