Tag Archives: accordion book

Empty – An Artists’ Book About Infertility

Like many women, I struggle with infertility. And, like many artists, I make art about those topics which are the hardest, and the most important, to explore. For my BFA show last year I made a series of women’s figures and artists’ books titled, “Always Reborn.” The show explored issues particular to women’s experiences including infertility, family, love, and violence against women.

The books that I made for the show have been shown in galleries since then, but I realized that they weren’t quite yet in their final form. The wax covers were not realistic for handling and there were small changes that I needed to make to bring the book into the full focus of my original vision. Whereas I originally started with the women’s form and then added the book, I realized the book was all that is needed, the form became secondary.

I’ve been working on the final versions and am finally ready to release them into the world. Empty is one in a series of four books: Empty, I’m Telling You NowLoves Me/Not and Family Circle.

Empty explores infertility using the universal display of family photos. As my mother, my grandmother, and many mothers have before me, I imagined a display on the mantel of photos of my children: baby photos, first-day-of-school photos, graduation and wedding photos. Empty displays the frames sans photos. The lullabies I’ve hummed countless times to imaginary children weave through the book in a faded, almost transparent soundtrack.

Edition of 10, archival inkjet printed on Rives BFK.



One Second of Time – A New Artists’ Book by Ginger Burrell

I am obsessed with earthquakes, or at least if you hear my husband tell it you would think so. I prefer to think of it as a healthy caution concerning a seemingly random natural event. Some of my earliest memories are of earthquakes – which makes sense since I’ve lived in California most of my life and, through some twist of fate, I’ve often been close to the epicenter.

When I am in a big warehouse store – Costco, Lowes, Home Depot – you know the kind with the miles of stock stacked above your head? – I think about earthquakes. When I walk across a parking structure – the kind that pancaked during the Northridge quake – I think about earthquakes. When I am on vacation – away from California – I think about earthquakes. Okay, perhaps I am a bit obsessed.

This book began as an expression of my hyperawareness. I created monoprints with jagged edges and a sense of motion and then combined them in Photoshop with found, public domain, images of earthquake damage. I then wrote poems to express my thoughts about earthquakes. 

One Second of Time, an accordion book, is irregularly folded so that from above it alludes to the seismogram. The poetry is also written and presented in seismograph form. The book is printed on Rives BFK with archival inkjet printing. The font is Chiller. The cover paper, meant to evoke layers of sedimentary earth, is Pirouette Marbled Paper in black, gold and silver. One Second of Time is an edition of 10.

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The title, One Second of Time, comes from a quote by Charles Darwin in 1839. “A bad earthquake at once destroys the oldest associations: the world, the very emblem of all that is solid, has moved beneath our feet like a crust over a fluid; one second of time has conveyed to the mind a strange idea of insecurity, which hours of reflection would never have created.”

If you would like to look at larger versions of the photographs in the slideshow, you can click on these images, here:

Your comments are appreciated.



Chutes and Ladders Re-Imagined

One of my frequent  concerns as an artist (and one I hear from many of my fellow artists) is the sheer amount of materials I go through. Papers, boards, adhesives – so many raw materials go into book making. Each time I order a box full of Rives BFK or Davey Board I feel a twinge of regret for the trees that will suffer a beheading to support my pursuit of art.

To challenge myself and use up those scraps of Rives, Davey Board and the vintage books and games I can’t resist at yard sales, I’ve decided to teach a class using only recycled and found materials. The class isn’t until September, but the Palo Alto Art Center needed photos to layout the catalog now. So this morning I went to my studio and started sifting through stacks of goodies I can’t seem to part with – the result is the book in the photo above – a re-imagined Chutes and Ladders.

The book is made with an old Chutes and Ladders game, scraps of Rives BFK, scraps of embroidery floss and scraps of black paper. So far so good – I’ve kept to my goal of not buying any materials for this class.

First, to really show off the game board, I decided to used pieces of the board not only as a cover, but also as section dividers. In order to show them off to best effect I made them graduated in height from 4 1/2 to 7 3/4″.  I covered the exposed board edges with thin pieces of black paper wrapped around them like bias tape. Next, to use those cute little game pieces, I decided to use them as “tabs” for my dividers. I glued them using straight PVA.

For the pages I cut three pieces of Rives BFK to the same height as the section dividers and twice as wide. I folded them in half and then used a pamphlet stitch to attach them into an accordion fold spine – so each section has 12 pages. I attached the section dividers and the covers using Terrifically Tacky double-sided tape and there it is, my first entirely recycled book.

I’m happy with the way the design allows the game to remain the focus and it was very fun to make a single book with materials on hand. It was a different exercise in creativity to design around materials I already had rather than design around an idea rattling around in my head. Instead of worrying about getting enough materials for an edition, I could focus on celebrating the materials I had in a single book. I’m looking forward to teaching this class in the fall!