Artists' Books

Hey there team. It has been a crazy two weeks. When I was in a studio lecture series class this past semester I heard about a workshop sponsored by the art department with 12 students from Liverpool. Our professor said it would be for 2 weeks where we would learn about book making techniques, various types of printmaking, and letterpress. I immediately was interested and I signed up to be participate. So that is what has been going down the past little while. Last week we had demos to learn how to use BYU's letterpress machinery at their new book binding studio north of campus, we learned how to fold paper in interesting ways and how to make use of certain book making tools, and then we learned how to use the lithography press. There were about 25 BYU artists participating, 3 faculty members, and then the 12 from an art college in Liverpool.
Planning our projects (I am the one in the front with the awesome posture- Emily would be ashamed- and the cute blouse of Lindy's)

Our project was entitled "Mapping the West." We were given a fold up paper map of the Grand Staircase Escalante area in southern Utah, which was to be the inspiration of our artwork. To more fully comprehend the map, we went on a 3 day camping trip to the area to introduce our Liverpudlian friends to the "wild wild west." It was awesome. We packed up in 5 big vans and it felt like a big family road trip. It was so interesting to introduce the English people to certain things about our culture that seem so basic to me. I think it is hard to appreciate where you live until you can see the perspective of someone else. They were so excited about things like red rocks, cheap ice cream, and the ability to just drive forever. Most of the students were "mature," their school is centered around making education available for middle aged people. Which isn't what I had expected but it ended up being really neat to learn from them and hear about their families and homes and what it has been like to grow up in the UK.

Devil's Garden

Where we had dutch over dinner in Boulder.
This man told us all about the Escalante area and showed us some sweet maps.

The Calf Creek waterfall in Box Canyon.

Experimenting with color.

Anyway, we got back from the trip and had 3 days to make our own art book about the map.
Helping JJ with his project.

I chose to use letterpress but not printmaking because most people wanted to use the print lab facilities and it was a little tight in there (plus I have no idea how to really use that stuff so it would have been a quick crash course). I decided to make a paper quilt kind of an idea.

This is the project description I gave to be posted on the Liverpool college blog:

"When we were in the Escalante area we were shown a map of Utah from 1868 that had a big empty white circle of where Escalante was. This area had been unexplored and left blank. This part of Utah was one of the last places in the US to be explored and made known to the rest of the world. I don’t really like that because to me Utah is the greatest place in the world. My ancestors found Utah to be a safe haven, they worked the land, my parents met here, and I did my growing up in Utah.
For my project I have been researching Utah maps. I have found a collection that spans from 1782 to present day. I want my project to illustrate the evolution of mapping Utah. At first I planned to show these maps creatively in layers or some way to chronologically show the history. But I realized that I don’t want the focus to be on the world discovering Utah. I want it to also show that Utah has always been here and why it is important to me, whether it is mapped on the world or not. So instead I have used the old maps I found as a springboard to my own exploration of what Utah has meant and does mean to me; poppies, rainbow arch, Lake Powell, the tabernacle, flowering pear trees on my street, Mormon temples, yellow roses, the lamp-posts in my city, my home. I hope my project will show how long the process has been for recognition, but if not- at least I was reminded of why I love Utah."

Ok it sounds a little cheesy, but I really do like Utah and since I have been at the Y, I felt like I have had to defend it so much. After spending so much time here with the Liverpudlians and having them so interested in Utah history and Alpine and the pioneers- I wanted to do something that would make this place personal.

So after 3 days of making our books, we opened an exhibit at the Y. It will be up until May 29 and then we will pack everything up and it will be sent to Wirral Metropolitan College for a show at their school.Some of my supporters for my very first exhibit.

Some of the other BYU students and our professor's son (if you want to make a new friend, teach him how to embroider. That is what we did the whole way back from southern Utah and then suddenly Ethan and I were fast friends and exhibit buddies.)

So if anyone is around BYU in the next month, come check out Gallery 303 for some crazy cool books and boxes and paper prints and letterpress goodness.


emily snyder said...

you are absolutely incredible!!!
thanks for the updates. your entry for the liverpool blog is NOT cheesey, just real.

maybe we should go SEE your exhibit in Liverpool!!

SJ said...

Impressive Rebecca. Can we please go see this again when we are not so rushed. I might just go on my own this week if you cant go. I loved it. I totally bought into your cheese. Utah pride is what its all about!