Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Emily Dickinson as Book Artist

"A Poet's Garden"

Cotton and abacca paper cast into plaster mold of a bean pod. "Seeds" are accordion folded artist made mulberry paper, ink jet printed with poetry of poet labeled on pod.

Detail " A Poet's Garden"

Larger detail of "A Poet's Garden"..... leaves also of cast cotton paper, all forming a vine of "book chapters" (bean pods) wrapped around fencing - poles and wires. (In private collection)

I made this book several years ago before I became enchanted with Dickinson and a devoted member of the Emily Dickinson International Society. "The Poet's Garden" fits Emily's image. During her lifetime she was well known for her beautiful gardens.

Just read a new book about Emily Dickinson - "Maid as Muse" by Aife Murray who apparently also makes artist's books. This about the help.. the maids...cooks... stable men... gardeners and seamstresses who attended to all the needs of the Dickinson family.

Murray uses new descriptions for how Emily presented her original poetical works... collage artist and book maker. She would add stamps, paste cut up book pages and images on her letters as well as draw cartoons - an early collage artist ? The 20th century collage artist, Joseph Cornell, was greatly influenced by Dickinson, dedicating several pieces of work to her. Then there are the fascicles ... her poetry hidden until after her death found in 40 pamphlet bound small single signatures books called fascicles. Artist's books ? Each designed mostly by placement of her very unusual hand writing by stretching words across a page to fill the line. Something to think about - Emily Dickinson, Artist Book Maker.

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