23 June 2008

"Doll" a commissioned Visual Anthology™

My phone rang about 3 weeks ago with an urgent and panicked request...

Could I please produce a book for a 50th wedding anniversary celebration.

The clients parents lived in South Africa, her mother has been extremely ill for a few years now and with tears she explained the situation.

Would this be one of the last times she saw her?

The client wanted to give her parents something to celebrate their undying love for each other - yes 50 years of true love.

The clients parents were wonderful parents to the client.

How could I say no?

She rushed over,

Got the specifics of all that I needed

And the race was on to phone South Africa

Find someone coming to Australia that week

Get her brother to raid the photos

And the many memorabilia boxes.

The parcel arrived later in the week
I had just 2 weeks to do this Visual Anthology™

I am absolutely exhausted, working mostly 18 hour days to get it complete so please forgive me but there will not be lengthy explanation of absolutley everything at this time.

I finished the book last night.
{And I thought "The 12 Tribes" was big - hah!!!}

It was delivered to the client amidst tears of joy.

I could not see straight by the end of it but I nearly had tears of joy that I made the deadline and even had it photographed by my photographer Ingrid who never ceases to amaze me - she comes running each and every time. With this piece she had to start photographing even as I was still working on it - sooooooo some of the photos will not, quite, reflect the piece complete.

"Doll" left on a 6am plane headed for South Africa this morning.

I collapsed in bed straight after the handover.

I had no time to start the book from boards and bind it from scratch.
So A book I needed to find in order to alter.

Luckily the Antiques Fair was on just after I got the call and I was able to get this Antique Postcard Album - a challenge indeed to alter and re-do the binding as it was falling apart.

I chose this album for a variety of reasons but mainly for the gold cameo-type image on the front as this was their Golden Wedding Anniversary, after all.

The 4 people represented at the top of the book are the couple's parents.
Their images are adhered to the red poppies.

Why did I place the parents on the front cover and why on top of the red poppies?

Red Poppies are a symbolic representation of remembrance, particularly remembrance for those who are no longer with us.

From "whence" we came
is always the way I start my pieces.
To remember the loved ones that brought us into this world.

The stem of the poppies lead to my clients.
However, before them we see a female and a male Antique doll - why?

From the day they met, up until today, the loving couple referred to each other as "doll".

That’s the only way they have referred to each other for over 50 years - they are renown for it.

Hence the Book is called "Doll" and how could I not attach these 2 sweet dolls.

Check out how the boy doll is peering over at the girl doll.

I wonder if he is thinking...

"What are we doing attached to this book" ??????

G-d only knows what that doll is thinking flying originally from Germany, landing up in Australia and now on a plane bound for South Africa.

These dolls sure do have an amazing history to tell - in fact it is the focus of a piece that I was working on but had to stop.

{By the way my friend Carmi is selling some of these in her ETSY shop and her Canadian website here.}

Attached to the dolls is a tiny brass envelope in which I inserted the words

"Love you doll" just as the South Africans would say it.

The first page or 'fronts-piece' as it is more commonly known, was created in order for my client to explain, as it were, the reasoning behind the book and additionally to insert her speech for the celebration.
Hence, I created a pocket.

At the top of the pocket you see a glimpse of a book title I found which seemed appropriate enough...

"The Golden Age"

Turn the flap of the pocket down and it reveals this...

My clients' name, as she commissioned the book and my signature which I sometimes forget to put in.

For the 2nd page of this huge book -I used an antique book cover called "Good Words".

Why did I use that book?


Because I thought what better a title can there be to sit side by side next to the speech, the good words that will be placed in the pocket.

The fact that the typeface was in gold only added to the relevance of using this book.

The cherub playing the mandolin - well come on you romantics , we all know what that is for.

The '50' attached to the book is for the 50 years of marriage.

And then...

Pull a little on the 50 and


The loving couple, the day they got engaged!

Awwwwwww, now isn't that sooooo romantic!

Time to catch up on some rest.

To be continued...



Sam Marshall said...

You are such a inspiration. What an absolutely gorgeous book-WOW!!!!!

Sue said...

wow, what a gift! Beautiful, I can't wait to see more of it.
I hope you have a long and restful sleep after this effort.

A bird in the hand said...

Judy, thank you so much for your congrats on the cover!

Your work is (wait till I find the right word) moving. You need a vacation after all that work.

Cheers, Colette

gina armfield said...

How lucky they were to have you honor them in such a book and how lucky are you to be honored to do such. You have a true gift.

Sharon said...

Just beautiful and so inspirational. I always need to look again and again at your work. It pulls me and draws me and I will be watching for more as soon as your rested a bit.

Carrie said...

Inspirational Judy - it is a pleasure to just view it on your blog - I can only imagine what it would be like to have one irl.

Christie said...

I am on the edge of my seat and can hardly wait to see the rest. As usual, you've done amazing work.

Carmen said...

My goodness Judy, your work never ceases to amaze me. Absolutely incredible.

Have a restful week!



Steph said...

Another wowwwww book ! Thanks for sharing Judy !

Ro Bruhn said...

