Thursday, December 31, 2009

First Print Drop Approaches

Happy New Year from Book Bombs! 2010's arrival means it is time for the bombing of the prints to begin.... Friday, January 8 will be the first installment. Check back next week for more details on where to look for them.

In the meanwhile, in that last end-of-year rush of donation requests, I'd like to recommend throwing some fiscal support in the direction of Project H.O.M.E. to support their comprehensive services towards empowering those who find themselves without a home.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This Paper is a Shirt

Finally Book Bombs is nearing the first printing. In preparation for this first print, we cut up old shirts and pants:

and then paper pulped them:

Keep an eye peeled for more on the printing, and at long last, the distribution....

Monday, December 14, 2009

What are your interactions with and as the homeless?

Book Bombs wants to know, what are your interactions or non-interactions with the homeless, or as the homeless? What stories, opinions, thoughts, experiences (good or bad), are you willing to share?

Post a comment here or email us at bookbombing (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Craft Night Invasion

This past week, Book Bombs invaded Craft Night at Katie's - Katie Baldwin's weekly studio gathering for arts and crafts. Our invasion focused on cutting up clothing to later be pulped for papermaking purposes. Our first print bombings will be printed on paper made from clothing and blankets, items that can alternately represent luxury or survival, allowing the actual fibers of our paper to embody the printed content. Some of our cuttings can be seen above.

In other news, the website for Mark/Remarque, the 2010 Southern Graphics Conference in Philadelphia is now live. Check out the upcoming demos and panels, particularly those featuring Book Bomber Mary Tasillo. Book Bombs will also be hosting a zine release party during the event, all are welcome to come get a free copy of the zine we will be producing as part of this project!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Philly Program to Prevent Foreclosures

Philadelphia's government is typically described as corrupt and disorganized, and that's when people are being polite. However, once in a while, Philly gets it right. Philadelphia's primary civil court has now adopted rules that state that no home may be foreclosed on and sold by the Sheriff's office with out a "conciliation conference," in which homeowners and lenders - such as Bank of America representatives - sit down face-to-face and create a workable compromise. Every homeowner facing foreclosure is provide counseling, and in some cases, a volunteer lawyer.

The plan has its critics, mostly that say the city is just prolonging the inevitable, but cities across the US are considering adopting the Philadelphia plan.

The New York Times covered this issue, providing a history of the plan's development, implementation, and criticism. To read the article, visit here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Urban Invasives are Hot!

Watch out folks; paper from invasives is the next in thing. Reports are that Duke Riley's engraving in the New Prints 2009/Autumn show at the International Print Center New York is printed on paper made from phragmites. Incidentally phragmites were one of the first invasives to come to my attention after my sister came back from marine biology camp in high school. She was obsessed with them, and pointed them out everywhere. We were both obsessed with saying the word "phrag-mit-e." Evidently these invasives are found throughout Central Park in New York City. Thanks to Printeresting for the tip, and for the following visual aids:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gearing up for January Print Bombings

Carving began this week on the first print of the Book Bombs project. The first print bombings will appear in Love Park and Christ Church Park on First Friday, January 8. As we gear up for Philagrafika 2010, check out Book Bombs and other upcoming independent projects here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Different Sort of Book Bomb

Check out Gregory Green's Book Bomb #8.

Thanks to Suzanne Fischer for the tip on the write up on the Hilobrow site.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Greetings from the Welcome House (part 2)

Book Bombs is featured in the video "Greetings from the Welcome House," currently on view till December 30 in the Cafe Gallery at the Painted Bride Art Center. The Painted Bride is located at 230 Vine Street in Old City, Philadelphia. Hope you can stop by!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Greetings from the Welcome House

Join Book Bombs this Friday, November 6, from 5-7 PM at the Painted Bride for screenings of Greetings from the Welcome House, the documentation of the October Welcome House event in Love Park. Book Bombs is much obliged to Ricardo Rivera for capturing our day of public paper art so beautifully.

