Modest in Scale award recipient Erin Paulson

Erin Paulson whatisotherwise2

Erin Paulson is one of four Modest In Scale award recipients.

Erin is a bookbinder, paper maker, and photographer living in Philadelphia where she is pursuing an MFA in book arts and printmaking from the University of the Arts. On exhibit in Modest in Scale are two sculptural bookwork pieces made with handmade paper and other fibers.

Paulson what is detail 2

What is other wise lost is made with handmade flax paper silk thread linen pig suede and found objects. It is housed in a miniature chest of drawers; each of the five drawers containing an elegantly arranged set of objects. In this work Erin’s attention to hand skills and reverence for simple materials is evident.

Paulson what is detail

About this piece Erin says:

With what is otherwise lost, I sought to create the tangible out of the intangible by blending elements of science and sentiment to create objects with which the viewer can interact. These transfer the elusive concepts of truth, memory, and a record of feelings past or present into a physical presence, defined and contained. The imagery references science, astronomy, astrology, and the mapping of places that don’t exist beyond the mind’s eye, while the writings describe a time and place. There is an element of magic present: the quality of the unexplained, of the potential, of the celestial, that all relate to an interest in our often inaccurate perceptions of memory.

The second piece on display is called I was screaming and no one could hear. It is made with handmade kozo paper, LED lights and book cloth.

Erin Paulson - i was screaming1

In this piece, a box houses a folded book structure, the pages heavy with embroidered lines, resting in a box, the base of which has small holes, like pinpricks, that form the book’s title. Beneath the base are LED lights that, when turned on, illuminate the word forming dots.

Paulson i was screaming

About this piece Erin says:

As a teenager I developed a series of neurotic behaviors, including a debilitating stutter. Since that time my work has been the outlet by which I enforce my determination to never again become unfettered, lose my confidence, or slip into the neuroses of my past. It is the struggle for composure over chaos, and the minute, almost indiscernible divide of which I must remain constantly aware to maintain my balance.

I was screaming and no one could hear is an artist book comprised of handmade kozo paper and a hand-embroidered sound wave of my voice striving to overcome stuttering while reciting the title. The repetitive action of the embroidery relates to the daily struggle of a former stutterer to speak with clarity.
Erin Paulson - i was screaming2

This piece is the visualization of the daily battle to conquer my speech impediment – the successes and the failures, the internal struggle and the external symptoms, the journey traversed and the finish line perceived.

Modest in Scale award recipient Aram Han

A.Ham_Orna
Aram is a Korean born multi media artist whose family immigrated to Modesto California when Aram was five years old.

Her undergraduate work focused on art and Latin American studies. She worked primarily in figurative ceramics, studying under Richard Shaw at the University of California Berkeley. She then received her post baccalaureate certificate in fine arts at Maryland Institute of Art. Aram is currently working towards an MFA in fiber and material studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The piece in the Modest in Scale exhibition is called Ornament and Order and is made using a shirt collar with white rice and thread. Ornament and Order is one of several works inspired by the traditional South, Southeast, and East Asian mythology of the Rice Goddess or Rice Mother. In many versions the mother is killed and the first rice grows from her body. Rice now feeds over half the total world population today; the feeding of countless bodies traced back to first rice.

Aram grew up in an immigrant family and watched her mother sacrifice her dreams and much of her happiness to provide for and feed her family. Aran mimics her mother’s work as a seamstress and stitches grains of rice onto garments. She is inspired by Joseph Campbell’s suggestion to look to mythology to create metaphors to understand our daily lives. In this series the artist is connecting the life of the immigrant mother with the mythological rice mother.

I look forward to learning more about Aram and her work over the course of the coming year as we plan an exhibit to featureing her work os one of the four Modest In Scale award recipients.

Lauren Scanlon – Fairy Tales and Romance Novels

Lauren Scanlon – Fairy Tales and Romance Novels

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I have appreciated Lauren Scanlon’s work since I first saw a presentation given by her at a conference several years ago. When I began the curatorial process for the Drawn and Quarto exhibit at Abecedarian Gallery I contacted Lauren to see if any of her current projects might fit the theme.

After some consideration Lauren agreed to create a body of work specifically for this exhibit. Lauren pulled it off even though she married, honeymooned, moved across country, then temporarily relocated to Canada, all during the brief time she had available to create this work. In addition to all of these complications, her camera and many studio supplies were stolen while she was on the road. Her perseverance paid off with a wonderful body of work that includes drawings on pages taken from books alongside a series of ‘shrouded’ books.

