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That Milksnake Story

Alicia Bailey -That Milksnake Story
Alicia Baliey-That Milksnake Story

I have some beautiful papers from Cave Paper that they call “skins” – it is translucent and crackly, a good fit for the inclusion of snakeskins, which I also have a supply of and a fondness for. There is a single sheet structure that I have seen referred to as a maze or a meander book but the reference I like most (and that I can’t find now that I’m looking) is a snake book (I think Scott McCarney calls it this). An obvious structure choice for this book. –

Another trigger was a book I had in the studio Reptile Medicine and Surgery by Douglas R. Mader with beautiful reproductions of reptile anatomy.

Alicia Bailey - That Milksnake Story 3

After folding and cutting the paper, I painted with gouache on both front and backsides. I have lately been using a writing technique similar to those used for found poetry. My texts do not necessarily conform to poetic form but the guidelines are similar. Text on the frontside was created from an article published in the July 3, 1930 Walnut Grove Tribune – a bit of folklore (what might today be called an urban myth) about the milksnake.


That Milk Snake Story In the pine barrens I caught a large snake black-and-white serpent immune to the bite of any The sight started a line of snake stories. A cow that suddenly went dry watched, she would go to the far pasture low invitingly A snake would creep out of the grass milk her. When the snake was killed quarts of milk gushed out. The cow pined away and died. A sad story; true as most.

On the backside is a text written from various encyclopedia entries, again, using found poetry methods. I digitally formated my writings to fit this book then laser transferred it to the bookpages.

The oviparous milksnake whose clutches average ten starts with three, or four or even twenty more in humus or under rot eight weeks later the precocial young need precious little more (brightly born they dull with maturity) even the largest of milk snakes could no more milk a cow than could a bird

For the cover I sandwiched some snakeskin bits in between 2 circles of mica and, because the mica is transparent, it is possible to see through the mica to the image painted on the first page of the book.


The book when closed measures 7x6x3/4 inches, and extends open to 7×22 inches.

This final images shows the page orientation etc. of the book, and that it remains really, a one sheet structure.

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