The video will be on display through the end of December in the Cafe Gallery. The Welcome House structure itself will be on view in the exhibition Shelter, also on view through the end of the year at the Painted Bride. The Bride is located at 230 Vine Street in Old City, Philadelphia.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween: Love Pumpkin

Mary imagined that this pumpkin just a block up the street from her house had been carved expressly for her--or maybe for the folks in Love Park.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Exhibition Advocating for the Homeless

The Brossman Miller Gallery and the Cora Miller Gallery in Wolf Hall at York College currently have the exhibitions, "Give and Take," and "Nowhere to Lay His Head" on display. The first is a group exhibition, an interactive, living exhibition about cooperation and reciprocity in which a group of artists have created works dealing with ideas such as meeting the needs of others and having one’s own needs met, ridding oneself of excess, and addressing problems communally and individually. The artists are free to interpret these themes or introduce new ones, and visitors will be asked to participate in the life of the project as well. Exhibitors include Jane Craven, Alex Gartelmann, Melody Martin, Joanna Platt, Melanie Rodgers, JoAnne Schiavone and Katie VanVliet.

"Nowhere to Lay His Head," is a solo exhibition by Matthew Works. Works is an artist, writer and activist for the homeless who has lived in Boston for 30 years, the last 13 of which have been spent “on the streets.” When security tightened after the Sept. 11 attacks and the Boston police began to crack down on the homeless population more than usual, Works began responding to an increasing number of invitations to speak and exhibit his artwork around the country. Since beginning his “Cross Country Speaking Tours” and “Traveling Art Shows,” he has built a following at many colleges, universities and churches as an artist and “theologian in residence.”

To read the entire press release, or find out more about the exhibitions, please visit here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Collecting Clothing

Philadelphia Friends,
If anyone has any large coats, blankets, sweatpants, hoodies, or knit caps they don't need anymore, Marianne Bernstein is trying to gather 20 of everything for the friends we made in Love Park during the Welcome House residency who need them for the winter. She is collecting them at the Painted Bride, or if you pass them to Book Bombs and we will get them there. Contact us at bookbombing(at)gmail(dot)com if are interested in donating.

Book Bombs

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Book Bombs heads south!

Last weekend, Book Bombs flew the city to Atlanta, GA, to join other papermakers at the Friends of Dard Hunter Conference. At the event, Book Bomber Mary Tasillo gave the talk,"Slow Papermaking," as part of the Papermaking and Sustainable Art Practices panel, where she discussed the Book Bombs project. Also on the panel were Patterson Clark and Zina Castanuela.

The countdown to Philagrafika 2010 has begun -- check out our page on their site here. And keep your eyes peeled come January as Book Bombs makes appearances around Philadelphia...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Welcome House at Night

After dark, the Welcome House has been transforming into a glowing video cube, documenting the daytime events. Here are some still images of the video about Book Bombs Shelter by the amazing Ricardo Rivera of klip collective.

Thanks once again to everyone who came out and participated. And a special thanks to Marianne Bernstein and Angela Jerardi who made the Welcome House happen!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Book Bombs Shelter

We would like to thank everyone who came on out to Love Park to participate in Book Bombs Shelter at the Welcome House last week! Above, you can see the final installation. Below are some images of the participants and the work they produced.

For more images of the day, please visit here.

In November, the pieces produced as part of Book Bombs Shelter will travel to the Cafe Gallery at the Painted Bride Art Center to be part of an exhibition documenting the works produced at the Welcome House. The Painted Bride is located at 230 Vine Street in Old City, Philadelphia. All are welcome - and we hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Come on out on Friday

The Welcome House project is now underway, with residencies each day in Love Park and an opening party tonight from 7-10.

Please come by on Friday between 10 and 6 (or so) to make your own print in handmade paper pulp and contribute to an amazing community installation.

Monday, September 21, 2009



Philadelphia’s First Person Arts Festival is proud to host BOOK BOMBS as part of the Welcome House Project. BOOK BOMBS is a collaboration between artists Mary Tasillo and Michelle Wilson. The Welcome House is a 10 foot by 10 foot transparent cube installed in Philadelphia’s own Love Park, featuring artist projects by day and video of the day’s activities by night. On October 9, 2009, as part of their daylong residency, BOOK BOMBS will utilize handmade paper and community participation to create a site-specific one-night installation called Book Bombs Shelter. This event is free and open to the public.

BOOK BOMBS is a collaborative, site-based zine project examining Philadelphia parks and benches as social spaces, shelters, and art galleries, and will culminate next year as a component of PHILAGRAFIKA 2010. As part of Book Bombs Shelter, Tasillo and Wilson invite the population of Love Park, including office workers, skateboarders, protesters, passers-by, and the homeless, to create works in handmade paper about Love Park. The resulting papers will be attached while still wet to the interior of the Welcome House, creating an evolving visual conversation about the nature of urban public space in general and Love Park in particular. In addition, the pieces will be documented on the project blog, and used as material for the upcoming zine publication about shelter, homelessness, and urban space during PHILAGRAFIKA 2010.

