Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Book Arts Tuesday-Narrative Threads at Abecedarian Gallery

Abecedarian Gallery in Denver, CO has two exhibitions this month: The Ephemerist's Salon by Susan E. King and Narrative Threads which contains two of my Spirit Books.

Here's what gallery owner Alicia Bailey has to say about Susan E. King's work:

Susan E. King moved to Southern California in the 1970's to be part of the Feminist Studio Workshop where she started writing and making artists' books. It is in the field of artists’ books where she is best known, as both studio practitioner and educator/mentor. Less known is her ongoing interest in the making of ephemera: small printed postcards, invitations, broadsides, things intended to be of the moment; to live for a day.

King grew up in the South, in a family of storytellers. Southern oral tradition and history, and writing about place often appear in her work. Her interest in ephemera came from playing with albums of postcards, sent to and from her relatives in rural Kentucky in the first half of the twentieth century.

Later, while others kept journals and diaries, King wrote letters. She recalls that she was encouraged to keep a stamp collection, but found she was more interested in the postmark, and the journey it implied, than the stamp itself.

Alongside her learning the craft of letterpress printing came an interest in the history of printing, where she discovered the world of printed ephemera. Inspired by Jaime Robles' Valentines, Dikko Faust's subscription postcard series and the playful mail art of the Fluxus artists, King created a series titled Support Living Artists! that included 35 cards mailed in the same size envelope, celebrating and elaborating on the merits of holidays and events King considers noteworthy.

Moving from the Los Angeles area back to her native Kentucky has coincided with an interest in photography. She has begun work on a new series titled Photo Bio, offset printed cards sent to friends and colleagues.

“Although I may do a lot of research for each piece, the activity is more akin to making a drawing than an entire painting. Ephemera allows me freedom and the ability to express an idea more quickly than making a book.

And about Narrative Threads:

Where Spirits Blend by Sharon McCartney

The works in Narrative Threads utilize visible threads (as opposed to the structural/functional use of thread for binding) to tell their tales. Of intimate scale, the narrative each presents take a back seat to the tactile invitations extended by color, texture and sheer loveliness.

These works are appealing in their hand-mindedness, even the wall works not designed for handling tempt the viewer to touch their surfaces, enlivened as they are by the sewn line. All in all, a very satisfying endeavor and I look forward to continuing to work with several of the artists included in the exhibition.

The exhibition is on view through August 2. There is an online catalog, as well as printed one to order, for Narrative Threads. May I just add that the two Spirit Books are priced as reasonably as possible ($550. each). If you ever considered purchasing one, give these a thought and support Abecedarian.


Debbie said...

I have been following your blog for a short time but didn't know about your spirit books until they were referred to by Mo Crow. Having found them I am in awe, they are exquisite, did I read somewhere you may be producing a book about them.
Anyway I expect you have heard of the this artist, but just in case. I read about him in The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane, here is a link to his work
http://www.bibliotecadelbosque.net/la-biblioteca-del-bosque/ his name is Miguel Angel Blanco, an art work in its own right, it just trips of the tongue.
I have been collecting twigs, shells and such like since I was a child and would like to have a go at something like this myself but don't wish to do so if you would object. Whatever I produce certainly won't be copying yours I am not up to that.

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord said...

It has been painfully hot and humid here so this is the first day in a while that I have wanted to spend any more than the most necessary time in front of the computer. So a response in the dry air.

I just ordered Robert MacFarlane's book from the library and looked up Miguel Angel Blanco—amazing.

And feel free to work as you will with your collections and spirit and whatever inspiration you take from the Spirit Books. If you enter into it in the spirit of the Spirit Books, then it will be very much from you and a testimony of your relationship with the natural world. Please share photos with me.

And yes, I am working on a Print On Demand book of the Spirit Books. Hoping to have it out in the fall.

in good spirit

Debbie said...

Thanks Susan, its been very hot for us Brits as well and we are not used to it, I have been getting very little work done, I will share photos but it may be not for sometime. My daughter is staying with us and is very into herbal teas so I am also hoping to make some little tea books.
First to find a shop where I can buy some decent paper, both our art shops closed down in the last year, sadly small shops are suffering badly in the present economic climate.

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