Art of the Book

There is hope in the turn of a page or the roll of a scroll. And spaces where all my artful endeavors connect: designing, writing, illustrating, printing, and art-object-making. These books are portable, intimate spaces that aim to inspire contemplation and conversation. 

Old Stump

This mixed media poem-sculpture-book is an ode to tree stumps, showing how weathered wood is really an ever-unraveling story of life. Never dead. The book is made with a combination of colored kozo papers, old tree sketches, cloth, acrylic paint, strips of birch bark, old twist ties from the kitchen drawer, old and torn up letters I wrote many years ago, and a new poem, surrounded by weathered rocks from all over the world. The book can be coiled and coaxed into various positions for an interactive, visceral way of experiencing the poetic reflection.

 Approximate diameter of stump: 3 inches 

Mountain Spirit

This book pays homage to the ancestral homeland of the Shoshone tribes in the Mountain West region of the United States. The text features an excerpt from The Land of Little Rain, by Mary Hunter Austin, published in 1903. She was a poet, nature writer,and fierce advocate for Native American rights. Also included are words attributed to Chief Washakie, the Shoshone hero who fought for justice and peace in the mid-19th century. The book is contained in a hand-painted acrylic-on-cotton replica of a parfleche—a painted rawhide saddlebag used to carry personal belongings. These bags were a form of functional art and design integral to Native American Plains cultures on the move.

Contained size: 8 x 5 x 1 inches 

What the Sea Has Seen

This book arose as a graphic synthesis of a self-guided study of chattel slavery and the true cost of unchecked capitalism. The accordion pocket structure is made with responsibly-sourced, organic cotton and natural indigo, recognizing that the histories of both cotton and indigo production are inextricably linked to the Atlantic slave trade, the growth of our global economy, and a legacy of inhumane practices that continue to this day.

Closed size: 3.25 x 6 x 1 inches 

On Fire

This wordless ‘lantern book’ is an ode to humans and fire. Being able to create and control fire allowed humans to evolve and explore. Fire has always been a force of both creativity and destruction, just like humans, who burn with love or fear or rage. And what human is not mesmerized by a campfire’s flickering flames, dancing in the darkness? The book is made with ink on folded paper, cut holes, kozo papers, and acrylic medium. And a ‘safe’ tea candle.

Closed size: 2 x 6 x .75 inches 

Embryo

Conceived in the rise of the global Covid-19 pandemic and community quarantine lock-down, this wee book was made with a real free-range chicken egg shell and handmade papers. Chipping away at the shell to break it in half was a challenge. Fragile material for fragile times.

Size: It’s a chicken egg 😉

Seedling Blank Journals

This handmade edition of two was a gift for my two favorite poets (daughter and son-in-law), and a great excuse to teach myself coptic binding. The covers were created with handmade kozo paper, black walnut dye, and hemp string. Interior paper was made in Nepal from the bark of Daphne bush using local materials and ancient methods that protect the ecological balance of the forest.

Trim size: 4.25 x 6 inches, 42 pages

Dress Up!

A tiny book celebrating the love and talent of my maternal grandmother. Though I never met her, I know her through my mother’s stories and the exquisite, matching outfits she stitched for my mother and my mother’s favorite doll. The book is also a nod to the delightful mix-and-match format from my roots in children’s novelty-book publishing. The covers are wrapped with hand-dyed natural indigo fabric.

Trim size: 2 x 4 inches

Just a Few Lines

This book celebrates the lost ritual of hand-written letter-writing. It grew out of a goal to celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday with her. I selected, cut, arranged, and decorated about 80 handwritten lines from letters she sent to me after I went off to college. In the process of extracting samples that spanned many months of time, an essence of long-distance longing and love emerged as a single, narrative poem. The book is made with acrylic paint and collage on paper panels bound as an accordion with linen tape and ribbon. Read the full story about this project here.

Closed size: 9 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches
Open display size: 9 x 60 inches

Sanctuary Wall

The catalyst for this book was the news that the proposed southern border wall would bulldoze through the National Butterfly Center in Texas, shredding a biodiverse haven for butterflies, birds, and endangered animals. The book displays as a wall with human silhouettes and includes two hidden paintings, visible from a certain angle. The book is made with galvanized steel, wood panels, acrylic paint, mixed papers, and hemp string. Read the full story about this project here. Mini paper editions are available for purchase at Climbing Tree Press.

Closed size: 4 x 12.25 x 5 inches
Display width: 48.5 inches

Chess Water

This book is a portable chess set. The game pieces attach or detach with velcro, and are represented by arial-view icons of fresh-water animals. At a glance this piece is whimsical, but as games are actually played, the animals disappear, harkening our world’s decreasing biodiversity and human tendency to treat real life as a zero-sum war game, even though it is not.

Folded size: 3 x 3 x 2 inches
Game board size: 12 x 12 inches

The Last Puddle | Warming

I consider this project to be my first serious foray into the genre of artist’s books. The Last Puddle is an allegorical study of scarcity and survival, paired with an adaptation of climate scientist Ed Hawkins’ spiral graph of global temperature change. More context and creative process information can be read here. A mini book edition of The Last Puddle is available for purchase at Climbing Tree Press.

Original book trim: 6 x 7.5 inches, 40 pages 
New story edition: 4.25 x 5.5 inches, 24 pages

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