About this piece:
A History of…Vol.I considers place and belonging, the connection to an environment as part of what shapes how we grow and what we become. Using a 3 volume history of Martha’s Vineyard Island written in 1911 by Charles Banks, I write ‘erasures’ that are vignettes of a perspective on the history of the island and my own. The original volumes are an artifact holding memory and history. The new book is built with and upon that artifact to create a new object, a readable text within a sculptural book form. The vignettes were written by finding a new narrative that references the original content. The original text has been erased by punching out lettersor by slicing out sections of words. The pages have been removed from the original binding and waxed to create a transparency that reveals a trace of the opposite page. The pages have then been rebound in an accordion fold binding that can be extended allowing light to reflect through the holes, slices, and translucency of the waxed paper.
Erasure poetry is a form attributed to the poet Mary Ruefle, and used by many others writers in recent years. There are also the erasure narratives created by the book artist Tom Phillips. I am inspired by both; attempting to write solid new work from the foundation of an earlier text. I choose texts with particular content from which to work and use that original content as a contextual source as well as the physical source for material to work with. This is one in a series of unique books all taken from Charles Bank’s History of Martha’s Vineyard.
found book pages, ink, wax, handmade paper
Julie Leonard is a bookbinder and artist working in Iowa City, IA. She teaches at the University of Iowa Center for the Book. Her recent work uses writing in combination with visual and sculptural elements to create books that consider a personal relationship to place; our physical environment and how we interact with it. Writing methods include erasures—a form that uses existing texts as a ground from which to create a new written piece. With the erasures, she chooses books with particular content or associations in order to write new pieces that both build on and honor the original text.