The University of Puget Sound’s Artists’ Books Collection is live!! WOW what a fun project to have completed. As an avid bookworm and visual artist, I was surprised I had not been introduced to this medium before but now these books often run through the back of my mind. When I started working on the artists’ books project, it was just a job that I felt extremely lucky to be enjoying. However, as I opened box after box of these amazing works, I became utterly lost in the minds of these creators. Sometimes art feels very far away and unattainable, beautiful yet impersonal. Not with these books. In handling these works and searching for information surrounding them, I became acquainted with the artists behind them. I found inspiration for my own art in every volume I encountered! I now have a list of my own ideas and topics to create books around and I have been exploring book binding as a result as well. My forever favorite will be the first book I was introduced to, Local Conditions by Chandler O’Leary. OH MY GOSH. When that book was pulled as an example, I was simply stunned; I had no idea a book could look so very unlike a book, and still be a book. Working and interacting with these incredible works of art for the last six months has been nothing short of a privilege and a boon to my own work.
Topics in the collection range from recipe collections to a history of Jewish wedding rings to environmental, political, and social outcries and so much more. There are a number that explore the world of typography, something I had no idea was a thing people even did. Some books were almost too big to fit into the light box while others were so small I had to crouch down and actually get inside the light box to get a decent shot.
I highly recommend you get lost in this collection as soon as you can and also that you make an appointment with Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections to view them in person, when COVID restrictions are lifted. In the meantime browse away! You will not regret it and you will come away with a greater appreciation for all the things a book can be.
– By Kendyl Chasco, Library Assistant & Photographer, Studio Art ‘22