2008. Unique artist's book, on Arches Text Wove paper, signed and dated by the artist, Elizabeth McKee. Page size closed: 8.5 x 11.75 inches; 22pp. including one fold-out. Bound by the artist: hand-sewn into black recycled daphne paper from Bhaktapur, Nepal, with envelope and ivory gros-grain ribbon tie of same paper, collage of various papers on lower right front panel. The colophon (double-page spread) is a collage with the printed text of Cummings' verse, the copyright notice, Acknowledgements, and Artist's Statement (Colophon) on painted sheets. As with all other pages in the book, these two are irregularly shaped. Ms. McKee notes that this book was the result of a workshop she lead for the Calligraphy Society of Ottawa in October of 2008. Each of the participants in the workshop transferred a text from Writing Systems of the World by Akira Nakanishi to their own piece of Arches. Ms. McKee selected the Vai script, a syllabary from Liberia. Parts of this script are incorporated into the background design. Each sheet was then passed to a neighbor who altered it with sumi or walnut inks and an assortment of tools until the sheet of paper was transformed. Only then was each participant given the task of making that transformed sheet into a book. E. E. Cummings' poem, LET IT GO, is a particularly appropriate selection for these altered sheets. The poet urges the reader "let all go" which, of course, the artist had to do when giving her paper to neighbors to alter. The text is lettered in bold black on collaged and painted pages in tan, black and white with gold gilt and glitter threads. Some of the words are quite legible; others are barely so. The maelstrom created by the background painting and collages, the letters swirling in funnel clouds or other turbulence, combined with the irregularly-shaped pages and the torn bits of paper collages combine to alert the reader / viewer know that something powerful is happening. Letting go, according to Ms. McKee and E. E. Cummings is not easy, but ever so worthwhile.
The text reads: let it go-the smashed word broken open vow or the oath cracked length wise-let it go it was sworn to go let them go-the truthful liars and the false fair friends and the boths and neithers-you must let them go they were born to go let all go-the big small middling tall bigger really the biggest and all things-let all go dear so comes love. Item #10595