Karen Hanmer, Glenview, Illinois

The Book of Origins


Structure, colors and onlays represent key themes and images in the text. Dirt clinging to the roots of a tree that fell to the then aquatic world through a tear in the sky was used to create land on the back of a wise and revered turtle. Dual panels represent the twin brothers who divided the new land. Antlers represent the final duel between the brothers. Sewn boards binding covered in full goatskin. Endsheets of brown, blue and green Spanish marbled paper. Leather joints. Acrylic decorated edge. Goatskin onlays. 8-1/2 x 5 x 1 inches. Bound 2005

Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones

book 2

Design inspired by the theme of duality woven through Ficciones, and by Borges' reminiscence of childhood, "I used to stop for a long time in front of the tiger's cage to see him pacing back and forth. I liked his natural beauty, his black stripes and his golden stripes. And now that I am blind, one single color remains for me, and it is precisely the color of the tiger, the color yellow." Sewn on tapes laced into boards, covered in full yellow goatskin. Back pared onlays of pale yellow and black. Textured pale yellow endsheets, leather joint. Sewn endbands of black and yellow silk. Acrylic edges. 8 1/4 x 5 x 1 inches. Bound 2006.

Karen Hanmer's books and installations fragment and layer text and image to mirror the experience of personal and cultural memory. Her artists' books are meant to be handled; the intimate scale, choice of materials, and posture and gesture required to view each piece evoke the experience of looking through a photo album, diary, or the belongings of a loved one. However, her works often take playful forms, and many include tongue-in-cheek text. She exhibits widely, and her work is included in collections ranging from Tate Britain and Yale University to Graceland. Hanmer holds a degree in Economics from Northwestern University, and her binding instructors include Scott Kellar, Monique Lallier and Priscilla Spitler. She is Exhibitions Chair for the Guild of Book Workers, and serves on the editorial board of The Bonefolder, a peer-reviewed online book arts journal.