Production Notes (or making an edition of artists’ books)

This week I finished the last of the EYES edition. I’d forgotten how long those little EYES cubes take to make. Painting the cubes, cutting out those little EYES photographs, painstakingly gluing each photo to each face of every cube. Meditative in a way. And, while I was painting and cutting and gluing I was already working on new artists’ books in my head.

In the past I’ve made my artists’ books as I need them. EYES was an edition of 10, I made two in the edition to start and have made one or two at a time since. Now that I’m sending the last three in the edition to Vamp & Tramp, I can’t help but think that maybe I should make all of the new work as complete editions. If there is 1o in an edition, make all 10 at once.

My editions are never very big, 25 at the most. Often 5 or 10. Part of the reason is that I have more ideas than I have time to make books and another reason, quite honestly, is that I get bored with making the same book. I love the process of making artists books, the first thrill of a new idea, the excitement of picking every detail:  what structure, creation of the content, the book cloth or paper to cover the book, whether it will have pieces to play with like Rocks or be a more contemplative and traditional book like The Heaven Project. I even love the frustrations, or more specifically the aha! moment, when the problems that plague a book are solved.

So as I get ready to start new work, I’m wondering should I make it all at once? It would be nice to have it all ready to send out without any lead time and it would be nice not to try to find paper, cloth or some other essential for an edition when it turns out I need more than I planned. But would making and storing the books all at once reduce my relationship with the art? Has making EYES cubes over the years helped me bond with the book and keep it close to my heart?

What do you do? Do you make all of the artists’ books in an edition at once? 


One response to “Production Notes (or making an edition of artists’ books)

  1. Hi Ginger,
    I’m having trouble answering your question! In the past, I tended to make a few of an edition, and then never get around to finishing it. However, in the past year, I’ve gone back to finishing those I left hanging. I’m also changing my studio practice to more of an “assembly line” system, where I make all of one step of an edition at once, rather than one book at a time.

    What changed? Well, to begin, I had a purchase offer out of the blue for a editioned book that I had no more assembled copies of. And since I really only had to make four more, I figured I’d knock them all out. And it was really satisfying to FINISH it. (Congratulations on finishing your “Eyes”, btw). So I’ve adopted that. And when I started a few new books, I’m hoping to carry through with finishing them all at once – though smaller edition sizes are helping.

    So my answer to your question is all three! I hope you publish the results, I’d very curious. Good luck with your work – I love your blog!
    Michelle Wilson

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