hand made paper, commercially printed book
Handmade molded flax pages rise up like flames or a life force from a 100-year-old volume of The Book of Knowledge, beloved by my mother during her childhood. Her set of magenta-covered volumes was my mother’s passport to the world. My work is about connection, and I use juxtaposition, humor, and enigma to explore relationships, origins and destinies. I think of “Book of Knowledge” as a little world, a container for ideas. I strive for self-containment, simplicity, and a strangeness that hopefully elicits awe and wonder. I had begun making the flax pages as homage to the lead pages of Anselm Kiefer’s “Woman of Antiquity,” but they soon took on a life of their own.
I use found objects ranging from family heirlooms to the most humble detritus of everyday life. “Book of Knowledge” is an example of a family heirloom finding its place in my work. The series of volumes was to my mother, born in 1917, what the Encyclopedia Brittanica or Colliers Encyclopedia was to me. Long after finishing this piece, I discovered that Donald Lipski, the sculptor who made “Tree of Life” for the Grand Central Market in New York City, also made an altered book from a volume of Book of Knowledge, in his case by boring a large circular hole through it from cover to cover. “Book of Knowledge” comes with a custom lucite cradle for its display.
Barbara Hosein is an artist who works intuitively with found objects, paper and fiber. She has lived in Trinidad, St. Lucia, Jamaica, New York and San Diego. Currently she lives near Indianapolis. In her previous career as a PhD medical research scientist, she developed diagnostic tests for HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C.