New Expressions of a timeless Object
The five hundred volumes chosen by publisher and teacher Steve Miller to appear in these lushly illustrated pages represent the unlimited creative possibilities for interpreting an enduring form. They capture the range and depth of the craft today, from single sheet bindings to collage, flip, and pop-up works. In this digital age, "handmade books are being recognized as vessels of humanized content," says Miller, "touchstones of what we are as people."
The diverse sampling of handmade books in this richly photographed survey offers an exciting, contem¬porary presentation of an eternal subject. Whether narrative, sculptural, or solely functional, the five hundred volumes – selected by the esteemed publisher and teacher Steve Miller from thousands of submissions – demonstrate the incredible scope of the craft.
To qualify for inclusion, each piece had to function like a book, but a number of the works also curl, hang, or swirl. While there are rectangular volumes, you'll find others that are circular, shaped like a house, and in completely abstract forms that will delight the eyes and imagination. Fine craftsmanship, of course, was another important consideration and is evident in this collection, whether it's a finely tooled leather cover embellished with traditional gold leaf lettering or an exotic Ethiopian binding where a netting of waxed linen weaves together to create a show-stopping open spine. The content varies as well. Some of the pages are blank, while others contain elaborate, content-driven narratives. If he had to select one volume that embodies the inspiration behind this collection, Miller would choose Shanna Leino's Dear Ben Brown Eyes, a treasure that fits into the palm of a hand. "The piece possesses an energy that radiates from centuries of devotion to the book form," he writes. "It's the work of a bookmaker who loves the craft and is deeply experienced in the practice of it."
1st edition, 2008, Pb, 418pp, full colour throughout, 20.3 x 20.3 cm