April 8th, 2005



Everything went right last night, probably. The Hillwood Museum is a pleasant walk from the Van Ness/UDC station and went I got to the top of the escalator, tiny drops of rain were appearing here and there, but not enough to bother anyone. The museum and gardens were new to me and I will go back after April 19th when the ceramics installation opens. They encourage kids to visit, but none under six so that will take some more planning. I got there about 10 minutes before the lecture; people were standing around snacking, I didn't see anyone I knew. I had thought a bookdealer or two might show. The lecture was part of the meeting of the Washington Conservation Guild, so it was primarily a crowd of conservators. Although I did speak a little with the mom of someone who works for McSweeney's (the paper one).

It took a while to get the lighting situation figured out, but everyone was pleasant about it and it gave us in the audience more time to inspect the speaker. Martin Frost is exactly what infogirl's lj-less spouse will look like in ten years, should he stop cutting his hair. He was wearing a pirate-y shirt, too, with a doublet-y vest. He gave us a little history of the craft, a little description of technique, a little personal history of his art, and plenty of slide illustrations. He had brought about a dozen books with him, most of which were for sale and quite reasonably priced. I may have been lucky in that I did not bring my store checkbook with me. Then again, I might trudge up to Baltimore tonight for his pre-workshop lecture. That was some nifty book art.

Maybe there are people reading this who do not know what a fore-edge painting is. I have tracked down, at great expense to the taxpaying public, a short clip illustrating the phenomenon. The painting is done in watercolor on the slightly-fanned pages. When the book is closed, the painting vanishes, particularly if the edges have gilt. Some books have two different pictures, one appearing on forward-fanned pages and another on backward-fanned pages. Other books have paintings on the top and bottom edges as well. If the book is thick enough, you can split it and have one picture on the front half and another on the rear--his examples were bibles with OT and NT images. I've read about fore-edge painting and seen pictures but never handled any. It was a lot of fun.

I don't know how long the lecture lasted, but we came up afterwards to look at books and talk with the artist. We got kicked out of the museum 8ish and I discovered that that ground was soaked but the rain had stopped. I had a nice walk back to the metro, an uneventful ride back to campus, relieved Jennifer of her charge and drove home.