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January 30, 2013


Beth -- so happy to see you making so many books!

Bravo for undertaking these - I especially like the bottom one. .
You have angelic patience, Beth! Japanese stab-binding was as far as I was willing to go in the bookbinding world but I do love watching all the processes. Coptic bindings were my favourite.

Some terrific designer-bookbinders made bindings for some of my 'livres d'artiste' - if you haven't yet seen the work of Philp Smith, Ivor Robinson, Sally Smith or Trevor Jones, you're in for a treat: Google Society of Designer-Binders, or their names.

Beautiful creations, both of them, Beth. Might you move on to incorporating graphics and/or text?

Thanks, Pica - I know the book arts are dear to your own heart!

Natalie, I don't know, I guess I'm patient, though sometimes it just feels like doing things like this is therapeutic for me. We are all different! I do like fussing over the steps, which is necessary if the final binding is to come out well.

Dick - I'm seriously thinking about exactly that, and how it might work best for me. If I did make some "livres d'artiste" with my own texts, I might want to also produce facsimile editions, via print-on-demand like the usual Phoenicia titles. Something bothers me about the preciousness of artist books, if they are very expensive and therefore unavailable to the general public. On the other hand I think they are some of the most beautiful objects humans have produced. But I guess all one-of-a-kind or very-small-edition objects are exclusive to some degree. It's too bad some of them end up locked up in rare book libraries, rarely seen, handled, or read.

As I mentioned to you whenever we talked about this, one of the reasons I stopped making expensive,beautiful livres d'artiste was precisely because of their 'rare book' definition and hence becoming more or less hidden from the general public. On the other hand, I'm very proud to have my work in those rare book collections and certainly do not regret making them. But it's a dilemma: one wouldn't want any artwork to be handled (and eventually damaged) by 'the public' so it makes sense to limit physical access to a handmade book which has perhaps taken the artist hundred of hours and contains original artwork. Yet if something is called a book then the assumption is that it must be handled, read, leafed through. That's the big problem of all exhibitions featuring artists' books.
But I hope you'll ignore the whole debate and simply go ahead and make whatever your heart leads you to!

Beth, very beautiful books. What a wonderful combination of artisanship and creativity to have.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.