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Book Arts: Collection Highlights


This is the rotating mini-gallery that showcases different portions of Puget Sound's artist's book collection. The collection highlights are frequently updated and changed. We invite you to be part of our guest curator program. Each month we feature a selection of books selected by guest curators. If you are interested, check out our digital image collection and contact Collins Library Director, Jane Carlin:

February 2021 Guest Curator: Helen Edwards

Helen is an archivist and book artist and a member of the Puget Sound Book Artists organization and is currently working on a grant project for the University of Puget Sound. 

These six books from our collection were chosen by Helen to highlight these books in particular because of the interesting variations in structure and themes present. These books range from a matchbook with old romances printed into the matches to a honeycomb structure to a jar of salt with a poem about Lot's wife. The themes vary greatly and are important to the Puget Sound's areas of interest and concern, including the topics of immigration, LGBT+ issues, and personal narrative. Her hope was this would pique the interest of newcomers to the collection and encourage them to investigate the collection further.

Photo of an artist's book in black and yellow and shaped like a honeycomb.

Honey B Hive by Jessica Spring.

 "Handset, letterpress printed & bound by Jessica Spring in the Summer of 2013"--Colophon. Limited ed. of 66 copies, signed by the artist. "Honey B Hive is a sweet B specimen, displaying a hive full of Bs from the collection of vintage wood and metal type at Springtide Press. The book is handset, letterpress printed and bound between velour foil-stamped covers, all inspired by one very painful, then itchy, sting between the toes."--Sheet.

Consists of six leaves interleaved so when the book covers are spread open a honeycomb is formed.

Photograph of a letterpress image of an immigrant mother and daughter with a protest in the background

Migration by Lalo Alcaraz

Portfolio of 37 letterpress and silkscreen broadside prints. Title from title sheet. Place of publication from Booklyn Artists Alliance website. Limited edition of 140 portfolios. Includes sheet of artists' biographies. Each print has signature of the artist. "Migration is a phenomenon, not a problem--something that simply is. The freedom to migrate is our human right ... Migration is a topic that encapsulates so many other conversations, inspiring artists to explore modern day society as it relates to race and culture, gender and sexuality, class and representation, ecomomics and the natural world"--Introduction, verso of title sheet. "Organized by: Favianna Rodriguez & Roger Peet. Printed by: Roger Peet, Jesus Barraza, Patrick Cruzan, & Paul Mullowney"--Verso of title sheet. Prints and accompanying sheets produced on poster paper title sheet protected by loose sheet of glassine paper at end of portfolio are two blank poster paper sheets portfolio is black card stock paper with title, Migration NOW, on cover. Hook and loop button closure.

Photograph of an accordion folded book with different phrases from around the world for knocking on wood.

Knock on wood by MalPina Chan.

"Monoprint, mixed media. Mohawk cover, Japanese and Thai papers. Accordion binding. Variable open edition, signed by the artist. It has been commonly thought throughout history that knocking on wood is a superstitious action to ward off evil. This action encompasses both Pagan and Christian belief systems. The early pagans believed that knocking on wood was meant to drive out mischievous wood nymphs before they took an unfortunate suggestion and turned it into reality. Another explanation for this practice is that pagans believed spirits lived in trees. Knocking or touching the tree indicated seeking protection form the particular spirit and requesting good luck. Some Christians believe this superstition has to do with knocking on or touching the wooden cross and seeking the protection of God. One of the most interesting elements of this particular superstition is that regardless of nationality, religion, or geography, there seems to be a similar phrase in many cultures across the globe."

Photograph of a container of salt with a poem about Lot's wife in the nutrition facts label.

Mortal salt by Daniel R Smith and Karen Finneyfrock.

 "Karen Finneyfrock's What Lot's Wife Would Have Said (If She Wasn't a Pillar of Salt) is a moving poem which draws parallels between Lot's flight from Sodom and Gomorrah, the on-going AIDs crisis and the notion of gay marriage. Its consumer-driven presentation is based on the premise that a canister of salt is more beloved to Americans than any god damned poet... Digital print on repackaged corporate salt canister Image/Illustration Process: Digital remix of Morton's Salt label"--23 Sandy Gallery Booksellers' website. A container of Morton's Salt with the artist's digital remix replacing the original label. The poem starts in the nutrition facts label and continues around the container. Signed and numbered on the bottom of the container.

Photo of a book of matches with words relating to the author's past relationships printed on each of the black matches.

Old flames mismatched: true tales of extinguished love by Catherine Michaelis.

"Consists of two matchbooks identified as vol. 1 and vol. 2, letterpress printed on the cover and on each matchstick. The words on the matchsticks describe former friends and lovers. As matches are removed the text changes."

Photo of an old Bible that has needlepoint done on the pages to make words and images.​​​​​​

Testament by Diana Weymar.

Unique artist's book consisting of an altered book. Originally, copy of The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: translated out of the original Greek and with the former translations diligently compared and revised (New York : American Bible Society, 47th edition, 1866). "A note about making this piece. The thread, being stronger than the brittle paper, often cut into the paper while I was stitching with it. This created a dynamic situation in which I was applying the thread to a valuable material. I think this vulnerability is still present in the piece. The size alone is delicate. It can be cupped in the hands and, even when open, feel like the act of praying with open palms. The stitched text was selected for very personal reasons. Each fragment or piece offers spiritual respite from the challenges of everyday life."--Information provided by the artist. "This book belonged to my maternal grandparents - George and Roxanna Brakeley from Darien and new Canaan, CT - and was given to me by mother about five years ago. It was printed in 1866. It was not an object that I grew up with and my grandmother did not leave documentation with it. Without knowing how and why it was important to them or could be to me, I decided to 'rewrite' it with thread to infuse it with meaning and value to me. I think of this as the opposite process of redacting a text. I am adding words to words."--Information provided by the artist.