Mnemonic Whale’s fix-up – pt. 1

mnenomic whale pt

The front and left side of the Mnemonic Whale is completed. For the left end, I added/modified a few tiny paintings I did years ago to the top + silicone, wood glue, gold and red ink. On the front, I sanded down the edges of the doors so they closed completely and I outlined the whale carving in gold ink. Now all it needs is the top layer, right end card catalog drawers, and proper innards (more about that soon).

Reception at Tiny’s

I made the kind folks who showed up to my opening each fill out an answer card from my archives/preservation info table, which included a display of articles and a Hollinger catalog.

The questions were:

“If we were to become extinct, what would you want to leave behind as an artifact of yourself to be found by future inhabitants (if the earth is still inhabitable)?”

(For example: your favorite jacket, your ashes posthumously pressed into vinyl, your paintings, your writings, your skeleton posthumously bronzed with two middle fingers raised)

“What preservation processes would you take to make sure this artifact survives extreme temperatures/time?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about death and ecological ruin these days… must be something in the air…

The tiny cards are now safely behind the Z section door of the Mnemonic Whale, but I hope to eventually put them in a tiny card catalog drawer I’ll be attaching to the right side. I will definitely be welcoming more answers from folks, so I’ll be keeping a few blank cards on me when I’m out and about. In the future I’ll be putting together a handmade book expounding on these ideas from friends.

archives prep

I finally finished the fold-up-pocket-disaster-plan for my workplace’s collections, and found a good spot for that handy-dandy-magnet-disaster-response-wheel. Still felt very inexperienced (or just unconfident?) during the interactive Orbis Cascade Alliance ArchivesSpace Implementation Choices Workshop, but I scribbled enough notes that I ended up grasping most of it by the end. My goal is to be confidently using ArchivesSpace by mid-Fall.

The Mnemonic Whale’s next phase (a plan)

News: The Mnemonic Whale is ready for its next manifestation (whether I am, remains to be seen). I invested in getting the print custom-framed at Luke’s Frameshop to protect it from getting torn further by the cat, but also so I could mount it on top of the shelf.

My goal is to modify a wooden file box I found for free at a garage giveaway by cutting out mini drawers to hold index cards. A recent book I picked up inspired me to try my hand at a card catalog (more on this in later blog posts). The file slots of the box are still up for debate with purpose, but I’m thinking of documents. The box would be attached at the right-facing end of the whale, while a couple small paintings will adorn the left-facing end.

My long (probably remaining life-long) goal is to eventually fill each LOC section of the whale with a book I make. One of the doors may even hold a tiny video and sound display. These are all just ideas that are swimming in my head at the moment of course. But I would truly love to bring them to fruition someday soon.

Library Whale (phase 3)

On the home stretch with the Mnemonic Whale (official title).  The insides will be more red than pink, and the doors need a lot more work (plus drilling for the hinges and doorknobs).  But I’m so close – I start my additional job work in cataloging this week, so I’m trying to get the majority of my silly project completed so I can be fully present to study up on a new skill.  Plus, my studio needs cleaning. 

Library Whale, phase 1

Finished the first step of carving and making a couple rough looking woodblock prints on butcher paper. The next step will be actually constructing the box/shelf, which means I’m gonna have to find some available power saws and screws (this will be a challenge!).  I found myself almost speechless at a p/t job interview today, I really don’t know why I was so terrified. It surprised me.  I haven’t stuttered/blanked like that in a very long time.  I came home and sent a follow up/thank you email to try and soften my clumsiness.  At least to try.  I worked more on the whale tonight to bring my head (and my confidence) back into the game. The whale can’t really decide whether to stay full and solid or fade.

Archival Screening Night in Seattle 


(I’m working on trying to to tie my library job and former archive studies into this blog a bit.)

Last night the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle hosted Moving History Returns: Saving Our Magnetic Media, presented by Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound (MIPoPS).

These 20 clips and short films were from the Seattle Municipal Archives, Sally Sykes Group, Scarecrow Video, the Wing Luke Museum, Seattle Public Schools Archives, King County Archives, Seattle Art Museum, and the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.  The videos were apart of MIPoPS’s digitization project – most of the original formats were in 16mm, Hi8, and VHS.

Although I’ve gone into library work and haven’t been involved in the archives world at all since I graduated, screenings like this remind me why preservation and access is so important – and it’s another step towards feeling linked to the PNW in general.

My favorite video (transferred from 16mm to VHS to digital) was from the King County Archives – Waste Away [The Mole] (1966).  This promotional piece was produced by the county and government to showcase its mobile trash compactor (called “The Mole”).  Footage of garbage waves and tumbling torn scraps, plus rotating rusty dumpsters, reminded me of the visuals at my old job as a park janitor. It was quite interesting to hear the narrating voice, speaking from 1966, on the awakening awareness of waste disposal and consumerism.