Woods Woman

Woods Woman is an artist book which I created in response to the environment at Blue Mountain Center, in the Adirondacks in New York where I received the gift of a month to work on my art in the Summer of 2013.

At BMC this use of the phone and internet is discouraged to protect the residents' time to create, but residents can get on-line as necessary in a room behind the kitchen and office. In that room there is a small, simply carved and painted statue of the Virgin Mary. To my mind she became the protector of internet access, which in those environs is sometimes elusive.

She also became the foundation for my instinct to make a book in response to the lush beauty and aching fragility of the environment in the Adirondacks, and – by extension – to the changing environment we all are living in. I took photographs of her, and I removed the Christian crosses painted on her clothing using imaging software. I replaced these crosses with logos of organizations which promote environmental activism.

I designed her in segments which became the pages of the book. On the back of each segment is text built by highlighting phrases from dictionary definitions related to "earth" and "forest". Here is a short sample:

Part, after four weeks, a land mammal.
The survivors landed safely ashore.
There seemed to be more problems than ever.
A state of sleep
as affected by birds from
the planet on which we live,
the present abode of all humankind
the only planet known to support life,
essential to the substance of the human body.

The undergroud lair of badger or fox.

For the binding of the pages I used a version of a technique suggested to me by Beth Thielen, a wonderful artist book maker visiting BMC at the time. The pages are held together with plastic covered copper wire and the construction is very sturdy. As envisioned in my first impulse, the book/sculpture was installed in the woods near my studio.

My only disappointment is that my original impulse was towards making 3 woods women. But there was not enough time!