Artists' books and artists' books

Usually when I talk about artists' books, I'm talking about books that are conceived of as art objects in and of themselves. [Click on the link for a thoughtful meditation by book artist Angela Lorenz on the question "what is an artist's book?"...]

Sometimes, though, I work on a different, more literal kind of "artist's book" -- blank sketchbooks for local artists to use. As fulfilling as it is to create an artist's book from the ground up, it's also extremely satisfying to make a blank book for a talented artist, anticipating the work that will fill its pages.

I want to take a moment here to point you to the work of 2 local artists for whom I've made sketchbooks. Their work is very different from each other's, but equally stunning. Most recently I made one for Phil Blank, a Hillsborough-based artist. If you check out the 'Journal' section of his website, you can see what the pages of his sketchbooks end up looking like. Another artist I've been lucky enough to make sketchbooks for is Laura Murphy Frankstone, who chronicles her work on the blog Laurelines.

The sketchbooks I've made for them aren't dazzling or innovative -- they're standard Coptic-bound books with pages of watercolor or multimedia paper. But they are a total pleasure to create, for the meditative craft of it, for the satisfaction that comes with creating any solid, real, functioning thing, and for the knowledge of what will fill their inviting, blank spaces once the artists have made them truly their -- the artists' -- books.