Making More than Books in Core III

Photos by Lauren Cupp, '17

Photos by Lauren Cupp, '17

On Jan. 28, the Core III and Typography students of Professor Kitty Maryatt of Scripps College held a closing reception for their artist book exhibit in the art office Gallery 112 in Lang. The exhibit displayed the Core III class’ individually-crafted, social justice-oriented artist books as well as the most recent and past Typography class books.

Visitors mingled among the books, which are highly interactive and unique forms of art, and listened to students from both classes discuss their work. Students described feeling proud of their work and fulfilled in talking about the messages and construction of their books and answering questions. “It’s one thing to talk about something you’re interested in,” said Core III student Lauren Cupp (SCR, ‘17), “and another to show someone a tangible object you made, instead of temporary ideas you don’t get to’s personal.”

For Core III: The Artist Book as an Agent of Social Change, part of the final project was to create an artist book advocating for social change in a certain topic. Some topics included Title IX and sexual assault on the 5C campuses, electronics usage, privacy, illegal poaching and mental illness. Every part of the books, including choices in size, layout, construction, paper, font, illustration, text, etc., was deliberate and promoted the message, as the students observed with the artist books they chose for the Clark Humanities Museum exhibit. For example, something as simple as negative space on a large page could make a reader not only read about isolation, but feel, sense and become a part of it.

In the Core III class, students learned about the origin of book forms and studied artist books from Denison Library, paying particular attention to those with social justice messages. They chose books created by College Book Arts Association members, wrote about them for the catalog, filmed a DVD in which they demonstrated the books and spoke about their content and arranged them into the exhibit in the Clark Humanities Museum. There was also an exhibit reception hosted here by the students on Feb. 4.

In contrast to the Core III students’ books, the Typography class’ books are not individual, single copies. Rather, the students worked together to create many copies of a book. Last semester’s class crafted Non Sense, which explored the theme of silence, the topic for that semester’s Humanities Institute, in terms of the five senses. Books from previous years, including 1988, 1991, 2003 and 2010, were also on display on the Typography side of the exhibit. Professor Maryatt said the exhibit allows viewers to “get a new viewpoint of what artist books are” and to experience the “different personas” of the classes’ group books and students’ individual books.

The artist books do not always cohere to the image that comes to mind with the word “book.” Typically, people might think of the kind of books they would read in classes. These take the codex form, which consists of sheets of paper bound at one end, as opposed to accordion-fold books, scrolls, tablets or other forms. The books in both exhibits may take that form, while others have intricate and highly interactive parts. Readers must pull, untie, unlatch, flip or remove parts at times to experience the content.

The Core III class is offered every Fall to sophomores, and the Typography class, Art 135: Typography and the Book Arts, is offered every semester at Scripps and is open to students of the other four colleges as well.