The Welcome House is a project conceived and curated by artist Marianne Bernstein and presented by First Person Arts in collaboration with Designed to re-imagine art spaces, art practice, and community engagement, artists were invited to propose one-day residencies using the space as a nexus for public interaction. All daytime events will be filmed by klip collective videographer Ricardo Rivera and projected onto the cube at night for public viewing. Following the project will be an exhibition of the works created in the Welcome House at the Painted Bride Art Center, located at 230 Vine Street in Philadelphia, in November 2009. The exhibition will remain on display during the First Person Arts Festival and through the end of 2009.


October 9, 2009: Book Bombs Shelter, collaborative public art project by Mary Tasillo and Michelle Wilson, part of the Welcome House Project. Love Park, 15th and JFK Boulevard, Philadelphia. Free and open to the public.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How Does a City Close Its Parks?

Readers in Philadelphia are all too aware of the precarious state of the City at this moment. Without the State's approval of a budget for the current year, and of a temporary sales tax hike for the City of Philadelphia, we are due to go to Budget Plan C in a scant few weeks, with lay-off notices going out tomorrow. This budget calls for the closing of park services and libraries, and social service agencies receiving City funding have been affected for months - shuttering the spaces that provide safe havens and support for those without a safety net. And editorial on today asks: How exactly do parks close? Does it mean we can't sit on a bench? This editorial, "Plan C: Who's Going to Kill the Rats?" goes on to point out the lack of a plan involved in Budget Plan C, which calls for cuttings and closings, but doesn't tell citizens anything about how life will function without its courts or timed traffic lights or its park services.

Coming out of this legislative disaster, we need a movement to hold our legislators, who just got back from a paid vacation while small businesses and non-profits have gone unpaid, accountable. They should not be getting paid while other citizens are not.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mugwort Paper (Part 2)

To make mugwort paper, we first cooked the stems in soda ash (see above). While they were cooking, a load of abaca was beaten. At the end of the beating, the cooked fibers were well rinsed and then added to the load. Below, Mary forms a sheet.

Below, the results of the paper when dried:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The YARNBOMBERS, a tribute

Book Bombs was inspired in part by a group of yarn/graffiti artists from the UK who call themselves the Yarnbombers. This brief post is just an acknowledgment to them and their amazing work.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Wall Street Journal: Tolerating the Tent Cities

Jennifer Levitz has just published an article in The Wall Street Journal discussing the new wave of "Hoovervilles" -- tent cities that are not only increasing in many cities, but even being tolerated by them. They are not universally accepted, however, many cities are now recognizing that their homeless shelters are at their maximum capacity -- Levitz refers to one in California that turns away 350 people a night. Some cities are even going so far as to provide PortaPotties and showers. The article includes a slideshow of one of the tent cities in the Nashville, TN area.

To read the article, visit here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Princess Tree Harvest

Princess tree (paulownia tomentosa) is a native plant of western and central China. First introduced to the United States around 1840 as an ornamental plant, it is still sold as such today, as well as being grown in plantations and harvested for export to Japan.

However, the plant is an aggressive invasive that thrives in disturbed areas, and has spread along the East Coast and in some areas of the West. It spreads by both seeds and root. Root sprouts can grow more than 15 feet in a single season.

Like Mugwort, Princess tree has a number of uses. And like mugwort, we are harvesting it from empty lots in order to make paper. Below, Mary sits with our harvest.

Despite small quarters, we managed to spread out the leaves and stems to dry before being made into paper -- see below. On the right is my new beater. It has been suggested to us that Princess tree may need to be de-barked before cooking and processing. As our research progresses, we will have to decide how we plan to process it.

All of our Princess tree was harvested from a large empty lot that sits between Thompson and Master and American and North 2nd Streets -- across from what is now the Crane Arts Building. This lot formerly was the home of a bar and a junkyard that had been labeled a Superfund site. Now a sign proclaims, "Luxury Townhomes Coming Soon!"

Right now the lot sits empty and overgrown. It reminds me how quickly and dramatically Philadelphia can change. Depending on what direction I walk from my home, I encounter public sculpture, empty lots, murals, drug dealers, art galleries, community gardens, graffiti, night clubs, liter, churches, mosques, all within a few blocks. Philadelphia literally changes from block to block, crossing one street can take you into a completely different situation. However, these various worlds can live side by side and never interact.