I’ve been very, very happy lately to be having wonderful correspondence, and conversations in person, with several really talented binders. One of them, Tim Ely, is a binder who is far more than a binder. I think he is, in my humble and completely biased opinion, one of the greatest living books artists. I’ve examined three of his recent artist’s books in person (I’ve seen a few of his bindings, too, but that’s not what I’m talking about here). I spent hours with them. They are beautiful inside and out. I could write a very serious essay about his books, science, and literature, but I’ll leave that to someone else. Instead, I’m going to brag that Tim sent me a bunch of catalogs from past exhibits and the postcard (above) advertising his upcoming exhibit of paintings and drawings in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It sounds like an improbably remote location, but it is actually about 10 minutes from Spokane, Washington and near where Tim lives. I considered turning up for the opening, but I won’t. Instead, I’m going to the Center for Book Arts 40th Anniversary Colloquium on artists’ books at The Museum of Modern Art in New York on October 11th. I hope to see some of you there.
In honor of Tim’s exhibit The Impossible Landscape, I’m going to treat us with some Ely eye candy.
Gérard Charrière is a Swiss bookbinder and artist who practiced in the United States from 1965-2001. He now lives in Berlin.
I recently acquired the catalog pictured below. Sadly, all the images are in black and white. It has been a bit of a struggle to find color images of his work.
The first color image I saw of one of his bindings is in the retrospective section of the Guild of Book Workers 100th Anniversary Exhibition catalog (another recent acquisition). The catalog is online, but I wanted my own copy.
There’s a really terrible image of the binding on the back of the catalog. Fortunately, I discovered that Bowdoin College in Maine has several Charrière bindings, including that particular binding and a binding quite similar (but not identical) to the one in the 1982 exhibit. Bowdoin has excellent images embedded in their online catalog, bless them:
Two more spectacular Charrière bindings from Bowdoin College Special Collections: