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fine art books by m. hill

mesquite

exhibition catalogue October 7 – November 22, 2013 Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery 500 S. Grand Central Parkway Las Vegas, NV 89155


designer’s Statement Welcome to a collection of unique artist books designed with the idea of seeing the Mesquite tree as a tool for surviving the angst of memory loss. These hand-crafted editions are the result of observing, drawing, printing, and weaving text within the non-traditional structure of the book. Much like a map, the patterns of the tree take us in, around, through and hopefully beyond. I spend a lot of time combining modern design with time honored traditions of hand-pulled printing and lettering. It stems from my background in graphic design and general devotion to fine art. Especially in reinterpreting the one thing that has single-handedly propelled the way humans think — the book.

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We live in exciting times. Since the invention of the printing press the book has been tied to function; it has been the server of information. Since the 1990s, the personal computer has released the book from servitude and thus set it free to become an artistic medium, and Mesquite; Exhibition Catalogue aesthetic object, and a work of art.� — Peter Thomas


mesquite books page 5

the gate

page 7

a vernacular

page 9

canopy

page 11

fear

page 15

change me

page 17

wayfind

page 21

let’s go

page 25

covenant

page 27

mnemosyne

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Left: The Gate Book One; True Treasure, 2013; accordion book with slots; calligraphy, hand-made paper, mica; 4.75 x 2 inches, opens to 13 inches Right: The Gate Book Two; Forgiveness, 2013; accordion book; calligraphy, bronze clay, block printing, hand-made paper; 3.4 x 2.5 inches, opens to 20 inches

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Mesquite; Exhibition Catalogue


the gate

These accordion (or concertina) book structures use a series of shaped paper folds linked together. The reader can view the book all at once or single out individual pages. The pages are embellished with calligraphic poetry and natural elements.

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Left: A Vernacular Book One; [‘miskit], 2013; coptic binding on letterpress pages; 10 x 9 inches Right: A Vernacular Book Two; Mesquite 2013; coptic binding on letterpress pages with die-cuts; 10 x 9 inches

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Mesquite; Exhibition Catalogue


a vernacular

The intent for these is to highlight the beauty of letterpress printing using ‘academic’ descriptions of the Mesquite tree. The etched quality of the typography is both definite and enduring—like the tree. Indeed, the Mesquite tree teaches us how to survive by adaptation.

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Unraveling, 2013; volvelle; letterpress, wood, hand-lettering; 11 inches in diameter

. . . the idea of the circle as a self-fulfilling loop — a trap, or a set of recurring, cyclical limitations . . . illuminates perhaps a darker view of it’s character.” — Jessica Helfand, Designer

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Mesquite; Exhibition Catalogue


canopy

A volvelle is a name for a type of circular book. This format allows the viewer to interact with the content by turing the dials. Inviting the layers of the dial to reveal and hide information at the same time. The wooden base has hand-lettering similar to the writing system shown on the exhibit pedestals. Turning the dials allows the user to interpret the phrase as an endless loop.

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Left: Fear Book One; A Chapbook, 2013; folded book with sewn signatures, screw bean seed pod, laser printed photos; 6 x 5 inches Right: Fear Book Two; Fear is a Liar 2013; side bound with mesquite stick, fused glass, calligraphy, pastel and paint paper; 6 x 8 inches

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Mesquite; Exhibition Catalogue


fear

There is a lot of intentional tension in these structures. The idea is to challenge traditional prayer books. Fear Book One; A Chapbook offers images of trunks and branches looking up, through and in some places blurred. The absence of words creates an contemplative silence. On the cover, a seed pod from the srcewbean mesquite tree resembles nature’s twisted version of an iconic cross.

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Mesquite; Exhibition Catalogue


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Change Me; Climbing the Tree, 2013; coptic stitching on illustration board, watercolor, pen and ink, torn paper; 15 x 9 inches

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Mesquite; Exhibition Catalogue


change me

At the end of life we seem to have one foot outside the body . . . as if we are in multiples spaces. Watching our father struggle with Alzheimer’s, I was frustrated as he continually asked about finding, sometimes begging, for a way out. I imagined that he could use his great engineering skills, gaze up into a tree and climb through his mind. The pages in this book show faces, hands, arms and legs twisted with the messy branches of a Mesquite tree. Hand-lettering is entwined limb by limb with the voices of angst in end-stage care.

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A Map, 2013; soft bound book with sewn signatures, exposed binding, letterpress, watercolor, colored pencil, pop-ups, die-cuts; 9 x 12 inches

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Mesquite; Exhibition Catalogue


wayfind

And what if you could make a map for someone to help them climb the tree inside their mind? This structure is a play on that abstract concept. Mind-mapping refers to a way of organizing your thoughts and branching them out to make connections and ultimately solve problems through finding that ‘ah ha’ moment. A Map is a simple soft bound book sewn across the spine with exposed stitching.

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Left: Let’s Go Book One; A Handbook, 2013; folded book with sewn signatures, exposed binding, paint, fused glass, seed pods; 8 x 6 inches Right: Let’s Go Book Two; Eyes as Blue as the Sky, 2013; coptic stitching on board, relief printing, letterpress, watercolor; 6 x 5 inches Following Page: Might as Well, 2013; side stitched book with hard cover, letterpress, die-cut, mica, natural objects; 8 x 4 inches

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Mesquite; Exhibition Catalogue


let’s go

These colorful structures reflect the abstract journey of passing up, through and out of the body. The Mesquite tree, and surrounding sky, are interpreted as ‘companions’ to help let go or otherwise release your world through the comfort of a good tree.

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Left: Covenant Book One; A Boxed Set, 2013; book box, cloth covered, handmade paper, pencil, letterpress, etched copper, natural objects; 8 x 6 x 2.5 inches Right: Covenant Book Two; The Equality of Salvation, 2013; hard bound screw post book, leather, cloth, laser printing, handmade paper, natural objects; 9 x 5 inches

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Mesquite; Exhibition Catalogue


covenant

History shows us that humans have always grappled with the concept of ‘salvation’ as ultimate survival. In these structures the aesthetics of religion and philosophy are represented by a box and a hardbound book with metal posts. The hard lines and modern typography have a sense of order that is so tight you feel trapped; questioning the authority of salvation. The message is inspired by the writings of 15th century Italian philosophers who debated both the Greeks and the Bible.

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Left: Mnemosyne Book One; The Grid, 2013; hard bound book, exposed stitching, letterpress, relief printing, pencil, watercolor; 9 x 6 inches Right: Mnemosyne Book One; River of the Mind, 2013; multiple signatures, simply sewn, hand prints woven in pages, calligraphy; 3 x 5 inches

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Mesquite; Exhibition Catalogue


mnemosyne

Mnemosyne is the Greek personification of memory. The titaness was the mother of nine muses. These books celebrate her myth and seek to inspire creative ways to help overcome the angst of memory loss. The pages are etched, layered and woven with hand-printed textures and calligraphy.

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Detail of a letterpress plate prepared at Somersault Letterpress Studio

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acknowledgements All books are narratives and all art is personal. It is the people we share time and space with that allow us to creatively express our life and our work. For all that I am most thankful to every one of my family. For their outstanding craftsmanship and dedication to the fine art of letterpress printing I thank Mitch and Amy at Somersault Letterpress here in Las Vegas. To the late T. S. Eliot I am thankful for your poetry. For introducing me to book arts I am thankful to Pat McCarty for her lessons and lunches. Finally, this exhibit would not be possible without the artists, designers and arts advocates of Nevada. Without their remarkable teamwork and talented collaborators, our art experiences would be less than . . .

I am grateful everyday for all of your friendship.

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Detail of an original drawing prior to plating

colophon design/text M.Hill, MFA, Graphic Design Š 2013 typography Headlines: Press Gothic/Fette Fractur Text:/Adobe Garamond letterpress printing Somersault Letterpress Studio production and binding Blurb Book Publishing exhibit location Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Mesquite; Exhibition Catalogue

Mesquite exhibit october 2013  
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