Saturday, March 24, 2012


I transcribed this when I was in my very early 20s, fresh out of college, working my first non-profit job, trying to figure out how to keep making books while working 60-80 hours a week for an orchestra. This was early on in the transcription, when it seemed like an easy enough idea.

I wanted to have a better, slower reading of The Inner Chapters by Chuang Tzu (or Zhuangzi), ancient Chinese philosophy. You can see here how I got tired as I worked, or worried I didn't have enough canvas to complete the transcription and so started to write even tinier. I worked out a code for myself to indicate chapters and paragraphs and emphasis and so on.

The final piece consisted of two 18-foot scrolls of washed canvas (I had given up any fantasy of painting on this canvas b/c I was a sorry painter). I had done a lot of paired scrolls in my last semester of college, so it made sense at the time to format it this way. I think it was done in 2000 or 2001 and since then has been languishing in storage, apart from being in a show in 2009.

So, as I do with all old languishing work that doesn't seem quite to work, I chopped it up and turned it into a book. It works much better, like this one, and is a good book to hug.


  1. thanks for the close up and the explanation. it's amazing. i can imagine hugging this one.

  2. you're welcome! it's easy to miss what this book is actually made of. such a pleasure to make (thanks to the sewing machine).

  3. yay that you and the sewing machine are friends. it's terrific, i hope i ge tto hug it someday.

  4. Now I understand, it looks beautiful.


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