A Hand-Made Life

Julie Cameron called it "A Hand-Made Life." The artist's way. Where one's own energies, imaginations, hands, and heart can shape a life and a world. On Saturday, June 25, I was privileged to have two artbooks -- paper made from my old T-shirts, designed and letter pressed by hand -- presented at Tia Chucha's Cafe Cultural by the artists, Sher Zabaszkiewicz and Matt Cohen. Sher and Matt worked diligently for months on end with seven new poems in a book they called "Seven," and two poems about my wife Trini, and my mother Maria Estela, called "Two Women" (a Spanish version was also done called "Dos Mujeres"). They only did a limited number of the books, hand-bound, hand numbered and signed by me. Several limited edition broadsides of the poems were also created and displayed.

At the presentation, Sher and Matt described the amazing process of creating books from scratch, taught at an Art Book Making class at the University of California, Santa Barbara by Harry Reese (who graciously showed up -- along with members of Sher's family and Matt's family). I was honored they wanted to do my poems in this manner -- the end result was truly emotional, to see these poems so lovingly rendered, just as they were lovingly written.

Using imagery from Aztec codices, and printed using polymer plates and linoleum cuts, they also used my own handwriting for the covers of "Seven," "Two Women" and "Dos Mujeres."

Thank you Sher and Matt. These will remain priceless to me. We will also be selling the books and broadsides at Tia Chucha's and other outlets for those interested in collecting such masterworks of hand-made books. So true to a hand-made life.

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