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Bound Treasures

Bound Treasures

During crit week in May, students in a Bookbinding studio this spring shared a wide range of experimental takes on artist's books.

For her final Bookbinding studio project, Eva Liang 18 FAV made an elegant sketchbook with materials like real vellum and shark spine cartilage.

When the shark spine cartilage that Eva Liang 18 FAV purchased for her Bookbinding studio arrived in the mail, it “smelled like the ocean.” But within weeks, the sophomore had transformed it into an elegant (and odorless) sketchbook – one of the many experimental takes on artist’s books students shared during their final crit with instructor Jim DiMarcantonio 86 IL.

At the beginning of spring semester, DiMarcantonio urged students in the Printmaking elective to interpret the book form as wildly as possible. “Liberate yourselves from thinking [your idea] won’t work,” he said. “Bring in an idea and we’ll make it happen.”

Responding to the challenge, Madelyn Snow 17 TX (above right) made Mistresses, a beautiful boxed book of oil-on-acetate paintings (below) inspired by the original definition of mistress: “a woman in a position of authority or control.”

Aly Madison Quinlog MA 16 took a variety of leftover paper from DiMarcantonio and gave it an impressive “second life” in a book she made (below) to present a compilation of graduate work she produced in Teaching + Learning in Art + Design (TLAD).

“It’s amazing how unencumbered your mind is,” DiMarcantonio told her as students took a closer look at the cyanotypes, miniature books and other materials collected in her thesis project. “I don’t see much doubt in your work.”

“Your sense of materiality is beautiful,” noted fellow TLAD student Mara Tegethoff MA 16, whose own book of paintings on waxed mulberry paper inspired everyone in the studio to turn and explore its wordless pages together.

When they came to the end of the book, one student commended Tegethoff for “the journey that takes place [when] looking through these pages. The warmth of the pink on the last page helps complete that journey.”

Each page took her between eight and nine hours to complete, Tegethoff admits, adding that she found pleasure in discovering when a page felt “finished.”

“There’s something about the edge between spontaneity and planning that is exciting to work on.”

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