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Artist Book Questions



Dear Friends
        This whole discussion has been interesting. I have two thoughts that
I'd like to share. One is in relation to what it is a book. I teach
workshops for kids in Making Multicultural Books. There are palm leaf
books, slat books from ancient China, scrolls, accordion books, codex,
etc. While their forms differ, their reason for being is the same:
religious writings, legal documents, accounts, poetry, preservation of
knowledge in math, astronomy, medicine, science, etc. They preserve,
clarify, record, inspire. The intent is the constant and the forms vary
depending on the natural materials available. While it is their form and
physicality that attracts me- I can't read any of the books I show them,
I think that looking at the history of the book says that change will
continue.

        The second thought is about my own work. I came to making books from
calligraphy. As I moved away from calligraphy, I spent a lot of time
analyzing what calligraphy was, where it was going, why I felt it didn't
fit me anymore, and I didn't fit in its world either. I learned about
making books from books and worked on my own. I was trying to sort out
what artist's books were all about and read Artist's books edited by
Joan Lyons from the Visual Studies Workshop. I found all the analysis
pretty overwhelming and decided not to worry about it and just go on my
way. What I have liked so much about the book arts, using that term to
encompass the whole range, is how welcoming it is. I feel I have found a
place where my work can fit and I feel comfortable. The fact that it is
so hard to agree on a definition may make life difficult for art
historians and critics, but I think it is wonderful for artists.

in good spirit,
Susan
Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord
Newburyport, MA


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