Literature List for February

Before I present this month’s literature list, I want to remind you that the Spring Sale with a discount of 50% on all books is still going on at Büchertiger Studio and Press. Please help find good homes for them!

This month’s list is a little longer than last one’s but as per usual I am far behind my own reading list, and can’t say much about the books yet. I am currently reading Booktrek and very much like it. It is easier to read than Johanna Drucker’s Century of artists’ book, but there were already some aha!-passages, and I have  a growing understanding of some of the connections and terminology in the field.  – And I have not even read more than the introduction so far. I might do a more detailed review when (if!) I finish it.

There was a time when I laughed about people who shelved books in their cellophane wrapping. Well, at least I have not shelved the books as such, they are resting in an ever growing pile beside my reading chair. The pile does not denote the order in which I intend to read the books. It is the amount of books that I perceive as those that I am currently reading, and I have made some progress in most of them. 🙂 Every now and then I sort through this pile, place some books in the unread book shelf, finish some others, and some even get sorted into our library without having been read (to end).
The shelves just above and behind the left hand chair is our shelf of unread books, by the way, – the rest of our “library” is not as randomly sorted.

M. is quicker with reading and more consequent about reading one after the other – therefore the much smaller pile. This looks deceiving, though, most of his unread books are on the shelf and all in all I would say he is reading more than I am.

Well, finally here is the list:

  • Women’s Work. The first 20,000 years. Woman, Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barber I think I ordered this one because it was on a recommended reading list for a course in textile and embroidery art I would have liked to take. Unfortunately I don’t remember now who it was who recommended it. It looks interesting from the outside, but I must admit that I have not opened it yet.
  • Extra/Ordinary. Craft and Contemporary Art, edited by Maria Elena Buszek this one is literally still in its plastic cover. But it has a tank covered in knitting on the front page, so it gotta be good :-). If I remember correctly it was on the same reading list as the women’s work book by Barber.
  • In praise of beautiful books. Artists’ Books by British artists and Fine Presses, compiled by Caroline Mornement this is another of those picture books featuring various works of book artists. I have found some gems in there, and I enjoy looking at a gallery of books. But am not overly enthusiastic about the book. The selection of featured artists seems very random to me. Or rather, probably it isn’t. My suspicion is, that she mainly featured artists that she personally came in contact with. Important contributors to British book art are completely missing. (Actually all of  who I would deem important for where the book arts are going are missing from the book.) The editor writes in the introduction: “Once I had realised the existence of Artists’ Books I searched for books about them and found nearly all appeared to be published by and about Americans. Many are great books but I felt some attempt should be made to promote British artists to redress the balance.” I am not sure, that something needs to be “balanced” here. Artists influence each other, through their works which can be seen in exhibitions in persona but also through online shows, through direct exchange of words which nowadays takes place online, too. The Atlantic Ocean doesn’t seperate us as much as it maybe used to. I don’t want to say there are no regional “schools” or influences of (book) artists. But I could imagine that the books British or other European artists make do not fundamentally differ from the books American artists make. Because they are all part of one dialogue. It would have been an interesting task to investigate whether this assumption is true or not. But since many important British artists are not represented, this book doesn’t help finding in answer, unfortunately.
  • Reinventing Screen Printing. Inspirational Pieces by Contanporary Practitioners by Caspar Williamson sorry, this is another one I have not even opened yet. The title sounds promising, though.
  • Booktrek, Clive Phillpot great book so far (see above), but I am still stuck in the introduction and therefore cannot say much about it yet. It is another book that I saw on a recommended-reading-list, but I cannot remember which one it might have been, obviously a list for some kind of book art course…