Lauren Scanlon Group of Books for Drawn and Quarto 2

Here is what Lauren has to say about these works:

My recent work uses bedsheet designs as an entry point for investigating the pattern, structure and impact of a specific line of romance novels that I read when I was very young (10 years old). These novels were published as a more highly sexualized line of romance reading (than was currently available at the time).

In structure, the novels are thinly veiled recreations of classic fairytales such as Cinderella, Snow White or Bluebeard. Familiar situations and characters are present including cruel stepmothers, frightening husbands, and disenfranchised heroines in need of rescue. Having read them so young, my perception of them as fairytales is even more pronounced.

In many ways, these romance-novel-fairy-tales are much closer to the stories told by the Grimms Brothers than those told to us by Disney. Both the Grimms Tales and these romance stories contain truly frightening imagery – sexuality, violence and cruelty – that has largely been removed from recent fairytale incarnations as presented to us by contemporary narrators (in films like Cinderella Man or animated works by Disney).

The drawings presented here highlight the fairytale elements of the books while at the same time leaving the text available for you to read. Where possible, the images reflect some aspect of the narrative.

The objects are shrouded books. They are the exact romance novels that I read as a kid. They have been carved (eviscerated) with an exacto knife and shrouded for burial using domestic fabrics and gold thread. The use of bedsheets, pillowcases and curtains connects the text to the domestic realm and the specific location of a bedtime story. The decorative, often floral, patterns distract from the dark revelations of the text. This renders them relatively harmless and is an attempt to – figuratively speaking – put them to bed.

More details about these pieces as well as works by other artists included in the exhibit, available here:

Jim Johnson in the Reading Room

Folios and Other Open Books

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The career of Jim Johnson is one of diversity of approach with specificity of purpose. Trained as a painter, early in his career he began to experiment with new media such as video, collage, photocopies, correspondence art and books. From his first exposure to the international Concrete Poetry movement in the late sixties, Jim’s work has consistently moved in the direction of discovery and away from expression.

Visitors to the Denver Art Museum have likely seen his book/installation, A Thousand Words is in the Denver Art Museum’s Permanent Collection.

He has created numerous one-of-a-kind books as well as limited and open editions, a selection of which is on display in the Reading Room this fall. The exhibit includes a selection of books using the versatile folio format. Jim works with the versatility of the folio, the notion that each collection of folios (or ‘book’) exists as both multiple sheets and a single object. He treats the form as a collection that can be read in sequence or disassembled and viewed or framed together or individually.

Other books in the exhibition are unbound, boxed or loose pages in envelopes that can be displayed in any number of ways. Several of his books are available as free online PDF files or are available on demand from SPOD publishers such as Lulu or his own site Discopie., Lulu and Printed Matter

Jim was a a member of the Painting and Drawing faculty of the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Colorado at Boulder since 1970. He developed the department’s Integrated Media and Computer Imaging programs and was instrumental in developing the Center for Arts, Media and Performance for the ATLAS Institute and served as it’s first Director.

Abecedarian will host an informal talk and reception for Jim on October 19, from 6-8pm.

Ann Frellsen – bookish jewelry

Ann Frellsen

miniature wearable books

An open view of one of Ann’s pins

Abecedarian now offers book jewelry by PlayHouse Press to the online store. We have pins and earrings that are fully functioning miniature books handcrafted by Ann Frellsen.


Ann Frellsen is a book conservator at Emory University Libraries with a studio arts degree in sculpture. From her home in Atlanta, Georgia, Ann combines these talents and interests in the creation of book arts jewelry.

Each piece is a fully functioning miniature book, hand stitched and cased in to the cover. Ann uses high quality findings, papers, and cloth. She uses both vintage and contemporary marbled and paste papers. These charming accessories, created under her PlayHouse Press imprint, are visually fun and well-crafted.

Although there are others creating similarly wonderful book arts jewelry, Abecedarian carries Ann’s work because of the consistently high quality of both materials and production and the affordable price range. Abecedarian Gallery is the only online market carrying these pieces.

Check out what we have in stock here

Pati Scobey – subscription print series

Pati Scobey Inside the Song

In 2004 Pati Scobey began an on-going project titled “A Chronicle of Images”. Using a letterpress, she has been making a series of prints which combine linoleum cuts, collagraphs and sometimes typographical elements. Rich and varied in color and design, the prints involve multiple runs through the press. Produced in a rural section of Michigan, where Pati has lived for many years, they are inspired by her ongoing observations, connections and readings, stemming from an active commitment to ideas and impressions that are energizing yet quietly felt.

