Jane Hammond and Raphael Rubinstein, Be Zany, Poised Harpists / Be Blue, Little Sparrows, 2002, artist’s book: letterpress, digital prints, photocopies, vintage postcards, vintage postage stamps, hand-coloring, rubber-stamping, and collage on a variety of archival materials, 12 3/4 x 10 1/2 x 1 3/4 inches (32.4 x 26.7 x 4.4 cm), closed. Published by Dieu Donné Papermill, Inc., in cooperation with Dieu Donné Press, New York, and Silicon Gallery Fine Art Prints, Philadelphia. © Jane Hammond & Raphael Rubinstein / Photos: Laura Mitchell
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I wanted to say something about Be Zany, Poised Harpists / Be Blue, Little Sparrows. And by the way, that’s a title that Raphael [Rubinstein] and I made up together, and we made it up using a two-letter word, followed by a four-letter word, followed by a six-letter word, followed by an eight-letter word, because that relates to the poems inside of the book. The four of them follow a kind of architectural pattern. When I made the artwork for the poem that has six stanzas of six lines of six words of six letters, I went first to an ephemera fair, and I bought postcards from all the towns Raphael mentions in his poem: London, Dieppe, Moscow, Crimea, Madrid. And then I made racy collages on the backs of those postcards, because Raphael’s poem is a racy poem. And then I hand colored the collages with colored pencils, so if you were to see two copies of this book, you would notice that the collages on the backs of the postcards are not exactly the same. And then I put on the postcards, on that back side, real stamps; so some postcard collages have stamps from Monaco, and some have stamps from Russia, and some have stamps from Poland, all different kinds of places. And then I had made up cancellation stamps; I got rubber stamps made and kind of forged the cancellation marks of different countries. So if you look closely sometimes, you’ll see that there’s a postcard from one place, and it has a stamp from another place. I did that because I know, myself, when I would travel and send postcards, I would oftentimes send my postcards a week later, in the next city. The first of Raphael’s poems is extremely spare and haiku-like, and I wanted to make an artwork that paralleled that. The first thought that came to my mind was, I wanted to make something that was sort of a nothing. So I made big soap bubbles, and I blew them by making my own wand, and making a mixture of soap and Karo Syrup. And then I had them professionally photographed, and we printed them on clear acetate and put them inside of these glassine envelopes. You can actually open the envelopes and take out the print, but then you see right through it and it feels, I think, very iffy, in the same way that Raphael’s poem does.