Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Imagining the life of objects

If you're anywhere near the Willamette Valley, you'll agree when I say that it's too hot to think out there. Luckily, all the HC&A collection spaces are air-conditioned, and I was able to engage in a very stimulating discussion this morning with book artist and conservator-in-training Beth Robinson. We talked at length about the materials in the various collections, how they came to us, what they were used for, what they signify, what they reflect, how they might be reimagined (a la Fred Wilson).

We didn't have time to look at many items in depth, though, so here's one of my sentimental favorites from the book collections: this binding for a well-used copy of Warren's Household physician (1868) that has been lovingly sutured to make it last a little longer... thus keeping the boards on the spine leather, now torn completely in two, the whole having separated from the text block sometime well before this century. Even a portion of the original paper cover was carefully retained. An object both utile and reverenced. Lovely!

(Click for larger image)

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