muslin, instant books, steel
During a collaborative exhibit in 2011 reflecting on the idea of “home”, printmaker Bobby Rosenstock and I created a library of sorts in a gallery in Canton, Ohio. We asked viewers to fill in these instant books and leave them in our library (a giant hinged-box book). People were generous with their stories, and the hands of this doll are made of these instant books, which I bound using the coptic stitch before attaching them to the doll. The body of the doll is printed with a lino-cut of Bobby’s house in Marietta, Ohio, as well as with bits of text about a character named Betsey, who lived in Marietta in the early 1800s.
These dolls are created as embodiments of the people that share their stories with me in various settings. With the books attached to the doll’s hands, it allows a different interaction with the books, the doll, and the act of reading. The fabric is letterpress printed, and then the dolls are hand-and machine-sewn.
Erin Sweeney received her MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She also has a BFA in Sculpture from the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine. Sweeney exhibits nationally, is an adjunct professor at NHIA in Manchester, New Hampshire, and teaches workshops nationally.