In Pati’s words:

I can feel the first part of my life rub against the last part. Both, however, meld in my work as a visual artist. Being raised in an Air Force family, my early environment continually shifted and allowed me glimpses of other cultures and landscapes. In contrast, for the past 17 years I have been tied to one piece of land in Michigan and have developed a deep connection to place. Approaching my work in printmaking and bookmaking with an attitude of exploration and experimentation, I balance discovery with planning and I work through ideas in a spirit as akin to drawing as to printing. My printing process is comprised of combining plates depicting narratives and patterns in nature with stencils which are a vocabulary of shapes and characters. Through the manipulation of these elements, I produce layers and levels of form and color on the page or in the book which evoke a sense of movement, geography, and journeys. I view the work as an attempt to answer questions I ask myself.

 

The prints are distributed to Pati’s subscribers (those who sign up in advance to receive the years’ prints when they are published for a reduced price).

The idea of subscription prints is not unique to Pati, but most of the subscriptions series I’m aware of involve letterpress printing. Shereen LaPlantz conducted an ambitious series of subscription how to books in the late 1990’s. Long out of print, some of those titles are still available here.

Pati’s subscription prints are printed in edition sizes ranging from 125 − 150 depending on the number of subscribers and are published twice annually. Abecedarian is pleased to offer single prints from the series for those who have missed a print from the series, or want specific prints without subscribing. Click here to see current inventory.

Artists Book Cornucopia III – Casey Gardner

Body of Inquiry by Casey Gardner

Casey Gardner - Body of Inquiry

This is a work that succeeds on every level: the text, both humorous and pithy, is engaging, the craft and material selection superb, the design and layout a balance of image, information and space.

The presentation is such that one is informed, enticed and amused before even getting to the ‘insides’ of the work – a corporeal codex, the inside story.

We read that the work was inspired by Torso Woman, a genuine anatomical model of serene evisceration. Mounted on the interior central panel, appropriately placed on a brush worked depiction of an armless, legless female, who does, however, have a head), wearing a stoic (or is it serene?) expression is an organically shaped book that includes overlapping shapes reminiscent of the human anatomy books of the fifties.

On the exterior of the central panel is a diagram depicting “How to approach something”, as well as Gardner’s dedication to many inspiring teachers, one in particular who made ‘learning an immense fantastical tale.’

This book is produced in an edition of 57 and sells for $1200.

Artist bio, images, descriptive details and ordering information here

Casey Gardner is the recipient of this years’ Gallery Director Award.

Her work will be featured in a Reading Room exhibit during Artists Book Cornucopia IV in 2013.

Artists Book Cornucopia III – Cathryn Miller

The Universe by Cathryn Miller

Cathryn Miller - Universe
The Universe, made as a conscious act of re-purposing a found book, has quite a different look and feel than most other altered books I see. Miller’s purpose is very specific: 

 

In making these works I take existing popular science books and re-configure them into objects that reveal the content of the text and images in a new way. The subject matter of the book determines the final reconstructed form. 

 

The three ‘volumes’ of this work each contain dozens of Froebel stars (a Froebel star is a three-dimensional star made of four strips of paper) – the stars fitting exactly into the box cavity when closed and spilling forth when the box lid is opened for viewing.

 

This set is produced in an edition of one and sells for $1200.

 

Artist bio, images, descriptive details and ordering information here.

Artists Book Cornucopia III – Dennis Yuen

Hokusai No Yurei by Dennis Yuen

Dennis Yuen - Hokusai No Yurei (Hokusai's Ghost)

Unwrapping Dennis Yuen’s book is a rare treat. This physically lightweight object morphs into something of unexpectedness weightiness with the unwrapping of each layer of the cotton cord that makes up its bulk.

Using lengths of cotton cord suggestive of Yurei’s (a Japanese folklore character) long hair, the book successfully evokes a sense of the ethereal outside of the specific context of Japanese folklore.

This book is produced in an edition of one and sells for $2000 .

Artist bio, images, descriptive details and ordering information here.

Artists Book Cornucopia III – Karen Kunc

Ephemera by Karen Kunc

Karen Kunc - Ephemera

 

I have been an admirer of Karen Kunc’s prints and books for many years so I am delighted to have two of her works included in this years’ Artists Book Cornucopia exhibition.

 

Impeccably designed, printed and bound, Ephemera is an accordion structure with multiple layers of woodcut imagery combined with letterpress image and text. This elegant presentation evolved from an invitation from Longwood University to poet Robert Pinsky and Karen Kunc.

 

The book includes the two poems Rhyme and The Want Bone

 

An excerpt from Rhyme

 

Air an instrument of the tongue

The tongue an instrument

Of the body . . . 

 

And from The Want Bone:

 

The tongue of the waves tolled in the earth’s bell.

Blue ripped and soaked in the fire of blue . . . 

 

This book is produced in an edition of 50 and sells for $950.

 

Artist bio, images, descriptive details and ordering information here.