the weather

(This happened in February on twitter, but I'm behind on my studio housekeeping.) I was reading a story in LA Review of Books about Lisa Robertson and was surprised and happy to see the cover of the book The Weather referenced: 

'From the three floating blue circles in a white box on a sky-blue cover, signaling a Canadian pastoral poetry I had never before encountered, to the mix of conventionally paced lyric poems contrasting the justified prose blocks, it was, as she would say, a “sweet new style.”'

The Weather was one of my first design projects. Last year Paper Hound listed The Weather on its list of favourite local book design, and recently, New Star got in touch with me, and I'm working on some new covers for them. So it came back from the early 2000s (You can see on the back cover, it's for Steedman Design)! It's nice to be working on books again, after a bit of a break. 


A few years later, I laid out Lisa's book The Office of Soft Architecture, designed by Tae Won Yu for Clearcut Press. The illustration appeared in that book, and it was nice because I got to choose a Toyo colour and it was printed on a soft white bamboo paper, which was a good surface for it, and a nice contrast to the gloss coated version. I'm happy with both of them, which is a good feeling (that you don't always get as a designer to be honest). Also, Lisa, who is a very great person, came by my studio one time right after Windy had been rejected for something or other, and she gave me a very good book rejection pep talk. You need those pep talks when you're starting out.

And that's all about The Weather!


I am grateful that I have a nice husband who reminds me of art that I have seen and loved out of the blue. We collectively do not remember where we saw Agnes Martin's work, though. We only have so many spare brian cells.  Or brain cells. I remember when you see the work up close there are many fine lines. I find women from the west coast tend to produce colours that I find incredibly soothing. I first noticed it with Margaret Killgallen a long time ago, but it's something I notice often, though I'm sure I am being quite selective in what I remember.  

Gratitude by Agnes Martin via AGMA

Happy Holiday via the Tate

Untitled, 2004 (her last drawing) via Peter Blum Gallery.

anno's aesop

My favourite edition of Aesop's Fables is a 1987 edition by Mitsumasa Anno. It's not just a book of fables, it's a book about books, about different interpretations and points of view and in a way it is also about parenting.

The structure of the book is a book within a book. One day a little fox named Freddy finds a book in the woods, which he brings home to his father, Mr. Fox. Mr. Fox cannot read, being a fox, so he pretends to read the book to his son by interpreting the pictures.

Each page contains a page with a classic fable on it. Underneath is the version told by Mr. Fox. 

 In Anno's explanation, Mr. Fox pretends to be able to read the book so that his son won't lose respect for him. But it reminded me of Gordon Neufeld's advice to parents that they must act as though they are in control of situations in order to make children feel protected, which has sort of fallen out of fashion.

Sometimes this book is very touching, as in the two stories of the Ant and the Grasshopper.  The original story is in the image. I will put down Mr. Fox's version below.

It's cold outside, and snow is on the ground. People have to play indoors, where it is warm. But look, someone has come walking across the snow. This must be the farmer from the story before [The story of the Farmer and the Fox is on the previous page in which a farmer's wheat fields are set on fire]. He has been travelling all over, disguised as a musician, in search of the thief who stole his wheat. And now winter has come. It is too cold for him, and he doesn't have any food, but he sees a house ahead and he walks toward it. He can hear people dancing and talking inside. I hope they will let him come in.

But what is the grasshopper doing, you ask? Well, Freddy, it looks as if he is running away. But, yes, as you say, the grasshopper has an alibi, so he doesn't really need to run away. You're absolutely right. I had forgotten to read what it says here. It says, "The grasshopper isn't running away. He just stopped by to warn the ants that they should watch out for the farmer who has come looking for them." 

Insects should look after one another, you see.