Mel Hewitt – My Heart Resides

FOBA 2021 Challenge Book

Technique and materials used:

The book began by playing with my favorite painting medium, ArtGraf graphite sticks, sanguine color. With Japanese calligraphy brush in hand random strokes reminiscent of chaos and cacophony were thrown throughout pieces of fine tissue mulberry. The strokes were alternated between a drenched and dry brush to create variations in texture and spread of the graphite. After the graphite layer had dried, a second using Kuretake Starry Night watercolors was applied, written in a very modern brush calligraphy style with words such as “wrong,” “outrage,” and “protest.” The main text of the book is printed on Japanese paper called Green Line using process black oil based ink on Spartan 12pt lead type with a Vandercook proofing press. This text is adhered to a piece of plastic using archival photo squares and placed in-between a folio folded sheet of the mulberry tissue, in order to keep the “see through” effect of the tissue. 

Over seven pages the text reads as follows:

where the back and forth of criticism and hatred rests before the next social upheaval begins

where the bickering and schoolyard name-calling cease before the amygdala gears up for the next onslaught

where the Doppler effect has no meaning

where its anxious beating subsides

where quiet reigns

where silence presides in the minute spaces in-between each moment of a vociferous world. 

My Heart Resides text

This book is bound in a loose interpretation of Japanese stab binding with hardcovers. The pages are sewn onto accordion folded stubs. The stubs were then sewn into the covers. This method was chosen to ensure the adherence of the plastic sheet to the main structure; glue was not considered due to previous experience of adherence failure when used with plastic sheets. The boards are covered in Japanese paper with colophon and title page inlay.

About the work:

In initially reading the prompt for the challenge my immediate thought was “silence.” In every significant memory, I could think of, each was significant because of one commonality: there were moments of pure silence. It didn’t matter where it was or who it was with, but the lack of screams, literal and metaphorical, is what lighted my heart and it is what it seeks on a continual basis. These moments are often slight, minuscule, short-lived, hidden between loud instances that beg all attention. 

The pages of the book resemble this. The broad and overwhelming strokes of the red graphite and bright gold paint command attention. But the moments of silence peek through here and there, and those are the ones that are sought for after the initial view of the pages. The text underneath the red and gold paint are those moments. In the in-between. To be able to read and appreciate the whole moment of silence the “pocket” must be opened up in order to see the whole text.