My First Exhibit (Yikes!)

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.

Take Wing

The image of the birds is an inkjet transfer onto muslin layered under a piece of mica

In addition to the traditional text block papers, I included graph paper, dictionary pages and "holey" card-stock-weight computer paper

Moe Hoxie's beautiful "kimono" book

A lovely journal, using embroidery on paper, by Annie Fain Liden

Continuity, a wonderfully sculptural "slinky" book by Carol Norby


MyHandboundBooks said...

This is wonderful, Clara. Take Wing is a beautiful piece - congratulations on the success of your first exhibit!

Riverlark said...

BG, I'm so happy for you! It's so great that you put all your learning into a piece that was to be dlsplayed...that's great risk-taking! And the cherry on the top is that it sold! I'm just delighted for you!
It's really a beautiful work. I love the quote on the inside...just the thing to inspire the buyer's journaling. Is your binding a coptic stitch?
Congrats again!!

Karen said...

Clara -
Very well done - a lovely piece of work - and It sold as well!!
Warm regards

Clara said...

Rhonda, RL and Karen -- thanks! Your good wishes mean a lot. The best news, of course, is that my husband didn't have to end up buying the book himself! ;)

Eero said...

Congratulations on your show and sale! From your skills with books, I thought you had been making them for a long time. It looks like a great exhibit.

Clara said...

Thanks, E. Western North Carolina, for reasons that are somewhat mysterious to me, is becoming quite a center for book arts.

Beth Lee said...

Congratulations on your book. You're lucky to be in a book arts hot spot. I've come up there to BookWorks to take a class with Dan Essig, and I always love looking around the downtown shops.

Clara said...

Beth, I took a class from Dan just a few weeks ago, and I've been intending to get photos of the class (and some of the books) up on the blog since then.

I agree with you that Western North Carolina has become quite the "hot spot" for book arts. It's hard to believe that, when I moved here a short few years ago, this wasn't even on my horizon!