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Wind, Water, Stone

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For this piece I created a series of three books that, although they result in one boxed set,  I worked on for three weeks during the Book a Week projects. The three books are made with  porcelain book covers I made years ago but never found the right content for.  The text use some monoprints printed off plexiglass onto lightweight Japanese paper using an etching press.

Covers:

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Years ago I wanted to work more with clay so I took a class with a Denver area ceramicist, Mary Cay, at the Art Students League of Denver. Mary works with porcelain which really is the only clay body it makes sense to use for bookcovers. Fired to high temps,  porcelain is strong and makes a wonderful sound when it touches itself. I spent most of the workshop on these three small sets of book covers. We used a clay body called Zen, so I imaged with covers markings that seemed zenlike. After multiple firings the covers were put on the shelf. For years . . .

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Content:

Octavo Paz is a favorite poet of mine . . . I have a text based on his poem Wind, River, Stone which, I hasten to point out, is not a real translation but a re-wording of his poem that better suits this project than the more accurate translations that have been done. This one is more casual.

Water hollows stone,

wind scatters water,

stone stops the wind. Water, wind, stone

Wind carves stone,

stone’s a cup of water,

water escapes and is wind.

Stone, wind, water.

Wind sings in its whirling,

water murmurs going by

unmoving stone keeps still.

Wind, water, stone.

Each is another and no other:

crossing and vanishing through their empty names:

water, stone, wind

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I selected portions of the monoprints, cut and folded them to size. I imaged the text via laserprint transfer on the back of the pages. As the pages are lightweight the text shows through as a gray rather than a black.

Each book contains one of the three first stanzas with the final stanza repeating in each book.

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I then made individual boxes for each; the labels on each box are created by laser transfer onto the monoprint scraps; those three boxes are in turn housed in one larger box, the front cover and spine label produced in the same way.

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I am very satisfied with the interplay between the weightiness and density of the porcelain covers and the lightweight, airiness of the text blocks. Both materials are fragile in entirely different ways from the other.

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Owned by University of Denver, Penrose Library, Special Collections.