the process: Nine books made while a Visiting Artist at the
American Academy in Rome, December 2005
During the month of December, 2005 I was a Visiting Artist at The American Academy in Rome. My studio was 24′ square with a large skylight and sleeping loft, from which the photo at the left was taken.
It was a productive time – I created the pieces shown below. Although I bring a limited amount of supplies with me when I travel, most of my work is done with materials I gather during my exploration of the area.
Having a month to work at the Academy was a rare and wonderful experience. I am grateful for the opportunity.
Terme, above, began with a copper printing plate of the baths (terme) of Caracalla. From a small book on the ancient terme of Rome found in a street vendor’s bookstall, I took a map of locations of all the baths and drawings and diagrams of Caracalla’s baths. At the Capitoline Museum I found reproduction coins of the heads of some of the emperors who had built baths, including Nero and Constantine. The twelve pieces, 6.5″ x 4″ each, are unbound, wrapped in the paper showing the printed copper plate.
The piece above, Fault Lines, was created from a single large sheet of paper bought in the Piazza Navona. The paper, crinkled and painted like camouflage, is sold to be used as the “ground” beneath creche displays. There are 24 pages, (12 back and front), unbound, 8.75″ x 9.25″ each. Reminiscent of landsat photographs, the individual pages have been enhanced with metallic pigment and lettering. Below are a detail and a double page spread.
A book on Trastevere, found at the Porta Portese flea market, served as the of source for architectural drawings, maps and etchings. The black and white images, incorporated into this concertina book, were toned and emphasized with copper leaf and copper foil. The book, called Trastevere, is 6.5″ x 4.75″ closed and 6.5 x 38″ open. There are images on back and front.
Labeling Women uses a variety of window and door frames cut from a piece of decorative paper to reveal glimpses of women selected from the art of Rome. They are “labeled”, correctly and incorrectly, with terms used to refer to women including sister, mother, mistress, dame, etc.
A handmade book covered with marbled paper and silk spine house the 6″ x 5″ book which has 40 pages.
Chapel uses photos from the Sistine Chapel in a handmade book covered with suede. The collaged pages are textured and the images are sanded, waxed and enhanced with gold leaf. The book is 6″ x 5.75″ with 60 pages.
One Square Mile is based on a presentation by Allan B. Jacobs, “Public Benefit: Places for Life” at L’Amalgame a conference jointly sponsored by the Commission per gli scampi culturali era Italia e Stati Uniti, the American Academy in Rome and the Associazione Italiana Fulbright and published by INU Edizioni. It compares the number of “intersections” in major cities in one square mile. It is a modified concertina form, 4.5″ x 4″ closed and 4.5″ x 20″ open with images on back and front.
Four black-on-black rubbings were made from the fragments embedded in the courtyard of the Academy. They are housed in a small portfolio, 11.5″ x 9″, and called Fragments.
A 2.75″ x 2.75″ x 1.5″ wooden box rubbed with copper became an homage to Palladio. A sheet of paper with latin text was used as the background for vignettes of his architectural masterpieces. The open book is 1.75 x 26″. There is a transfer to fresco on the box lid, leather inside the box and a copper medallion on the book cover. There are images on back and front.
A piece of hand marbled paper reminiscent of the river flowing through Rome became Tiber. It is a concertina book 5″ x 4″ closed and 5″ x 25″ open with additional marbled paper on the back and a metallic leather cover.