January 29th, 2012
Recently we received some artists’ books from one of our favorite vendors, 23 Sandy Galleries. They are a gallery in Portland Oregon that holds juried exhibitions in a variety of media including the book arts. Fortunately for us, they also sell many of the books in the exhibitions. We love to get their catalog in the mail or go to their website. It is always exciting to see what is going on in the book arts world!
Here are some of our recent purchases from 23 Sandy Galleries:
The Story of Flying Robert: from the Struwwelpeter by Marianne R. Petit is part of her The Struwwelpeter Series, a collection of stories by German author Henrich Hoffman. Each story demonstrates for children “the disastrous consequences of misbehavior.” Flying Robert is a flag format book; the format really accentuates the folly of going out in a blustery storm.
India by Julie Shaw Lutts is a beautiful accordion folded book in a vintage box. The book is collage of the artists photographs and text using an encaustic technique and found objects. It is a unique book. The artists has been describes as a “visual anthropologist”, exploring “layers of memory, identity, and personal histories through thoughtful visual narratives.”
Horse Power by Jessica Spring, was published in three different formats. The book explores words and phrases to reveal their horse related origins. It was also published in a one of a kind format with a 20 inch plastic model horse. We got the smallest one that came without a horse.
There Goes the Neighborhood by Elsi Vassdal Ellis is a book with multiple books inside. The artist used techniques such as collage, pop-ups, and various printing methods to create a book that was not only visually engaging, but with a substantive message. Each page opens to a vignette of another neighborhood in decline as far as biodiversity, environmental degradation, and quality of life. Included in each vignette is a small book with an essay on the subject. The artist has been creating artists’ books with strong political messages on war and genocide since 1999.
January 6th, 2012
We love Alphabet books! They come in such a vast array of subject matters and formats. The Alphabet book got its start teaching children their ABCs while providing cute and memorable examples of words beginning with each letter. Often, there are engaging pictures or cute rhymes. We have a small display of some of our favorites Alphabet books out in Special Collections. Our small exhibit contains mostly artists’ books, with a few pop-up books and one or two others. Most of our books are not really written for children, but are just taking advantage of the genre to make a beautiful or interesting book. Come in and take a look. Here is a preview of a few titles:
The White Alphabet, by Ronald King at the Circle Press, is one of the most intricately crafted of our books. It is a double-sided concertina alphabet book, without text. Each fold opens up to reveal a pop-up letter, exquisitely crafted of RWS hand-made paper and sandwiched between inlaid wooden boards.
The Gorey Alphabet by Edward Gorey is an entire alphabet of terrible occupations and pastimes, such as Fetishist or Xenophobe. There is nothing like Gorey’s macabre sense of humor. No cute and cuddly animal friends or bright colorful illustrations grace these pages. This is an alphabet book for only the most fearless of children, and of course, all who appreciate such things.
Michael Roberts is an artist for The New Yorker magazine, a photographer, filmmaker, and fashion writer. His Jungle ABC is a colorful, beautifully conceived, collaged alphabet book using imagery from Africa. Perhaps the average child might not appreciate the beauty of this world as much as the adults, but we love the vibrant energy of this alphabet. With its exotic words to learn and fascinating images to decipher, it is definitely an entertaining book. The book is forwarded by model, Iman, who talks about inspiration found in the mystery and power of the jungle.
ABC–3D, by Marion Bataille, is another pop-up book that won awards for being the best children’s book of the year. It has a lenticular cover that changes letters as you shift the book. The color scheme is graphically interesting in red, white, and black. The book does more than just pop-up. Some of the pages have movement, such as the pinwheel S. Robert Sabuda called it “One of the most delightful and innovative pop-up books I have ever seen.”
A Tool Alphabet, by Laura Davidson is an artists’ book we like a lot. Beautiful printed tools and letters are on each page. The book is offset printed, with an embossed cover and held together with copper grommets. Some of the tools are not ones I recognize, but then, my experience with hardware may be somewhat limited.