About this piece:
In Vellicate, I used the advantages of Hedi Kyle’s flag book structure for content that relies on neither text nor image, but is instead a tactile and visual encounter with a particular material. As the accordion spine expands and contracts, the flags change direction and soft tips of hair brush over the viewer’s wrists. My goal was to capture a physical sensation and its accompanying emotion: a touch so light as to be at the very edge of perception. The book’s title encapsulates the way it feels and the way it moves; “vellicate” means to touch lightly to excite the surface nerves and cause uneasiness or laughter, to tickle, to titillate, or to twitch. By animating the hair and inviting manipulation, Hedi’s playful structure communicates this concept quite literally.
The book and clamshell box were made with human hair, acrylic, and handmade paper. I used overbeaten abaca and flax fiber for its translucency and skin-like quality, to offer visual hints and heighten the focus on touch.
human hair, acrylic, ink
About the artist:
Karen Hardy is a visual artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. Her practice is centered on an experimental approach to materials, and is influenced by her background in the natural sciences. She uses innovative hand papermaking techniques and a variety of non-traditional materials in her artist books, sculpture, and installation. Her artist books are widely exhibited and held in collections across the country and abroad. Karen received an MFA in book arts & printmaking from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and currently teaches book arts at Western Carolina University.