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Word | Image | Object 2018

Word | Image | Object

Fat days

A curated exhibition on view September 1-29 at Tallyn’s Reach Library in Aurora, Colorado.

Twenty-two works created by some favorite contemporary artists working in the book form.

View online catalog here.

According to family lore, I fell in love with books as objects long before I mastered the memorization and subsequent actual reading of the Dr. Seuss books most frequently read aloud to me – Hop on Pop and The Cat in the Hat.

The object of my first book romance was a cloth book with pages – Kay Clark’s All By Herself. That book, with pages of shoelaces to be tied and untied, buttons to be buttoned and then unbuttoned,  then buttoned up again, embodied much that continues to delight in the world of artists’ books. Words and images and interactivity.

These days I have the honor and good fortune to work with artists making a variety of cloth books, such as Candace Hicks, whose embroidered book covers resemble those of another mid-twentieth century book icon – composition books.

C Hicks Volumexxxv1

And Beata Wehr, whose cloth books incorporate objects she finds during her multi-continent travels, the stitches she uses to attach creating patterns that appear once a page has been turned.

Beata Wehr More stories on time 2

Representing contemporary cloth books in Word | Image | Object is Behind & In Front, a letterpress printed book by Penelope Anstruther.

P Anstruther Behind 4

My childhood didn’t include a household television; instead we listened, as a family to full length readings on LP of classics such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Those stories were hard to enjoy in a room with restless siblings who pinched and prodded rather than, or perhaps in addition to, listening. I much preferred the Little Golden Book Read Along audio books and tapes that I could enjoy on my own. The act of listening to a previously print publication is explored in Macy Chadwick’s Observations on Listening.


Cassette tapes, along with other disappearing artifacts of the twentieth century such as spiral bound appointment books, still live as materials and substrates used by contemporary book workers such as Jim Johnson’s Appointments 1998

J johnson Appointments3

and Josh Hockensmith’s Heart Sutra ReMix


The exhibit also includes pop-up books (Carol Barton, Shawn Sheehy), richly colorful works (Sarah Nicholls, Barry McCallion, Ellen Knudson), books with texts beyond the expected  (Denise Bookwalter, Laura Wait, Autumn Thomas, Islam Aly), books holding mysterious or magical objects (Dolph Smith, Mary V. Marsh/Tony Bellavar, Rebecca Chamlee, Rhiannon Alpers) and books that focus on telling a story (Lisa Rappaport, Sue Carrie Drummond).

Included in the exhibit are works by

Alicia Bailey – Aurora, Colorado; Autumn Thomas – Aurora, Colorado; Barry McCallion  – East Hampton, New York; Carol Barton – Glen Echo, Maryland; Denise Bookwalter  – Tallahassee, Florida; Dolph Smith – Ripley, Tennessee; Ellen Knudson – Gainesville, Florida; Islam Aly – Cedar Falls, Iowa; Jim Johnson – Denver, Colorado; Josh Hockensmith  – Pittsboro, North Carolina; Laura Wait  – Santa Fe, New Mexico; Lisa Rappaport – Richmond, California; Mary Marsh/Tony Bellavar – Oakland, California; Macy Chadwick – Petaluma, California; Penelope Anstruther – Oakland, California; Rebecca Chamlee – Simi Vallery, California; Rhiannon Alpers – SanFrancisco,California; Sarah Nicholls – Brooklyn, New York; Shawn Sheehy – Chicago, Illinois; Sue Carrie Drummond  – Jackson, Mississippi


New work by Colorado book artists at Abecedarian

Summer is a time for me to step back, re-assess Abecedarian’s successes and failures and develop new programming and relationships. One of the pleasures of this process is the addition of several artists to gallery inventory. This post introduces four artists who have Colorado ties.


Mackenzie Browning, having recently earned his MFA from the University of Saskatchewan, moved to Denver earlier this year. Pictured above is Posy Patch, one of four works currently available at the gallery. Click here to read more about Mackenzie’s available works. He’s been in a printing frenzy at Denver’s Art Gym, where he is featured in a two person exhibit Creases and Covers  August 6 – 20, 2016. Here are some photos of the exhibition:

M Browning Artgym bM Browning Artgym a

Nicole Cotten lived in the Denver area prior to getting a BFA in painting with a minor in creative writing from University of Colorado, Boulder. She is currently pursuing an MFA in book arts from the University of Iowa and is in the very early stages of what will likely be a successful focus on book arts. Click here to learn more about her book Man Knitting: How to Make Flowers (pictured below).


Scott McKinney is also just starting on his journey as a studio artist, having recently received his BFA in studio arts from Metropolitan State University in Denver. His work, Transit, has a deliciously tactile cover with a hand embroidered title. Click here to learn more about Transit (pictured below).


I’ve had  Kim Morski’s work since it was featured in The Printed Page II exhibit earlier this year. She moved to Denver several months ago and has already made quite a splash with her collaborative project Fresh Bread in March,and as guest artist in residence at the Art Gym. She has also jumped on board (as a new board member) at The Englewood Depot letterpress museum. Her book This Land is Your Land/This Land is My Land  received a purchase award and is now out of print. Click here to learn more about Kim’s work in inventory. Part 2: Clouds is pictured below.


Welcome to the gallery!

Modest in Scale award recipient Wendy Kowynia


Mixed-media artist Wendy Kowynia is one of four recipients of the Modest in Scale exhibition awards. Included in the exhibit are two pieces from her Iterations Series. In this work Wendy explores material, technique, and technology. She is using paper yarns of linen, bamboo, pine and silk, painted and dyed that are knotted, woven, twined and laced on a loom.

Iteration is the essential act of weaving; to do again and again and again, with each completion coming more closely to the desired result. Wendy finds solace in this requirement of her chosen medium: the work evolves out of this simple dedication to repetition.

About her work Wendy says:

As an artist working in textiles, my work has an inherent element of surface; I create the surface, and the surface becomes the art. The Iteration Series is woven in linen, the painter’s traditional canvas.


Iteration 11 is painted with oil stick on the warp threads, then woven. Iteration 12 is knotted paper yarn.

In 1983 Wendy apprenticed for a year with her mother, an accomplished weaver. When she sat down at the loom, she knew she could

“do this forever and never be finished. 30 years later, this is still true.“

Wendy Kowynia has lived and worked in Steamboat Springs since 1991. Her career in textiles began in 1983. Wendy completed her BS degree from Smith College in 1982, where she majored in studio art, with a focus in painting. I am looking forward to featuring more of her work next year.


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