Marcia Watt – Red Chamber Revisited – NFS

© 2015
edition of 1
14.25 x 37.25 x 1



Created for the 2015 Ideation Experience exhibition.

paper, gouache, cloth, ribbon, wood


Artist Statement about work:

I’ve wanted to make a whirlwind (a.k.a. dragon scale) binding, for some time, but needed a reason to undertake the project. When our group ideation card pull included both “based on historic example” and “innovative,” I knew I would use this Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 ad) structure. Having determined the structure, I needed to figure out subject matter. As the structure was Chinese, it seemed a Chinese subject should be used. I chose to base my book on the 18th Century novel, Dream of the Red Chamber, a story about the downfall of 2 branches of a wealthy family. The imagery of an old gnarled tree was chosen to represent a family tree. While the story is narrative in nature, it is full of poetry. Contrast is found in presenting the opening poem in both Chinese and English. Both the poem and the characters found on each page are play-on-words alternating between homophones jiǎ 賈 (family name) and jiǎ 假 (false or fictitious), and between zhēn 甄 (family name) and zhēn 真 (real).

Created using the following Ideation Deck card draws: color – primary; structure – innovative; image – extracted from a single image; technique – mixed media; layout – based on an historic example; text – found; paper- pre-treated. Adjectives: monotonous , poetic , opposing or contrasting , narrative , intuitive

About artist:

Marcia Watt is a calligrapher and book artist living in Georgia. She frequently teaches calligraphy and a variety of bookbinding techniques and decorative paper techniques, such as marbling, etc. Her interest in the book-arts is longstanding. She was a rare book cataloger and preservation librarian at Yale and later the preservation librarian at Emory. She has curated exhibits for the Friends of Dard Hunter and the RCW Museum of Papermaking. She won “Best of Show” in a Southeast Guild of Book Workers exhibit and 3rd place at the Nantong International Contemporary Crafts Biennale in China.

About Alicia Bailey


Marcia Watt – Red Chamber Revisited – NFS

by Alicia Bailey time to read: 1 min