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  • Manda Villarreal

Visit with art librarian Jamie Vander Broek: Julia Chen & other Art Books

This past Monday I had the chance to meet with Jamie Vander Broek, the art librarian at the Duderstadt library on North Campus. Not because I'm looking for more contextual sources, but because I'm a little stuck on what materials to use to construct my final books, how to print the images I want, etc. The direction I was going wasn't suiting the ideal look of my project, so I was in need of some inspiration. Jamie picked some great books for me to look at, and I'll go into to detail about them under their images below.

This book is by Catrin Morgan, called Studies for Studies. What drew me to this book was the precision and craft of the book. I also really enjoyed the way the zine or pamphlet on the front has its own embedded spot on the cover. It doesn't stick out, it was put there with thought of purpose and function. The non-traditional "brochure" style binding of the book allows for a grand entrance into the book which I like. I like that it has the sophistication and craft like any other book, but the construction method and use of hierarchy and form was very creative and different compared to others.

Another note on this, that this book was at the Women's Studio Workshop through a bookmaking residency program. Might have to look into this post-grad.

This was shown by Jamie (I forget the title and artist) just to show how simple the book construction can be. This was all made and printed using one single page. It was a good reminder, especially as I'm thinking of shifting my printing method to the risograph. I also liked the pop-up element, which I plan to include more in my book construction.

My favorite source, "What is a book?" by Julia Chen. This is the only source from the collection Jamie showed me that I will be using in my contextual discussion, and I will be replacing it with the source, 500 Handmade books. This source was such a great find for my thesis because it will help me justify the form of my project. What drew me to this book was the source of interaction it offered. I don't want my books to just be placed on a shelf like any other book, I want them to be an art piece that draws you in from the visuals and keeps you there from the information/context of the pages. I will use this source to answer questions like: What do physically printed books offer over digitally printed books? What does holding something in your hand, reserving time to intimately view this object, pacing yourself from page to page of information, allow for the reader's experience with my artwork? I could probably go on and on about how helpful this source is, but you can catch more of that in my actual thesis!

This source (also unknown) is really where my realization that screen-printing or risograph printing was my way to go for this project. These images in particular were screen-printed, but I love the way the same color creates a sense of unity between all the different images. The same color choice ties together the information of the book, regardless of the different depictions on each page. And because my books will have a monochromatic color scheme, this method just makes the most sense to me.

This source helped me think of ways to include the figures/images of the people from my family tree. (unknown source).

It's safe to say that my visit with Jamie was especially helpful. Now my next library visit may be to the zine archive in special collections, I'll fill you in on that later.

- Manda V.

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