Today, I was so very lucky to be invited to the RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) Library Special Collections archive in the Dale Reading Room. Professor Jan Baker, who has been teaching Book Arts in the Graphics Department for more than 30 years, pre-pulled some incredible “gems”(artists’ books) especially for me and a young man from Japan studying at RISD on a one-year fellowship. Those that stood out for me most were: Karen Kunc’s “Trace”, Antonio Frasconi‘s “A Sunday in Monterey” and another book of his woodcut prints, Karli Frigge‘s “Alchemy & Marbling”, Donna and Peter Thomas‘ “Paper from Plants “- a collection of US papermakers’ sheets made from homegrown fibers, “Heisei no Shifu”- 3-volume boxed set of all washi; all of Japan’s handmade papers- and I could go on and on… Needless to say, these special books are not to be circulated, and I can’t show you…because no photographs allowed…(however, I will post photographs of “Heisei no Shifu” in another blog..since I own my own copy!)
The encore or rather the 2nd and main reason for going to the RISD Library was to view the 30-year retrospective of Jan Baker’s students’ artists’ books. Close to 1400 creative pieces in book form, all handmade, simply astounding. Something for everyone…I have to say being from Rhode Island, I related most to Suzzi Cozzens’ (made when she was a student..she’s now faculty) very large book about Rhode Island; made me LOL….(Don’t worry….I did it quietly; this was a library…).
Here’s another blog written from a RISD insider.