Mary Howe In Salem NY, Works and Workshops
July 11, 2011
Mary Howe, center
This past weekend, as part of Book Arts Summer In Salem
Mary Howe installed a show of her work at Ruth Sauer’s North Main Gallery, and taught two workshops. I didn’t miss a minute of it. Viewing the show and taking classes with fellow book arts affectionatos was, to say the least, reinvigorating .
This window sign, which is a roll of Tyvek with paper cuttings, was created by Mary especially for her show. This kind of attention to detail permeates every bit of Mary’s work.
A Shelf of Book Arts by Mary Howe
North Main Gallery installed a long bookshelf on their north wall, especially to showcase Mary’s work.
Many of Mary’s works reference small, even microscopic living things, such as insects and sea creatures. During a conversation with Mary I found out that she spends a portion of her time in Maine collecting water samples from the ocean to help with the official monitoring of creatures that causes the beautiful but toxic red tide that threatens the local coastline.
Mary’s books are most often books within books. This red book is part of a piece that deals with artifacts around Mary’s involvement with her red tide data.
Mary was sure to point out that this structure, the flag book, is a structure that was developed and popularized by Hedi Kyle. We all owe such a debt of gratitude to Hedi for the visual and architectural vocabulary of contemporary book arts, that I was pleased that Mary wanted to be clear about where the inspiration for this book originated. The workshop that I will be teaching in three weeks will also be a Heid Kyle structure, known as the Blizzard Book.
Getting Ready to Make Paste Papers
Saturday morning’s workshop was all about making paste papers. Mary likes using Menthol Cellulose as the medium, Golden paints for color, and Canson Mi-tients papers for her surface.
You can’t see it here, there’s a sheet of clear mylar on top of the newspaper. This is a great idea: using a mylar sheet to address the need for a light-weight, portable, easy to clean surface to make paste papers on. In this photo, a brilliant participant realized that he could also use the mylar sheet as a palette for various colors of paste. In a workshop situation, it’s uncomfortable to give everyone a full palette of colors as that leads to a lot of wasted paint: putting a selection of colors on the mylar worked out really well.
Workshop #2 was all about folding: boxes, books, maps and….
… a “staging” card. I think that this structure was the majority favorite. The ones we made were larger than this one.
As a group, we made quite a bit of work.
Here’s my end of the day photo. Love that sign.