Art of the Book
There is hope in the turn of a page or unroll of a scroll. And spaces where all my artful endeavors connect: designing, writing, illustrating, printing, and art-object-making. My books are meant to be intimate, interactive spaces that inspire contemplation and conversation. Editions of some of these books are available at Climbing Tree Press.
AMaeZing, A Book for Baby Mae Magnolia
My first grandchild, Mae Magnolia, was born June 13th, 2021. It seemed only appropriate that I honor her birth with a handmade, one-of-a-kind book. One that she can actually ‘read’ (with supervision). For the first few weeks of their lives, babies don’t recognize color, but they notice high contrast, so black and white designs fit the bill. I added a touch of red because apparently that’s the first color they can actually see. Welcome to the world, you tiny, precious, and a-MAE-zing human!
The accordion binding will allow Mae to lie down and be surrounded by the pictures. The illustrations were created with Adobe illustrator, pages printed with Epson Claria ink on premium paper, mounted on coroplast panels, bound and wrapped with linen tape.
This introspective book mimics a quiver of arrows. It presents a poem which serves as a self-protective, prayerful reminder to listen to the language of my body and act with compassion towards it. Each arrow points a different way.
The arrows (pages) are made from basswood, mixed papers, ink, and acrylic paint, bound with sinew wax thread. The quiver is made with cork fabric, pigskin, leather lace, hemp thread, and acrylic beads.
Contained size including quiver: 5 x 12.5 x 1.5 inches, unique edition
On the Fence
A torn state of mind is easy to find but hard to navigate. It is also hard to recognize and maintain personal and creative boundaries. But oh so important. My poem and book grew from all this. The book and box is made with handmade kozo paper, old journal scraps, acrylic medium, wine bottle sleeves, and thread.
3 x 3 inches folded, 2 inches deep
Earth Hearth Heart
This inspiration for this book grew from the delight of discovering the graphic and poetic possibilities within one wonderful word. Digital collage imagery printed with Epson Claria ink on premium paper adhered to book board and embedded wood.
6.75 x 3.5 inches, 6 pages
King of the Castle
This book explores the implications of upholding or rejecting the rule of law and the Constitution—the lifeblood of democracy. It pays homage to the foundational work sheltered within the walls of the U.S. Capitol building. It includes both words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the House Article of Impeachment against former president Donald Trump surrounded by hand-cut holes. The inside covers feature the Preamble of the Constitution.
3.5 x 9.25 inches closed, various display sizes,
What the Sea Has Seen
This book is a graphic synthesis of a self-guided study of chattel slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. It is an interactive timeline that displays total numbers of enslaved Africans embarked on ships. Each removable vessel card contains key historical details for a 50-year period. 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 slave trade, the growth of our global economy, and a legacy of inhumane practices that sadly continue to this day.
Closed size: 3.25 x 6 x 1.25 inches
Special edition of 4
This book pays homage to the words and wisdom of Wendell Berry, and is a personal celebration of the beauty of the wild places in which my legs have carried me in 2020. It is an act of hope that, despite all the loss, pain, and fear the world has been enduring, we may still find joy in our journey on Earth, however far or near we walk. The book is constructed with mixed Japanese mulberry papers, and each footprint was cut by hand.
8 x 7 inches closed, 16 pages including covers
The title of this book is an ode to the oldest known bird in the wild, a female Laysan albatross named Wisdom. It features the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The coptic-bound book includes covers (wings) and a center body piece made from fused plastic bags, and 196 tiny, triangular interior pages printed on 100% recycled paper. The inspiration for the format arose from Chris Jordan’s stunning film Albatross which brings our plastic crisis to life in a wrenching and beautiful way. It begs us to think differently about how we choose to make and consume. Indeed, the plastic crisis is the albatross around our necks.
Wingspan 2 feet, a miniscule albatross!
This book was a gift for a young cousin. With all the painful complexities going on in the world, in this work I fell for simple, soft, and the spark of joy that comes from unfurling something new. The eight leaves of the book are the petals, based on the cosmos flower, each with a rubber-stamped word of affirmation. They are words I would want every child to grow into. The Flower Buddy can curl up and go to sleep, or stand tall and sway in the breeze.
About the same size as a bedside table lamp
This mixed media sculpture-scroll is an ode to tree stumps, showing how weathered wood is really an ever-unraveling story of life. Never dead. The one-of-a-kind 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
This pop-up diorama 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 digitally printed, hand-cut, and contained in a hand-painted acrylic-on-cotton replica of a parfleche, which was a painted rawhide saddlebag used to carry personal belongings.
Contained size: 8 x 5 x 1 inches
Special and open editions available
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, folded size: 2 x 6 x .75 inches
Conceived in the rise of the global Covid-19 pandemic and community quarantine lock-down, this tiny 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
edition of 2
A palm-sized 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 one-of-a-kind book was an 80th birthday gift for a one-of-a-kind human: my mother. It also celebrates the lost ritual of hand-written letter-writing. I selected, cut, arranged, and decorated about 80 handwritten lines from letters my mother 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
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 one-of-a-kind book is made with galvanized steel, wood panels, acrylic paint, mixed papers, and hemp string. Read the full story about this project here.
Closed size: 4 x 12.25 x 5 inches
Display width: 48.5 inches
Mini paper editions available
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.
Original book trim: 6 x 7.5 inches, 40 pages
The Last Puddle story edition is available
4.25 x 5.5 inches, 24 pages