Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Joseph Cornell Shadowplay Eterniday
Now that Joseph Cornell Shadowplay Eterniday (full title) is nearing completion I am able to stand back and look. Really look. From the outset I wanted to create a binding that evokes Cornell's work, not to just copy. It would have all to easy just to whack a couple of parrots on the cover in gold, perhaps turn one upside down (daring) and so on.
What I wanted to capture was more the theatre of Cornell's work within the book. To step away from the limitations of the cover, to expand and ignite interest.
Every time I pick the book up a new binding appears, the sound of the sand shifting, the text that is revealed at each turn of the head.
The back board invites us to play as a child would, tilting the book this way and that. Waves of sand cascade over the ridges, yet when the book stands the sand becomes a solid mass, the ridges cast shadows... we begin to play with light. The frame roughly cut, painted and sanded down many times is soft to the touch. We can run our hands over it. The unseen bumps and gentle undulations are sensitive perhaps warm. There are nooks and crannies, text and image is glimpsed, small sign posts.
The front board, with its half frame and map is perhaps more contemplative. The sand, with time, as it feeds from the yellow widow to the deep red window opens up to an eye. We let time slip through our minds eye. Again, there are those little echos and pointers. Read the book and the binding begins to give up its secrets.
Again our hands can understand what lies beneath the surface. Where the craft skills of the bookbinder need to be employed, then I have done what I can. However I have not sanded away the tiny imperfections, paper is layered, I have not hidden the working lines nor the intention that those layers make. The art is in the making but the appreciation is in the interaction with this book.
Taking time to interact with this binding is what it is all about. Yes it has a sculptural quality (but then so does every book) Yet. in the hand this book becomes alive and moves towards a new and ever changing theatre.
Cripes I go on a bit don't I...........