The study of calligraphy involves learning about the history of books, from the Egyptians and Phoenicians up through the Renaissance to Gutenberg. Understanding what makes the book form such a repository of knowledge. The styles of lettering, the materials used and the structure of the book itself have been a fascinating adventure. I’ve been to libraries in Europe a number of times, and have studied the manuscript collections there.
This led me to making artist’s books of my own using the book format, as opposed to a painting or a broadside, to express more complex ideas. Some of my books are painterly, poetic and contemporary, others are more conservative, traditional and legible. I make these books for collectors as well as by commission, and find that they are a most gratifying way for me to work. A book is more private than a piece that hangs on the wall; some of my clients prefer to share their thoughts in the book form, as it is a way to show them to just a few special people, rather than broadcasting them to all visitors.
My books are in the special collections of some notable libraries, including the Yale University, the Lilly Library at Indiana University and the University of Denver, as well as private collections.
In 2013, BookWorks hosted Printocracy, a weekend to celebrate printmaking, with an exhibit of work from all over the US and a day of printing large relief plates using a leased steamroller as a press. Twelve artists participated, using almost two gallons of ink and a huge roll of Rives BFK paper. Most of the plates were 3×3′ square, carved in battleship linoleum or MDF. A few were larger, including one printed from a 4×8′ sheet of masonite.
Alas, framing these prints is expensive and they dominate any space they are in, so I chopped mine up, painted and collaged all over the back side, and bound it into the book you see here. The text includes the dictionary listing of the word ‘value’ along with many quotations that relate to this concept, both in the design sense and in the values we have as we live our lives.
The 32 page book is bound in red leather, with end sheets of Lokta paper.
These books began as large sheets with paintings or drawings, a common approach in my work.
They were then cut down to page size with further drawing and text added.