I started this in the 36 Lime Street gallery where Theresa Easton was doing an informal drop-in book-making workshop during the Creative Ouseburn weekend. See my first post about this little handmade book to see what it looked like at the end of that day and how I changed it.
There was a storm on the day that I started this and I finished it on the day after the anniversary of the Great Toon Flood, the first of three (or was it four?) particularly bad floods in 2012. These had threatened to flood properties alongside the river and brought a lot of debris into the Ouseburn. I had been trapped on a main road for about six hours in the first big flood of 2012. It was scary, partly due to the lack of information. Even when I was able to start moving, nobody knew which roads were passable. The chaos was disturbing. Since then, I had felt tense and reluctant to go out whenever I see black clouds approaching, just in case it turned out to be another super-cell thunderstorm.
The pack of bits of paper that I chose included fragments of poetry that seemed to connect with the place, weather and me. I deconstructed a couple of small pieces slightly further. I only discovered later what the poems were.
The back cover has two quotes, both Oenone by Tennyson (1829):
O mother Ida, many-fountain’d Ida,
Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
I waited underneath the dawning hills,
Aloft the mountain lawn was dewy-dark.
that house the cold crown’d snake! O
The poem fragment from Oenone by Tennyson (1829) on page 1 reads:
Hang rich in flowers, and far below them
The long brook falling thro’ the clov’n
In cataract after cataract to the sea.
The verse on this page, from Fatima by Tennyson, published in 1833 reads:
O sun, that from thy noonday height Shudderest when I strain my sight, Throbbing thro' all thy heat and light, Lo, falling from my constant mind, Lo, parch'd and wither'd, deaf and blind, I whirl like leaves in roaring wind.
The poem fragment from Oenone by Tennyson (1829) on this page reads:
hand The lawns and meadow-ledges midway down
In the poem, this tiny shard comes before the fragment starting “Hang rich in flowers…” on page 1 of my book. The triangles are shiny silver and 1 gold, slivers of sunlight escaping from the previous page.
The interior of this book now has layers of dark blue tissue paper, a fibrous dark grey material (it’s closer to fabric than paper). Tears/raindrops, of hologram paper so they shimmer rainbow colours, and the woman speaks glittering sliver words into a river also of the glittery silver lines. She can’t see the shimmering rainbow-coloured beneath her because her eyes are fixed on the ominous clouds.
The poem fragments here are are both from Oenone by Tennyson (1829):
A cloud that gather'd shape: for it may be That, while I speak of it, a little while My heart may wander from its deeper woe...
I am the daughter of a River-God, Hear me, for I will speak, and build up all My sorrow with my song, as yonder walls Rose slowly to a music slowly breath'd.
It is strange that what started out as a random selection of bits of paper turned out to be very relevant to the place, the weather, and to me. The river was a few yards away from where I started making this book, and the water cascades down the valley’s sides into the river, which flows into the Tyne and enters the sea just a few miles away. The valley’s sides have flowering roses and trees at this time of year. Where I started making the book was a busy industrial area and the building was inspired by the same Classical style as the poetry.
Now I need to think about what to put in my next handmade book, and possibly work out how to make one with more pages.