Now I know why you didn't rush down to get your type. This is another fabulous piece of art as only you can produce judy. Well done once more.

azirca said...

You did all that in just TWO weeks?! Wow! no wonder you are wiped out. The anniversary book is wonderful. The recipients will adore it and be overwhelmed, I'm sure.

kecia said...

what a spectacular gift! i am sure the client was beyond overwhelmed when she received it. i can see her hands trembling as she presents this loving memoir to her parents. so lovely.

Izabella said...

oh my!! Yes you have been busy!! This book is amazing~ 2 weeks!! you are amazing~ 11 inches..can't wait to see more of the photos~

another masterpiece created!! Congratulations my dear, now I hope you & Michael are enjoying the time together~


laurel said...

What an amazing gift you were able to make them!

Jo Wholohan said...

ssoooo beautiful and so inspirational judy, i lovvveee it as I know the new owners will :))

dogfaeriex5 said...

i want to cry, what a beautiful and moving tribute to 50yrs of marriage and life in general...
cannot wait to hear more....~kim

Crystal said...

If I were wearing socks, you'd have knocked them off! I love the photo of the side of the book, very tantalizing, leaving me wanting to reach in and touch each page!
I am astonished at your ability to produce such a treasure in such a short time! Congrats on the completion ~ be sure to get some rest!

Leslie said...

Judy, you are the doll. I had tears just reading what you did for these folks. You blow me away. In TWO WEEKS! Amazing.

Sleep, sweet girl.


MB Shaw said...

Ah Judy, how divine. Amazing and perfect. I do a similar thing (2 dimensional paintings though) for clients. But alas, I can't manage to talk about it as you do. What a glorious gift.....

Megan P said...

What a massive undertaking in so short a time - as always you have made no compromise on your impeccable work, attention to detail and honouring the subject matter. well done. (next AB should get to you today!) Mx

Sarah said...

WOW this is fabulous Judy. I cant beleive that you completed in just 2 weeks, you must have burnt that midnight oil..

R said...

Judy, this is as amazing as ever. It has made me cry, You see my grandmother passed away in August last year and to say she is missed by my grandfather is an understatement. He still drives everywhere with a photo of her beside him. I don't think I could ever imagine what it would be like to be indentured labour, live through a war, find someone to love, have a child, travel to a new country and start a life without family. Yet this is something you record everyday. You are a very special lady.

sherri (Tied Up In Ribbons) said...

Stunning. Can't wait to see more. My mind is spinning with ideas after seeing this. You can really jump start me with your projects. Thanks for sharing them

seth said...

Yet another amazing creation. A gift to treasure forever I am certain. The first photo is a fantastic visual.

Heather, paperfollies.typepad.com said...

wow, judy, what an angel you are for this couple and the family...your attention to every last detail and your willingness to complete this project...you made me cry. xo

Kim S. Owens said...

Hi Judy,
Well, you have done it again - Magnificent!! Another family treasure for the ages.... Can't wait to meet you in Portland - being your student will be the highlight of my life :-))

Jacky said...

Judy you always draw me in to your wonderful books, thank you for sharing.

Suzan Buckner said...

Hello! My husband is taking a college course called "Interpreting the Text", and it has a lot of Jewish History in it, and he was talking about it, and it made me think of you! I haven't visited in a very long time, I don't get much time on the computer anymore. Your art is so inspirational, and wonderful. Love every bit of it! I hope you are doing wonderfully!! I love this latest project with the dolls. I collect those little things. I absolutely love them!! I would have never thought about attaching them to a book.

I know how you feel about your son going away for 6 months. My daughter use to go away every summer to travel, and it was always so hard!!

Anyways, big hugs!

Kathryn and Joy said...

Once again, you have outdone yourself. It's beautiful and a wonderful tribute to a loving relationship. Many hearts will swell and tears will fall over this one I'm sure.
Take a rest, my dear!
xxoo, Joy

Judy Wise said...

Stunning; the detail and objects chosen bowl me over. I love it that you take the time to explain your process to us; that's very generous as it takes a lot of time but it does help the rest of us to know how you work.

And congratulations on your international teaching schedule. As a friend recently said to me, "you're really going to town!" xo

sue pieper said...

You ARE amazing! How you manage to do these projects and know how to make every square inch mean something and be integral to the story you tell, is a talent not to be ingnored. Why don't you come over & teach at Valley Ridge sometime, I can drive to that one!

Julie H said...

Oh Judy I can not begin to imagine completing this large a body of art in two weeks! You are incredible, and I hope that you are now having a rest.

paris parfait said...

What a completely beautiful, original gift! You've done a wonderful job creating a treasured book that the family will always take joy and pride in...just stunning, Judy!

Anonymous said...

I am the client, and Judy, you are the most special human being. Every South African wants to meet you, and this book has brought tears to everyones eyes. My parents have spent the past week sobbing, every time they open the book, they find something else. There is so much there, so much detail, and so much happiness. You are amazing. We love you so much.

SinlessTouch said...

whoa, those are some cool looking love dolls you have there. Anyway, great post! It was inspiring for me. I enjoyed reading it.