This spring, Erika White’s ARTS 196 class, Making Artist Books, includes four sessions in Silver Special Collections. During the first session, librarian Prudence Doherty introduced students to a selection of artists’ books. During the second session, students explored accordion book structures to prepare for an assignment. Last week, again getting ready for a forthcoming assignment, students looked at books that use unusual materials–glass, wood, cloth, metal, plastic, fruit and vegetables, and even soap. After students in teams of two examined more than twenty books, each team selected one book to highlight in this blog post.
For more information about a book, click on its title in the descriptions below. Come to Special Collections to explore our wonderful collection of artists’ books.
Common Threads is one volume of an ongoing series of canvas notebooks filled with hand-embroidered text recording coincidences the artist encounters.
Julie Chen, Flying Fish Press
Family Tree uses 16 maple blocks with images and text on all six sides to explore family history and relationships. The blocks can be arranged to show a single image with text, or they can be rearranged to change the story.
Ghost Diary uses the most fragile material that the students encountered. The text, essentially a memoir based on an 1807 letter of Lt. Col. Jonathon Rhea, is printed on glass panels that are bound together with black metal. Vintage negatives complement the text.
In War 1940-
Karen Boldner, Drew Cameron
The pages of In War 1940- are made of paper shredded from military uniforms that were donated by veterans or their families. Each page uses uniforms from a separate conflict, from Afghanistan in the front, to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq-Desert Storm, Vietnam, Korea, World War II in the back.
Mars includes an accordion book, two pamphlets and three metal objects. A Civil War canister ball, a chrome steel ball bearing, and an iron-nickel meteorite represent what Kelm sees as the three faces of Mars: Military Mars, Scientific Mars, and Celestial Mars. Students spent time transforming the hinged accordion panel into a dodecahedron with stainless steel pins.
Not Paper includes samples of seven paper-like materials (amate, birchbark, papyrus, parchment, tapa, tyvek, and wasp nest) accompanied by information about each material.
Occupy Your Wallet
Occupy Your Wallet includes 25 plastic credit card blanks printed on one side with photos of Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, Chicago and Delaware. On the reverse side, along with a magnetic strip, there is a record of the location, the date, events of the day and the weather.
In Ordinary Discovery, Nicole Eiland invites the viewer to look closely at slices of ordinary fruits and vegetables, alternating palladium print photographs with sheets of yam, kiwi and parsnip pressed flat.