About this piece:
Stitching Speechless is a collaboration with Zen art scholar, poet, and artist Stephen Addiss, featuring a sequence of his haiku. We worked together to embody the poems in a book that would express the multiple traditions they draw from.
We used Japanese materials and techniques to evoke the origins of haiku. At the same time, Addiss was also a student and colleague of John Cage, so “stitching speechless” reflects the avant-garde path by which Zen ideas entered Western artistic practice. Cage’s influence is present in the chance methods Steve used to create the haiku. I also use fire and smoke on the pages–one of Cage’s favored visual art techniques. Cage had a more direct influence as well: to determine what part(s) of each page to burn, we consulted a sequence of randomized numbers that Addiss had on hand from a prior project they had worked on together.
book cloth, paper, inks, thread
About the artist:
Josh Hockensmith is a book artist and writer living in Pittsboro, North Carolina. He stumbled on artists’ books through poetry and an interest in hand bookbinding. He is interested in the full spectrum of work being created in book form; in the convergence of digital technology and the physical book; and in the history of the book as the complicit vehicle for humanity’s strangest, most wonderful, most powerful creations through the ages.