Just because Jody Williams‘ books are small doesn’t mean they aren’t a huge undertaking. Each year this Minneapolis-based book artist devotes time to one large-scale project, in addition to smaller projects, and her teaching commitments at Minnesota Center for Book Arts and Minneapolis College of Art and Design. The Walker is showing her 1998 piece, In Here / Out There as part of the Text/Messages: Books by Artists exhibition, and she was kind enough to stop by last week-end’s Free First Saturday to show families mock-ups of this book as well as another one, called Word for Word inspired by one of my favorite word games, Scrabble.
Here are some interesting tidbits about Jody’s work:
- She likened In Here / Out There to our experience of living in Minnesota during winter…you want to go outside but you can’t because of the cold, but staying inside and in your head for so long can be a dangerous thing.
- The ladder made of linen thread was glued together and held between 2 wax sheets of paper while it adhered together.
- In Here / Out There was reproduced 65 times over, to produce an edition. Similar to printmakers, book artists make multiples so they can sell their work and make it accessible to a larger number of people.
- Sometimes Jody makes her own paper and prints her own designs onto paper before using it to make a book (which makes the value go up). The black designs on the red paper in In Here / Out There were printed using a technique called linoleum block printing.
- Despite the fact that Jody’s books are usually contained within a box, she admitted to not liking her college architecture class because there were “too many rules.” She prefers to make her own rules!
- Her Scrabble-inspired book Word for Word is meant to be used as you play the game. She made her own letter-pieces for this project. How are they different from the ones you use to play with?