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  • Writer's pictureChiara

The intimacy of a book

Making Artist's books has been a significant part of my practice. With the conceptual debate (in my reading and personal experience) about the un/representable nature of trauma, making books is particularly poignant and challenging.

My first experiments were based on making a shard-covered book: I tried using greenware shards, bisque-fired shards and glazed shards. The glazed ones gave me the most crisp, clear edges and contrast between the glazed shards and the unglazed base. By using paper clay as both base and slip I was able to achieve a distorted, but usable set of covers.

I wanted a book small enough to fit in the palm of my hand and, as I have been leaning towards letting the fragments speak where words cannot, I used a soft bruised, but otherwise unmarked paper. At this scale the subtle marks in the paper are unreadable, so I will need to revisit the issue of book content and/or scale in the future.

I have since come across the work of Joanna Drucker who writes of the intimacy of a book and private-public paradox in the making of books by women in particular. It's a thought I want to dig into. I feel that there is a similar paradox in the private-public-performative nature of the meal table, particularly in the concept of a dinner-party. And who can think of a dinner party without referencing the iconic feminist work of Judy Chicago?!

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