About this piece:
This book celebrates a wonderfully creative and rich summer immersed in botanical contact printing and making shifu, exploring plants and the richness of my North Country home. I returned from Australia in March, energized by Victoria’s summer landscape, to complete my last year of teaching high school. I began making very large contact prints from plants, metal, and waters on my land, and began writing about my responses to place. I worked with cloth and paper and prints, bringing home road killed birds to use their bodies for printing and them burying them in my garden. I was thinking about how to be in this landscape as well as living on it, how rooted (I even used bedstraw roots in the bo-co printing I made that summer. I had been thinking about the versatility and simplicity of pamphlet stitched books, how they can hold larger works than the covers reveal. I used a flax case paper for the cover, and added pockets to hold cloth prints in the covers.
There are many fold-outs echoing the thought that this book is a map of sorts, a physical outpouring of this place I call home. Many plants and metals as well as my very hard well water were used in the botanical printing process evident on each page. The text is wandering wonder, thoughts I had while working on this book and others from the summer. I made prints of dead birds and snakes, buried them with care after using thir bodies, it seemed right to celebrate their small lives rather then let car after car smush them into asphalt. After being in Australia and using the alchemy from that dry country I wanted to be present for all that summer could offer me, to the extent that I waxed cloths that had been bo-co dyed with xanthorea (from Australia) added to the mix. If I folded my pages in a way that the first part of the folio was only a typical pamphlet, and that after the sewing they would butterfly open out into a book of many views of text, print, color.
paper, ink, feathers,cloth, wax
About the artist:
Velma Bolyard lives and works in New York State’s North Country. She is a weaver, spinner, dyer, papermaker and artists’ book maker. Her work is informed by the landscape where she lives and the land is the source for much of the materiality for her work. Her artists’ books are rich in her handmade papers, botanical contact prints, shifu, kami-ito, and cloth. A retired teacher of emotionally disturbed high school kids, Velma now teaches book, paper, and fiber arts throughout North America and Australia, and adjuncts in Fine Arts at St Lawrence University.