Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Arts Tuesday-Lowell Women's Week Final Report

I have completed the final step of All Our Voices: The Lowell Women's Week 2012 Public Art Project: preparing the books for the LWW Archives at the Center for Lowell History. While I am very organized in my teaching, I am not a planner when it comes to my art. Anything that involves my personal making of something tends to evolve rather than be planned ahead even if I think I have a plan. My intention was to bind all the books together into one big book for the archives. I envisioned this wonderful twisting, turning book full of voices. There were two things wrong with this picture. One was that we had many more books than I expected. I didn't do a complete count but it was well over 200, probably closer to 300. The thought of putting this large collection of books of different sizes and shapes together was overwhelming and I didn't feel up to the task. The other was how exactly this unwieldy object would then be placed in the archives.

In addition to these practical considerations, I also came to feel that binding all the books together was not the right treatment. As part of the process I photographed all the books and loved my intimate connection with each. I realized that the experience I wanted anyone who came to view the archives to have was the same as mine. It was an interesting thought to make this public art piece into an art piece of a different sort and to put my personal stamp on it through the binding process but what All Our Voices really needed was an honoring of the individual voices by allowing the books to be viewed on their own.

The Lowell Women's Week Public Art Committee put their faith in me from the beginning and we all worked together and adjusted our plans as the project developed. I am especially appreciative that they were happy to go along with my recommendation for this final change. I packed the books in two archival boxes and accompanied each with a small portfolio of images and information from the exhibit.

You can see all the books on flickr in three sets:
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

You can view all the blog posts about the project here.

Coming next week for Book Arts Tuesday—a Lupine Accordion Book Project to celebrate our trip to the Gaspé Peninsula.

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