September 21, 2009 at 9:51 pm (art, books)

It’s funny for me to think that there was a time several years ago when I absolutely swore I would never make artist’s books, because I really felt that the whole medium had become this ghetto that women artists for whatever reason gravitated to, only to have relatively few people/institutions collect them… and in that way it was a sort of self-perpetuating ghetto. Why would I ever choose to put myself in a category that is so routinely ignored and overlooked? Why would I basically go out of my way to make my life and my work so much harder than it is already? But I’ve done an about-face on that as I have with crafts and sewing – it’s not so much that I don’t care about that ghetto (I think it definitely exists and is very real) but more like I want to exploit it, to examine it in some sort of way, and maybe… I don’t know… report back? Do something interesting with it?

I’m not sure. But this is the conversation I’ve had in my head over and over today as I bound and re-bound a book, trying to get it just right. It took 12 hours… of course not continuous work, but setting it up, waiting for glue to dry, tweaking it, cutting this or that, waiting for more glue to dry, and so forth. Frustrating as hell. And yet I’m leaving the situation wanting to make more books and thinking that craft-based projects and books may be what I spend the rest of the year doing.

Pictures soon. I just have to get the binding just right…

p.s. sculptures out of paper, too. I was thinking about that all night after I wrote this.



  1. Andrew Thornton said,

    I think that your concerns are totally valid. But at the same time it’s important to step away from deep self-analysis and just make. I firmly believe that the making of things speaks a language to our muscles, our movements, to our very souls that can’t be totally comprehended until after you’ve finished. When we create restrictions, we only limit ourselves.

  2. amywilson said,

    Ok, I hear that, but I think I was talking more about practical limitations – the kind of limitations that come in with “I have X many hours to spend in the studio this week and X amount of money to spend on supplies… so what am I going to make?” I have to necessarily limit myself just because of those sort of conditions – and that’s not even mixing in stuff like responsibilities I have to shows I’ve agreed to be a part of or whatever. I’ll also mention that I tend to find a certain kind of freedom within limitations – the idea of doing 800 variations on a theme is more interesting to me than doing 800 “unique” compositions. It may just be another way of looking at how to make work.

  3. sarahnicholls said,

    I think it’s possible to make books without identifying yourself as part of a ghetto. There are plenty of people who are artists, who have made some books, among other things.

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