dot / dash 4

Earlier this month, I wrote about my first entry for this year’s weloveyourbooks on-line exhibition. Today’s post is about my second entry, Questions from Shakespeare/Answers from I Ching.

While playing with the idea of using Morse code for the book, I noticed a resemblance between some letters and lines of I Ching trigrams. (You may remember that I used the I Ching for one of the enclosures for the map book.) It seemed to me that the trigrams, and the hexagrams formed from them, are a code of sorts. Six numbers generated by manipulating yarrow stalks or tossing coins are represented by either solid or broken lines. These are grouped to form trigrams which represent divinatory answers. Like horoscopes, the statements —and their interpretations— are sufficiently vague that they may be understood differently by each individual.

Since 2016 is the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, I decided to ask the I Ching questions posed by some of Shakespeare’s characters. I found an on-line version of I Ching, and used it to virtually toss coins and generate hexagrams and their statements and interpretations.

The six questions I chose were:

To be or not to be, that is the question.

Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

What light through yonder window breaks?

Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle towards my hand?

If you prick us, do we not bleed?

Can one desire too much of a good thing?

I typed each question into the form on the website, tossed the virtual coins, and saved  screenshots of the answers. Here’s the interpretation I got for Macbeth’s question:

For the layout of the book, I planned a 4-page signature for each question and answer: the question appears on the first page of the signature; the generated hexagram, statement, and analysis form the interior spread. Here’s the layout with Hamlet’s answer.

I wanted each signature to be discrete and independent, so I made a cover (paste paper by Susan Kristoferson) with an accordion spine. Here’s the finished book seen from above.

Not as elegant as my first entry, but definitely funnier.





About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004.
This entry was posted in artist's books, book arts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to dot / dash 4

  1. dinahmow says:

    This looks like fun! I’ve seen several “random generator” things doing the rounds on various websites, but this looks more interesting.
    And the accordian spine is a nice presentation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lcmt says:

    I am catching up, so I missed reading this earlier. Yes your first book is elegant, but this interplay between Shakepeare and the I Ching is sumptuous!


  3. Pingback: How to make an interlocked band closure for books (and other things) | Byopia Press

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.