Jan Ward (artist) and Abir Biswas (scientist)

Geologist Abir Biswas explains his research that inspired Bound/Unbounded by Jan Ward.
Artist Jan Ward draws attention to Abir Biswas’ research on mercury cycling and vegetation recovery after the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption.   Her artist book, Bound/Unbounded, was made during the 2020 COVID19Pandemic and political turmoil in US politics.  The book focuses on her artistic process amid distractions.

Bound/Unbounded is a two-part work: one is an altered Book of Knowledge with the artist’s notes and musings; the other is an accordion-book with prints of water color images of Mt. St. Helens before the 1980 eruption, through the 1980 eruption to the re-birth of plants and wildlife. In her artist statement, Jan Ward wrote, “Bound/Unbounded represents nearly a year of collaboration, research, and struggle to become. Like a 1,000 piece puzzle, Bound/Unbounded contains bits and pieces of the Book of Knowledge, journal entries, repurposed artwork, rants, digressions, self-encouragement, research, excuses, riffing, soapboxing, outrageous irresponsible blather and more. Initially dozens of stories swirled in my head; it truly was a hot chaotic mess and me without a pair of tweezers to tease out one story. It was mightily challenging to create and maintain a consistent thought while living in a world that appeared to be coming apart at the seams. Thankfully, Abir Biswas (my scientist collaborator) assured me repeatedly throughout the year he did not have any pre-conceived expectations about the work. I was free to turn over every stone. A blessing indeed, because one day things took a turn. My exertions, rather than following the prescribed plan (a single book about Abir’s science focus) became something ‘other’.”

Size: Book: 9.75″ x 6.5″ x 4″; Girdle case: 15.5″ x 3.5″ x .5″; Girdle case accordion book: 2.5″ x 38.75″.

Materials: Bound/Unbounded book: Recycled Children’s Encyclopedia, ephemera, repurposed artwork, written materials, leather belt.
Girdle Bound Accordion book: leather cover, mat board, specialty paper, copy paper.

Book Structure: Altered codex book and accordion girdle book.

Printing/Production Method: Computer generated print, hand written, and mono-printed.

Edition: Unique

Year Created: 2020-21

Jan Ward is a book artist living in Edgewood, Washington. Her unbridled exploration and use of all manner of materials, techniques, and methods often leads her work to the edge. Her interests are in uncovering, exposing, and disentangling the chaos of life so things can be reexamined and appreciated.

Jan Ward: e-mail:

Abir Biswas, Ph.D. has been a Member of the Faculty at The Evergreen State College since Fall 2010, often teaching geology and soils at introductory and advanced levels. He has worked with a number of undergraduate research students during that time, primarily studying the cycling of the toxic trace element mercury, as well as the cycling of the nutrient phosphorus. They have primarily been working in forests in the Pacific Northwest, and most recently at Mt. St. Helens. For the next 18 months, Abir will work as an administrator at Evergreen, serving as an Interim Academic Dean.

Abir Biswas, Ph.D.,: e-mail:; website: