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Re: Definition of the Artists Book (YES, again)



I really appreciate the thoughtfulness given this issue on this list. Like
Peter and some others, I was trained in the fine crafts of bookmaking, but
in an art department where the imagination as to what a book might be
(fairly, but not totally, open definition) certainly played a key role. I
have made a lot of books since then, but, in part because I chose to make
books which engaged literary texts in a kind of dialogue about what kind of
book (structurally and otherwise) might best collaborate with them, I've
sort of been on various borders between literary bookmaking, fine
bookmaking, and artist's bookmaking. I'm perfectly happy on that border,
and whil I know I'm not, craftwise, absolutely the best printer or binder
or papermaking coming out of the training I had, I think the craftsmanship
in the books does hold up fairly well.

Still, with this kind of training, I love books which surprise me, whose
imaginative reach thrills me and perhaps makes me sees "book" in a way I
haven't seen it before -- or some aspect of "book," at least. And if a
creatively made book or book-commenting or book-like object does so, I am
willing to give it a lot of leeway in terms of its craft. Generally, my
favorite books are those I love to read and whose whole being collaborates
in the meaning of that reading. But when given a choice of the finely
crafted book whose form doesn't particularly interact with its content (or,
frankly, whose content may not interest me), or a less well made 'book'
which is clearly a powerful imaginatively made object -- I'd usually rather
be holding/seeing/reading (whatever is appropriate here) the latter. And
when a book can be both well made and imaginatively powerful, yes, that's
the best it    gets.

charles


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