At their initial brainstorming session, Jill stated her interest in doing some hand rolling and printing over some sort of preprinted imagery. Deborah was keen to focus more on writing and to try the meander format for a book. It was a match made in Lead Graffiti heaven. With the Chesapeake Bay as the subject, Jill dove into looking for suitable maps, and Deborah zeroed in on navigating the Chesapeake with meandering words.
The dictionary defines meander as a rambling, winding, indirect course or journey. The meander binding format for this book became the point of departure for the theme of the poem, as well as the arrangement of the words and illustrations.
Before you open the book, take in the sunshine-and-shadow watery surface of the paste paper cover. The opening compass initially orients you, while the textures of the materials and the visuals urge you to engage with nature.
Large, hand-inked wood type spells out the poem's title and spills out over a digitally printed mariner's map of the Chesapeake Bay. Sewn within the paper valley of each spread, handmade Sekishu paper forms a virtual misty haze over the map of the Chesapeake, focusing your eyes on what is near at hand and visible: reeds, crab, oysters, fish, shark teeth, and various birds.
Letterforms hover, merge and wrap around edges. The surface of the water on the opening pages is transformed into birds on the wing by the close of the poem. And each time you amble through this watery journey, you see something new.
FYI : both artists lifted each other's bookmaking game and contributed amazingly equally to all aspects of the book—words, paste paper, printing and binding. Together, Jill and Deborah merged their interests and ideas to create a handsome book of visual and physical textures that is definitely touch-worthy.
BOOK : Chesapeake Meander
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