Project a real page turner
Recorder/Peter MacDonald Marcia Zutautas and Lisa Davol peruse some of the books created for the rotation book project held at Loot on Avenue A in Turners Fall Sunday afternoon Purchase photo reprints »
TURNERS FALLS — It turns out deadlines and structure do have a place in art.
Last summer, 12 friends and friends of friends each picked a theme and wrote, drew or otherwise contributed the first page or two to a book before entrusting it to the next in line on a one-month clock.
“For me, art is something I do when the vacuuming is done and the dishes are clean,” said Susan Farber, one of the 12.
The results are 12 compilations of everything from poetry and old photographs to Legos, sculpted slugs and pop-up flowers.
Farber wasn’t the only participant who found the deadline pressure useful in making time for art.
“I did it because it created a structure for me, to have to do some artwork, some creative work,” said Jennifer Audley.
Pam Allan of Turners Falls said she participated in a similar project based mostly in Vermont the previous year and wanted to try it locally.
Allan, a librarian at the Northfield Mount Hermon School, said the project provided needed structure and inspiration.
“For me, it inspires me to see different people’s art, a few of the participants are professional artists but most of us aren’t,” she said. “It kind of helps you to step up your game when you see what other people are doing.”
Sunday, a sizable group crowded into the Avenue A shop Loot, where the books are now on display, to celebrate the results with mimosas and hors d’oeuvres.
A recent transplant to Turners Falls, Farber said she found the project a good way to connect with others and was surprised by the creativity it elicited.
“The variety of responses to one idea just knocks my socks off, it’s really wonderful,” Farber said.
To a book on the theme of home, Farber contributed a soliloquy written from the point of view of an ant drawn to banana remains and displaced via bucket from home to compost pile.
A brick-themed book begun by Anne Harding, also of Turners Falls, included a page of plastic Lego bricks, photos, sketches of Avenue A’s often ornate brick facades and a look at the varied possible destinies of a brick, from building a house to crushing garlic.
Nancy Folbre of Montague was among those who turned out for the event, leafing through the pages on display.
“I think the arts community in Turners is just phenomenal and it has a lot of positive energy,” Folbre said. “It’s just nice to kind of take a ride on it.”
Audley recently bought her first home in Turners Falls, and as a result settled on the theme of home for her book. In a related project and theme, members of the group are seeking postcard submissions. Anyone is invited to use a postcard-sized piece of paper to illustrate what they imagine with the phrase “where I live,” and drop off or mail the result to Loot, 62 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA 01376 or Nina’s Nook, 125A Avenue A. The postcards are due in March for a display somewhere in Turners Falls, sometime in April. Audley can be reached at 413-676-9368 with questions, or email firstname.lastname@example.org/