Saturday, January 3, 2009

Downtown excursion and making clay

For years I've wanted to go to the John K. King's Used and Rare book store in Detroit. I've passed the building hundreds of times and wondered what great books I might find inside, but it wasn't until yesterday that I finally ventured down there.

My good friend Phil drove Mary Ann and I. From my house it took 18 minutes, almost as fast as going to my local library. Parking was limited; we got the last parking spot in the lot. I was told the building was an old glove factory. Proof of that is on a rubber mat by the front door. It says advanced glove company, with an imprint of a glove. There are boxes of free books located near the entrance and two sets of marble steps that lead to the main floor. Although there are 4 floors, I stayed on the main floor for two reasons. One, it was sensory overload for us. Two, my knees were killing me. I could have taken the elevator, but I was too overwhelmed by the amount of books.

I spent most of my time in the children's book section. I found several books I wanted, but settled on one, called "Day In and Day Out". It's an Alice and Jerry book. (similar to Dick and Jane). I love these books. I love the innocence of the children, the family values, the illustrations. The graphics are wonderful.

I found Thoreau's Walden, but it was priced $8.50 and the text was difficult to read. I can buy a new version for the same price at Borders, so I passed on that choice. I did find Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House" priced at $2.50. I saw the movie version "The Haunting" when I was 10 or 11 and it was probably the scariest movie I'd ever seen. I saw it again when I was in my 30s. I was up late, lying on the couch. It was so scary I was paralyzed with fear, too terrified to get up and run to bed. I own the movie now, and it's not so scary when you've seen it 20 times, but it still has it moments. The beginning sentence of the story goes like this..

."No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."

Reading that sentence gave me goosebumps. I think it's because it's so well written. It's so wonderfully creepy.

I found some magazines from the 50s that were perfect for collage and clip art, but they weren't marked. The cashier had to call the owner who priced them at $5 and $20. I wasn't happy with those prices, or the fact that the magazines weren't priced. However, I admit that I think if I would have more money, or if they would have taken a check, I would have purchased them. When I go back, I'm going to check them out again. I wonder if his price will stay the same.

After spending almost two hours wandering around the main floor, I finally bought my two little books, knowing that I'll return. I found a set of 6 volumes of great children's stories and graphics. It was published in the 1920s and the entire set was $125.00. It's on my wish list now. I want that set!

On the way out of the building I grabbed two books. One called Stay Slim for Life. My mom used to have this book and would make diet recipes from it. I couldn't resist it.

Another book I took for free was the 1952 Who's Who in America. I only wanted it because it has over 2500 pages of tiny print that will look great in collage and ATCs. My favorite actor has always been James Cagney, and I found a little snippet about him. on page 370. I can see myself using the pages of this book for all kinds of art projects.

If you love to collect books, I would recommend visiting King's book store. They don't accept checks but do take credit cards and bank cards. I think I will have to visit many times before I feel comfortable enough to really wander around the massive store. It's a bit unorganized, has an eclectic atmosphere (that includes the customers), made me sneeze a few times and probably has something you are looking for.

What did Debbie make today?

I had a very productive day today. I made four cake toppers and 5 clay babies. I've scanned a few of my babies to show you. I said I would show you daily what I've done, but I have to admit, it's very time consuming to take the pictures, upload them, crop them, etc. It's faster to scan them today, even though the images are not the greatest. I'll have pictures of the toppers later.

PS...if you are reading this in your email, I apologize for the spelling errors. I've since fixed them.

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