Meditative, explorative, playful ways of merging form and content lie at the heart of my handcrafted books.The bookmaking process allows me to meld so many things I enjoy—writing, paper textures, image-making techniques, and printing processes. With each new project, I experience the word book unfolding in unanticipated, magical ways.
I thrive on following an idea from hazy visions and broad sketches to book prototypes and the first finished form—”finished” in the sense of whatever feels vibrant in some hoped-for way. With every book, I seek to create an elegant simplicity by selecting beautiful materials, meticulously crafting each feature, and incorporating distinctive details. One-of-a-kind and small-edition (for me, 30 or fewer copies) artist’s books are my specialties.
Since this art form holds such rich possibilities for personal expression, I enjoy teaching others how to make a wide variety of book styles. As described on the Shared Spaces Bookmaking webpage, I offer both workshops and customized collaborative projects. My latest 2013 workshop, "Exploring Every Angle," was offered September 14-15 at the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Educational Foundation (Cleveland, OH).
Various one-of-a-kind and editioned books are shown on the Portfolio of Artist's Books and Books & Tales parts of this site, where you'll also find information about the books being represented by Vamp & Tramp Booksellers.
You might also like to see the two photos of my long-stitched artist’s book Primary Melody that appear in 500 Handmade Books: Inspiring Interpretations of a Timeless Form (Lark Books, 2008; Steve Miller, juror). The newly released 500 Handmade Books, volume 2 (Lark Books, fall of 2013; Julie Chen, juror) contains photos of Depth Perception: Mapmaking Legacies at Mammoth Cave, a unique multifacted book form I designed to reflect aspects of the world's longest cave. With every turn of the page in these two volumes, I'm fascinated by the variations and all the more grateful to be among the artists for whom books hold mystery and magic.
In 1000 Artists' Books: Exploring the Book as Art (Quarry Books, June 2012; Peter and Donna Thomas, jurors) an image appears of my Slinky-style book Beyond Compare, which is also about Mammoth Cave, in Kentucky. The astonishing range of artists' books in this volume captivates me for hours at a time, reminding me that book-related dreams and visions have no bounds.
With the Japanese version of 1000 Artists' Books, the cover includes Beyond Compare as the almost circular book near the lower left, just under the title:
It's an honor to be among the book artists represented in these three volumes, and I'm most grateful to all those who created these fine book-arts resources.
Because poetry writing is another passion of mine, I weave poetry into many of the Books & Tales descriptions, in which I share the experiences that inspired particular books.
On the new BookArt+Science webpage you'll find out about my ever-growing interest in links between artist's books and science subjects. A number of the books in my Portfolio are rooted in this interest, and I'm exploring more vistas and looking forward to sharing those with you.
Limited Editions and One-of-a-Kind Books
My artist’s books are created as one-of-a-kind books or as limited editions of 30 or fewer copies. Every book contains some combination of distinctive artwork, unusual papers, and handwritten or printed text, and every book is numbered. Details about the various books accompany the photos in the Portfolio section of this website, and if you are interested in particular books, I'll gladly give you additional details.
As noted earlier, Vamp & Tramp is now representing several of my artist's books, and ordering information is available on the V&T website. Also, other books that appear in exhibitions may be for sale, and on the News webpage I provide updates about current exhibitions.
Curious Pursuits Press
In 2008 I launched the Curious Pursuits Press imprint for my artist’s books. Why that name? Several meanings of curious, as cited in my treasured and dog-eared Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, are what I seek to combine in my books: “made carefully . . . precisely accurate . . . marked by desire to investigate and learn . . . exciting attention as strange, novel, or unexpected.” That rather odd mixture speaks both to how I craft books (carefully and precisely) and to how I let curiosity lead me into book subjects and forms (through surprising twists and turns). As for pursuits, bookmaking is certainly my “vocation, profession, or avocation”—a way of chasing, following, and finding form for my visions . . . or of finally awakening to potential forms for ideas that have been haunting me.
In our frenetic world, the very act of making books by hand often feels like a curious pursuit indeed. One of the most enjoyable challenges lies in reimagining the nature of books, and one of the greatest pleasures lies in finding kindred spirits equally enthralled with this multifaceted art form.
My artist’s books created since May 2008 bear the Curious Pursuits Press imprint, whereas those created before that time contain my name only. With either designation, each artist’s book is solely my creation, unless I have specifically noted any collaborative roles.
Special Bookmaking Adventures
In October 2009, I had the great privilege of serving as the artist-in-residence for Mammoth Cave National Park, where I experienced many aspects of the world’s longest known cave system and its distinctive karst surroundings. My rich experiences there inspired two artist’s book projects, for donation to the park. On the Books & Tales page, you can read about and see images of the five-book set titled A Cabinet of Mammoth Cave Wonders, plus Cave Sing: Mammoth Cave National Park, an artist’s book for the park’s December Cave Sing event, an annual celebration with 19th-century roots.
Complementing the book photographs are my reflections about the residency, the labyrinthine cave system, and the great Mammoth Cave National Park rangers and other staff (many thanks, everyone!).
The Books & Tales part of the website also contains descriptions of the remarkable experiences I had during my first National Park Artist Residency--a joint one at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore with Lucia Harrison, a Washington State friend and colleague who teaches at Evergreen State College. In 2006 we lived for several weeks at this stunningly beautiful park, all the while taking extensive notes, creating art, and planning a project for donation to the park. After departing, we undertook a cross-country collaboration and created a seven-book set of artists' books for donation to the park. In addition, I created a book of poetry and photography for PRNL.
For 2013 bookmaking updates, be sure to check the News webpage
on this site. Good wishes!