It was quite the day zipping over to Philly, making wrong turns, parking on the wrong end of Broad Street, screaming with the screaming lady on the meridian. Just another bewildering Celeste morning but with interesting developments because of all the hubbub. I found my destination and it was worth the effort. Had a grand time meeting Shanna (my fav book artist) and making tools out of Moose bone (seems the most Ivory-like to me). There were just enough book artists/teachers and enthusiasts plus a cool breeze coming in the windows. We ground away with farrier rasps, riffler and other assorted files. When learning decorating tips, a flex(ible) shaft served the need to test & develop. Not nearly enough time to enjoy all there is but such are one-day workshops.
I was very happy to be there for the skills and friends. I purchased some of her fine work, some of which I’ll use for etching. I especially like her metal tools, decorated and treated with gun metal bluing. It gives a blackish look that is more than attractive. The steel is protected against rust. It’s a kind of black oxide coating using a hot alkali salt solution. Here the alchemist in me went wild over the thought of it. It’s heated to 135-155 degrees. I miss my Parker side-by-side shotgun as we speak of this since it had the firearm version of bluing. Absolutely beautiful. I’m a fire and metal person too so the day was more than satisfactory. Shanna lives in New Hampshire and has been making tremendously lovely work. She told me over Facebook that Jim Croft’s class, “Changed her life.” Book artists are a passionate, dedicated breed. We certainly don’t do it for anything but love and inner necessity. It’s the kind of thing that displays a feverish urge in those whose nerves are energized by the making and problem solving. It is a nature oriented art in one way of the other where the mind, body and spirit move as one. Some exceptionally successfully, and some not so spectacular but you can see the craft and happiness it generates.
Later that afternoon when heading on the long trek back to my funky yellow truck, I walked through Philadelphia City Hall, a huge 1901 Second (French) Empire style 550is foot ambidecorus, arcade through the middle, kind of turn of the century building. There I heard a magnificent sound from a gentleman playing amplified violin. His name is Charles Townsend. I was moved so I made my first video of him. Hope you like it as much as I do.