Ribbons Publications – Eucalyptus Grove
When I was a child, I used to pull large leaves from our trees and fold them over, “gluing” them into little pockets with that sticky white sap you can sometimes find in stems of weeds. Then I’d go rummaging through the flowering plants in our garden, collecting an assortment and filling up the pockets. I called them mermaid’s purses, and while I used to make daisy chains and the like as well, I always favoured those little parcels.
In hindsight, and in thinking about the name I gave them, I guess they appealed to me over other things as it was like a little secret treasure, more of a keepsake of found things that I thought were pretty. Now that I think about it, I realise this is a habit I’ve maintained – collecting things, treasuring them, sometimes ‘secreting’ them; with everything from my thoughts to my possessions.
Coming home from work today (and there it is again – “work” is, at least in this instance, scouring little shops for things that take my fancy, both old and new, collecting them, bringing them home and turning them into a treasure of a different sort). Anyway, I had received a parcel. Which is always nice. That’s another one of my favourite childhood things – receiving things in the mail, I mean. I used to send away for free stuff all the time, just so I could get letters and packages in the mail, as for some reason it was always a source of great excitement to me – little bundles addressed to me with various things inside. My poor mother would then have to fend off phone calls following up on these things and explain that “no, we really aren’t interested in purchasing land in Golden Grove, my nine year old sent away for the prospectus…” The samples of toothpaste, coffee and shampoo would often come in handy, though.
The parcel I received today is perhaps the ultimate combination of all my now not-so-secret childhood fascinations – updated to favour current obsessions. That‘s enough about me, though.
Eucalyptus Grove is book one of a box set, other issues presumably being produced sometime in the future. From my understanding, the box set plans to collect together moments captured from shows hosted by Ribbons Publications – in a variety of places, attended by a diverse ensemble of artists and beginning in 2006. This first instalment appropriately commemorates the first show, held at Eucalyptus Grove, with material collated and presented by artist David Wilson, who also contributes a series of drawings. Other contributions come from musicians Joseph Childress, Mariee Sioux and Nathaniel Russell, as well as photography by Terri Loewenthal, Kevin Haas and Ryan Junell.
For those of us who have not attended these events (or not even knowing anything about them until a chance finding during a recent search for something else…), the book presents much to explore, observe and even listen to, as it comes with a CD* recording of songs and other snippets captured at a revisit on January 27 of this year. Arriving fairly humbly in a handmade envelope printed with eucalyptus leaves, it rather belies the treasures inside waiting to be discovered. Not just by looking, reading or hearing, though – these are things that need to be held, piece by piece.
There are handwritten letters, drawings, and smaller envelopes with photographs and invitations contained within – perhaps due to the handmade nature of the book, for me each piece requires careful study (for lack of a better word). It is a subtle, and often moving, invitation to a window, where one is not simply able to observe, but feel and hear also. Lovely – thank you.
I’ll not attempt to describe or relate any of the contents individually, I’ll just say this book is more than worth the $15 (+P&H – if you live outside the US, I would suggest contacting prior to purchase for a shipping quote), and with only 125 made you should get it while you can; so you can not only discover these treasures for yourself, but help fund future Ribbons projects.
Photographs ©Ribbons Publications
*On a side note, and owing to one of my other oft-nurtured obsessions – i.e. data – I spent about an hour this afternoon figuring out what to put in the ID tags for the tracks on the CD. Some were a given, but with others I have taken a few liberties (e.g. track 6 I have named Trout? / Dance With Me (Interrupted) – my apologies to the respective artists for this, I am compelled to do these things).