Why have I chosen to make artists’ books? Beginning with its cover, the artist’s book combines word, image, design, and craftsmanship. Within this allotted space, text and image appear in combinations often quite different than what is expected. Placed before us, the book also provides a tactile surface as we explore its contents, providing a personal experience, a one-on-one viewing that completes the encounter and makes it unique.
A book for me is like a journey; along the way the road twists and turns, and sometimes I get lost, but my aim is to arrive at my destination and enjoy the trip along the way. Curiosity, investigation, observation, objects, words or images, intuition, connections and creative application accompany me on my journey. Processes are part of the reason I choose to make books. I love the processes involved in researching, writing, designing, drawing, painting, printing, constructing and binding. Very often, one idea will lead to another, a yoga class and gardening led to Labyrinth
. An art auction produced Mirro
r. A further study of Japanese aesthetic uncovered Bamboo Hewer
, an old Japanese folk tale. My books are assemblages of thoughts, much like the collages I make, layering pieces of fact and fancy, bits of memory, objects mixed and matched, all added (and sometimes subtracted) to explore a theme. It becomes an adventure in searching for connections.
Technically, I work diligently at producing sound archival works. Craftsmanship is very important. I use fine papers, letterpress printing and the best of materials. My editions generally vary in size—from three or four to thirty—and from start to finish usually take from six months to a year to complete. Fully assembled, the final book brings together art, page surface, design and typography. The finishing touch is the slipcase or box, turning the book into a surprise package, full of secrets until opened.
My current work is a combination of drawing, printmaking, paint, collected reproductions, words and images placed together to create small intimate works of art. I have a thematic approach to subject matter, using sorted and chosen bits, feeling for a sense of design, initiating a structure limited to a designated space. The collages are my exercises; they stretch my mind, make me think, and allow me to create tiny worlds of isolated, floating objects. The book pages reflect these personal journeys. As an artist I am looking for the perfect connection of parts. As completed objects, they become art that is meant to be handled and enjoyed.
Statement courtesy of Carol Schwartzott
Library Fellows Award, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, USA (2002)