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Book arts and artist books



As Peter so accurately pointed out, this list is for everyone engaged in some
aspect of book arts, and if I don't like the current topic (or can't relate
to it), I have the option to suggest another. So here is my suggestion, and I
will stick my neck out by going first. I would love to hear from others on
this list both their individual definition of book arts and what,
specifically they do that they term book arts.

My education is as a visual artist, with degrees in Fine Arts, major (as both
undergraduate and graduate) in printmaking. I began making artist books
twelve years ago and still tend to make one-of-a-kind books that "function"
primarily as art objects, in the same way that a print or a painting or a
drawing is an art object. My attraction to making books has to do with the
wonderful variety of problems that present themselves for solution, some  of
which I feel I have had moderate success in solving and others of which
continue to elude me. I enjoy most the manipulation of color and structure
and I am drawn to both the intimacy and familiarity of the form (though I
often do things that render the familiarity less familiar). I tend to work in
series, that is to say, I write text, make prints and drawings, and invent
forms to explore, visualize and contextualize an idea. The initial stimulus
for a series is often the result of some dislocation or journey that exposes
me to something "new" and which demands that I reorder myself to accommodate
it. My definition of artist book is, obviously, quite open, and that is one
of its primary attractions for me. I had my first experience in book arts as
a student with Hedi Kyle in 1985 and nothing about that experience altered my
initial impression that here was a technique, field, call it what you will,
in which I could do almost anything. Nothing since has changed my mind.

Barbara Harman


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