Late last year, I joined our regional Book Salon, a group of artists working in the book form. I learned about it at BookWorks, our terrific local book arts studio and learning center. I'm delighted to be counted among these talented and generous artists who share my passion for book arts.
For the second year, the members of the Book Salon have been invited to participate in an exhibit at The Design Gallery, in the charming town of Burnsville, neighbor to the Penland School of Crafts. Both years, the timing of the exhibit has coincided with Burnsville's annual Carolina Mountains Literary Festival. The festival will be held the weekend of September 14-15; the book exhibit runs through the end of September. The theme for both: "Roots and Wings" ("Good parents give their children Roots and Wings. Roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and exercise what’s been taught them." -- Jonas Salk).
This is the first time I've shown one of my books. To say that I was nervous about exhibiting my work is an understatement. I've been making books for less than 18 months, although my serious interest in the book as an art form started at least a year before that. My love of books in general, of course, is an incurable lifelong condition.
So let's just say that when i walked into the gallery for the opening reception last Friday evening and heard that my book had sold, I was just the teensiest, tiniest bit excited (ha!). Just a titch. I'm still over the moon.
I began the book, Take Wing, with the premise that a journal should be special but not precious. I've seen too many journals (and bought a few myself) that seem too elegant and "important" to write in. For me, art is as much in the personal and the commonplace as in the universal and the extraordinary. So I mixed fine elements, such as handmade cover papers and Italian text paper, with humble materials such as muslin cloth and locally-produced mica. I'm pleased with the result, and glad to think that it pleased the buyer, and that it will serve its purpose.
There are some truly beautiful books in the exhibit, and I've included just a few in this post. I'll be back at the gallery later in the month to take more photos and post those images here. What impressed me most -- and I should be used to this by now -- was the diversity of the offerings. Not one book in the exhibit is like any other there. Each book is as unique as the artist who created it.
In addition to the traditional text block papers, I included graph paper, dictionary pages and "holey" card-stock-weight computer paper