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Make graceful and lasting change

A book about Singapore

Cindy Tonkin - September 7, 2014

This is a book about Singapore. I visited Singapore for a week in June this year.
It’s all neutral colours. That’s where it started, but it has grown into a set of stories.
The box used to contain a mobile phone (blackberry in fact) cover. I bought the cover in LA in 2008, on my way to Chicago for iO Chicago’s improv summer school.
The box is covered in some maps from an ING Direct Christmas promotion (they sent a little book showing how Christmas was celebrated around the world.
The brown paper which forms the concertina (the core of the book) was the brown paper bag in which I bought a tiny Japanese bell with an amazing tinkle. I bought the bell in Singapore.
While in Singapore I began doodling on the bag, and I also drew and wrote about things which happened while I was in Singapore. This includes words from the music I was listening to.
I added a coat of wax to the brown paper bag when I was doing encaustic at Sturt Winter School this year.
I made the brown paper bag into a concertina with pockets on the bottom.
Then the other pages are from
– a newspaper that I picked up in the Singapore Malay Museum (i liked the writing!).
– some Japanese and maybe Korean script on rice paper (I think Nicola gave me this paper): chosen for its foreign-ness, but also the colour
– papyrus, which Nicola definitely gave me
All of these are glued inside the concertina pages. They are inserted in the pockets, but they don’t come out (the book was too unstable).
It all gives me a sense of my encounter with Singapore: raw and black and white and growing and ragged but straight.
Thinking about what I’d do differently next time, I’m a little concerned that I’m always attracted to less robust materials. Mostly because I’m recycling and upcycling things I find, especially when I travel.
I’m going to play with wax a little more as a means to re-inforce flimsy objects.
I also am getting better at remembering to put a colophon: this one is on the cover, which is doodled and written on, so you have to know it’s there. Which I quite like. Often it’s a design element which is a little too intrusive.

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