Generations began as a fortieth birthday present for my husband. We had recently helped his father format his genealogical research into a book, and I was touched by numerous photos of fathers and sons hunting and fishing together. I asked my father-in-law to write stories about his times spent hunting and fishing with his father and his son. Snippets of text from these stories join the names of fathers and sons going back seven generations.
Karen Hanmer’s Chicago studio practice is unusually varied, including small editions of artists’ books, larger editions of inexpensive multiples, installation, and one-of-a-kind design bindings. Her work fragments and layers text and image to weaves together themes of history, technology, personal and cultural memory and the American Midwestern landscape. The work often has a playful presentation, taking the form of puzzles, maps, games, or decks of cards. Many include text, often archival, usually first person accounts. Hanmer exhibits internationally, and her work is included in collections ranging from Tate Britain and the Library of Congress to UCLA and Graceland. Hanmer is one of only eight graduates of the American Academy of Bookbinding’s Fine Binding program. She is a leader in the book arts community, serving on the editorial boards of The Bonefolder and the Guild of Book Workers Journal and as frequent exhibition curator. She offers workshops and private instruction focusing on a solid foundation in basic binding skills.