When I put this book together, there was no plan or intention on how I would deliver it. There was just a feeling inside telling me that I needed to bring it along for the trip to Chicago to see Steven Tyler in his summer concert, Out On A Limb. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine how the night would end or how moved Steven would be by my little book.
This idea to create a series of books that I named “SASSAFRASSEEE" began about four years ago and was inspired by what I call Steven’s "visual texture" -- the colors, patterns and in his terms “the-what-it-is-ness” of his design style and of course his iconic scarves . I wanted to create a visual explosion of color and pattern, making it a feast for the eyes and hopefully bring some joy into the world. I also wanted to make the little books more functional than my regular art-based pieces. A gratitude journal with seven pocket pages and a small note card tucked into each pocket to record a word of thankfulness for the day seemed like a good direction. This was the very first journal in the series and I titled it, “SASSAFRASSEEE #1”.
The pages are created from 1/4” strips of patterned papers glued down to a whole sheet. Then the striped sheets are cut into small book pages to be folded and then stitched together into a book form. I placed a piece of decorative washi tape along the fold to reinforce the edge and colorful ribbon and fibers are tied to the spine binding. The cover was kept simple with an interesting dimensional element added to it.
There is a niche inside the back cover to house a dimensional embellishment and gel medium stenciling added some texture to the back cover itself. In future journals, I think I will include some blank pages to create more room for writing or to add other elements.
I usually do not wait after a show for the artist to come outside to greet the fans. But this time was different. Everything was falling into place. My sister-in-law graciously came with me on the trip and ended up being my personal paparazzi:) I sat in the theatre after the performance and just absorbed the afterglow of a fantastic show. Then I spent a little time in the merchandise line but decided I really didn’t need anything. Those two delays helped determine where I ended up in the greet line, which was one person back from the barrier and at the end of the tour bus. Then the lady in front of me got tired of waiting and let me have her spot. The rest is an incredible encounter with a truly wonderful individual. I have never met such an open-hearted, present-in-the-moment person. It was very moving and here are the pictures my sister-in-law Kym was able to shoot of our exchange.
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An additional blessing was the couple next to us who shot video of the whole exchange and offered to send it to me. I do not know how to thank them.
And just to add another poignant layer to this whole experience, while I was composing this post it came to mind that the pages of the book I gave to Steven were created during a 2013 visit with my best friend, Priscilla, whom I've known for 30 years. She suddenly passed away the following Christmas. I know she would have been ecstatic for me and maybe it was her that was urging me to take the book in the first place.
Never in my wildest dreams:)