My first day at the Cary Collection at the library at Rochester Institute of Technology was in January. My second day was this past Monday.
I didn’t know that the Cary Collection houses a huge collection of artists’ books. What a surprise! When I asked the guardians of the collection if they had any unusual bindings, they sort of casually pulled out a remarkable assortment. for me to look at and handle. I was there only a few hours, and I wanted to linger over every book they showed me, so I didn’t see a great number of books, but what I did see what great.
Many of the books, like this one above by Ed Hutchins, are from a collection bequeathed to the Cary by Patricia England. For the most part I didn’t take note of how these books found their way to Rochester, but the name “England” was associated to so many of them that I eventually inquired about it.
My daughter stopped by when I was looking at this book by Ed Hutchins. Ed knows and has been helpful and encouraging to my daughter over many years so it was quite wonderful for her to see that Ed is represented (by three books) in her college’s collection. She was thoroughly delighted with this book and its message.
I’m going to have to split these images of the books that I saw over several days so these posts don’t get too long. Because of the nature of artists’ books it takes multiple photographs to begin to give a sense of each piece. I took like a gazillion photos. I’m not going to post all of them, or even show every book I looked at. What I’m going for here is to give a glimpse of what I’ve glimpsed, wanting to let people know that this amazing collection exists.
Here’s the first two panels opening of this heavy mysterious box by Gloria Helfgott.
As the inner pieces swing open, accordioned rows flank another mysterious set of doors.
By the time this tunnel-like accordion center is expanded, I’ve now had to open up three sets of enclosures. This inner sanctum piece has another layer that one might miss. I saw this top-opening structure and wondered if they might be pockets. Turns out, yes, there is a card hidden within each pocket!
Just coincidentally I’m sure, I saw three separate artists’ books that used this tunnel-like accordion in its construction. It’s an interesting structure because it can be set up in number of different ways. Alisa Golden’s book above works nicely as a tunnel book, as it has an opening in the front when it’s set up like a tunnel, but it’s also lovely to see in this half-star configuration. The little book on the right is Golden’s wonderfully realized version of Hedi Kyle’s fishbone fold book….
…which is housed in this remarkable little slipcase.
I also saw three separate piece by Carol Schwartzott, each a tiny masterpiece. These books are filled with content, both writing and images. Here’s one of her books, fully expanded.
I was enchanted by every page, even the colophon page, of Schwartzott’s books.
Okay, one more book to show tonight…
Here’s another small treasure this one by Susan Allix.
This little book is full of writing and prints. I was intrigued by all parts of the construction of this book. I can’t sort out what’s going on with how the covers are put together. It’s got a great look. And here’s another surprise: the enclosure for the book is really unusual and stunning.
There’s this little shelf inside the enclosure sleeve which the book slips under. What a cool little package!
That’s it for now!
More to come.