That realization sat me down and forced me to be still for a moment. It was a good long moment. I sipped tea and thought about what that really meant. For me, someone who would not dare call herself an artist for many years, it's rather big.
Well, the gallery isn't that big, but the idea of my work being "featured" in a space where other humans will encounter it, pass it, maybe even stop and look at it, that's pretty darn BIG.
Why is this a big deal? Well, the three women in that department (Kathy Walkup, Julie Chen, and Lara Durback) were the ones who got me hooked on making books as an art form and who ushered me into the world of binding and letterpress. After graduation, I worked for Julie at her press for almost a year and learned a TON from her.
So when Lara asked me if I'd be willing to show my work in the Pocket Gallery, I was thrilled and honored and proud. Let's face it, I put a full day of work into each of these books and while they are by no means perfect books, they are pieces of me -- each one an artifact of my mood that day, a glimpse into my creative process, and a little bit of my soul in full blown color. And of course I said, YES!
The lighting was low and soft and as I made my way to each case, slow and silent tears streamed down my cheeks. It was perfect.
Thanks to Keri’s wonderful idea to include QR (quick response) codes for each book, the labels were printed beautifully so that viewers can access the videos as they look at the books.
I don’t know if anyone will ever ask me to exhibit my books in a gallery again, but it doesn’t really matter. This show feels important to me and now that I’ve seen what my books look like as works of art, I’m more energized to keep making them each week.
If you are in the local area, the books will be available for viewing until the end of the month (and maybe even until mid October). Head on over to the Mills College Book Art Department and have a stroll.