Wow, I just came up for air. There are some beautiful books out there! I couldn’t keep my post to just one artist, so you all are in for a load of pictures. I went back in my search history to see how I found the artists I’m going to share and thought I’d give you a few of the links I found along the way.
I started by visiting what I know. Almost ten years ago, I had the opportunity to take a tour at Arion Press, an old-school print house and book publisher in San Francisco. The folks at Chronicle Books also took a tour complete with photos, here, to give you a feel for the experience. Though I began making little stapled books as a child, the tour at Arion is where I date the beginnings of a grown-up fascination with book arts.
After spending some time looking at Arion’s beautiful books, I used a google search for book artists. I found a blog about making handmade books and then also a lovely artist blog for Mia Leijonstedt, who mentioned a showcase of handmade books called Uncommon Threads, which I suggest checking out as it has a long list of artists and photos of some amazing books. One of the featured artists is Tekla McInerney, who uses embroidery, photography, knitting and other means to create her books.
McInerney used the long negatives from her pinhole camera to make View From This Side. Just beautiful. She says, that “the slow process of creating pinhole photos is reflected in the slow process of creating their stitched likeness.”
She also created a knitted book, Lament. Perhaps it’s because I knit, but I can feel the emotion in this long thin piece. It’s then bundled in a cloth bag/cover. She says about Lament, “There is comfort in the repetitive motion of knitting. It quietly consumes time and offers great satisfaction when the end of a skein is reached. There is no such neat end to mourning. Like the stream of words in a thesaurus—the endless linking of one word to the next—recovery from loss is an endless practice with no hope of mastery.”
One other artist that uses fabric and poetry is Eva of Tinctory. Below is an image of a poem in the pleats, which is just lovely.
One more. Look at how this book wants to be held? Curled in the hand like a telescope. Katya Reka has some beautiful books.
I am very excited about the traditional forms of book making as demonstrated by Arion Press, but I also appreciate the spirit of freedom to push beyond the boundaries of what it means for something to be a book. At the heart of book-making, in my opinion, is the work that unites the form of the book to it’s content.