Ideas for books come from many different places. In the case of the two books described in today’s post, the inspiration comes from the seashore and from alphabet books. Both works were made early in my career as a book artist.
A Beach Comber’s Molluscalphabet was made as a gift for a friend who collects seashells. Unlike those of us who just pick up pretty things on the beach, she is serious about it and can identify a shell with its Latin name and probable source location.
The image shows several copies of the book in different states: closed with shell-patterned lace paper sleeve, sleeve removed, and open for display. The “molluscalphabet” appears several times as a spiral and as a list. I had fun selecting words for the book, discovering terms like ‘xylophagous’ which means ‘wood-eating’ and describes things likes gooseneck barnacles.
I also collect seashells and occasionally find a clam or mussel shell with both halves still together. I used one of these for A Bivalve’s Contemplative Alphabet. The piece is housed in —of course— a clamshell box.
Inside the box is an alphabet book with clamshell covers.
The opened book reveals a 26 page text block cut to fit inside the shell. Each page has a word debossed on it. The words for the alphabet were chosen to reflect the rather quiet life of an animal that spends most of its life buried in mud. I chose words that reflect a peaceful state like “calm” and “flowing” and “nestle”.
I had some good news this week: my artist’s book Catacomb was one of 40 works selected from 180 entries for Reader’s Art: Concealed, Confined and Collected, an exhibition at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts which opens May 8, 2015 and runs until July 26. I am feeling quite chuffed.