The Vowels page spread plays with “Electric Company” standard shorts – the two talking mouths and words coming out – and there are silent “e” word changes: on the middle top left is “man” and on the top right page is “mane.” The page below is one of many where the arrangement on two pages is almost identical – leading the reader to compare two images – in this case the “Whales” and “Leviathan.” The page on the upper right is like other pages in that there is a central image which seems to be the main subject and the other images are all forced to relate. The lower right spread is an early page, you can see it’s part of the D’s. I enjoyed playing with the dolphins, setting them each on a slant. I also took liberties with the Discophora using the wood engraving to act as a reflection of the electrotype perhaps as if it is being reflected in water. The diver sits on top while the diving bell and dolphin all seem to be under-water. The Dog and Dodo pehaps play the game of “which of these things is not like the other.”
Peach to Polypheme
This is the first and last page of the “R” section. The following 6 page spreads are all part of this section.
Peen to Perception
There are some peculiar engravings in this spread. You might recognize one of them from someplace else – I thought it appropriate to insert a dingbat from my collection in this page. Can you figure out which it is? Also, the Penguin 9019-W9 appears to be from the 1859 Webster’s – probably drawn and engraved by John Andrew then of Boston and not copied from the Imperial dictionary as almost all of the other engravings were. (Perhaps Boston has always boasted a bond with penguins?)
Perjurous to Perspective
This section of “P’s” had a peculiar feel to it – it tends to be more packed with engravings than some of the earlier sections. Notice how I tried to create a vanishing point behind the Phacops by the placement of the phoreonis and Pholas to the right. Agh! Here we discover a mistake, too, the number is above the title for the Pholas – it makes it seem more like a specimen number, perhaps.
Photoglyphic to Picture
I think it’s natural to see faces and the human form in abstract images. I feel it impossible to look at the jellyfish next to the gaze of the phrenology head and not see a face and strange high furry hat in it.
Pillory to Pinnacle
The image on P. 264 of Pillory is one of about ten images of various methods of torture. It makes me want to paraphrase my mother-in-law saying”‘The Good Old Days?’ I grew up during the ‘Good Old Days,’ and let me tell you something, things weren’t that good.”
This page acts as the Surrealist Key to one of the interpretations of the entire book. Playing on the Surrealists idea embodied in Magritte’s Pipe painting – that often the names we have chosen for things are not their name, but an artist might grasp the true essence of a thing. I start by naming many things “pipe.” These pages also link this book to the deep underlying Surrealist constuct that our subconscious mind is a powerful force that one who stuggles with art must learn to embody. Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel is there to pay tribute to the man who elevated anything in abstraction to the realm of art. Yes, perhaps to be a book of “Art” I would have served myself better by printing one image per page, but as an artist who believes that art can be more complex, I have allowed for many more distractions to enter my canvas. Two of the engravings on this page spread were done by my hand. Perhaps the art is in them, or perhaps they are the least of the artistry, everyone should come to her own interpretation, Miro, would undoubtedly agree.
Pitfall to Polyhymnia
Looks like we skipped a page. Of course the page after the pith of an interpretation of the book must be “Pitfall,” as it is true in almost any field when we try to nail something down and cement the understanding in place, we inevitably fall prey to a pitfall. There are always two ways to explain anything in the universe. The Pocket Gopher and the Polecat illustrate this concept perfectly, though they are on the pages just past “Pitfall.” And do be wary of the poison ivy!
X on V
Here is one of the double page spreads. There are very few double page spreads that are alike, and of the twelve books I make with double prints no two will be identical. This process make visual my concept of two ideas coming together to make something new. Scroll below to see some another double page spread.
These are the front and back pages of the “Y” section. Each section of the book has 16 pages in it. You might notice the “Y” to the left of the printed page # 369 on the bottom of the right page. These are markings for the binder for collating the book correctly. This was a common practice for books in the 19th century and earlier. In modern books these marks are printed on the folded spine edge of the folios. Thus, they are hidden by the binding. The letters on the right side of the page are a design element taken from the International Dictionaries – they are used for the thumb-tab indexing system. The proofs of the pages with a complete set of 13 letters on the edge are from the regular edition which will not have indexes cut into the pages, and the proofs with missing letters such as the one above are from the deluxe edition. The letters must be left out to insure the indexing punches don’t punch partially through letters.