In the summer I miss seeing the outpouring of creativity that I get to see during the school year. Fortunately, North Main Gallery in Salem, New York has put on a book arts show rich in materials, ideas, structure and color.This has become an annual event, which I am grateful for!
I attended the opening party on July 24, and took a few snap shots…I plan to go back today and get some more pictures (it’s a very photogenic show..) People came from near and far to see the show. On the top right there. in the chartruese sweater, is Ulrike Grannis a paper artist I met at the Center For Book Arts in the late 1990, who came up from Chatham to see the show. Next to her is bookmaker, educator and advocate Beth Thielen
Here’s a pop up by Shawn Sheehy…I can’t even begin to imagine how one thinks up making a pop-up of a spider web. This piece one of many pages of a book in progress, which will be in full color, that will contain other examples of animal architecture, such as honeycombs and bird nests.
The opening included talks by each of the artists, so it we got to hear something about Shawn’s elaborate processes.
The theme of the show center around the natural world, and the variety of book structures shown here are varied: pop-ups, accordions, and tunnel books, like this one by Susan Bonthron, are just a few a the different kinds of bookmaking structures here. And what, you may ask is a tunnel book? Well, I took a snap shot of the set up, to show off the structure:
Tunnel books are horizontal accordions that create scenes with depth. They close up flat but expand to reveal depth and detail.
This book, has a codex kind of binding but the pages are incised with bird silhouettes which show the landscape that they shadow upon.
More birds…Cathy spoke about this book during her talk, waxing poetically about taking one drawing and repeating it with variations.
I have been dissecting pop-ups for years, but I couldn’t even begin to fathom how Sheehy works out these designs. My favorite construction of his is a swiss army knife, which I hope to get back to photograph later today, and I will share this with you as soon as I get a good shot.
Much to my delight, the morning after the opening Shawn set up shop at the local gardening center Gardenworks, and walked us through how to put together Sheehy vegetables. I made a pop-up tomato, string beans and swiss chard, and now I am even more confused…
…but it was delicious.