Cornville, Maine: 2014. Artist's book, one of 7 copies, all on handmade paper by Katie MacGregor, each copy signed and numbered by the artist / author, Bonnie Bishop. Page size: 5-3/4 x 8-1/2 inches; 64pp. Bound by the artist: hand-sewn Coptic style binding, single thread sewn through each of the 8 signatures, black wrappers stiffened with archival paper, title blind embossed on front panel, housed in black paper box. Ms. Bishop has written 7 poems, hymns to the divine spirit, manifested in the animals pictured and referenced: Ar-Wa-Soose: Bear (Penobscot), Strix Varia: Barred Owl (Latin), Arachne: Greek weaver turned into a spider by Athena, Chang-O: Chinese goddess allied by the moon and hare, Taxidea Taxus: Badger (Latin), Migizi: Eagle (Ojibway), Animadiva: Divine Animal. The images are printed silkscreen for the deep blue and grey and monoprint in silver. The text is handset in Optima and printed letterpress by Scott Vile at Ascensius Press. Ms. Bishop's animals are not ordinary creatures. Rather, they are magical and imbued with mystic presence and powers. Their images take over the page - even if only covering a small portion of the page spread. We are reminded of a divine life-force.
Each page spread, silver monoprint textures overprinted with blue or grey silkscreens, or white pages with silver gilt silkscreens (the white page serving as negative space and creating images), illuminates the text. The strong line of the silkscreen is repeated over three pages (in blue, then grey, and again blue), each time on different grounds, provoking different responses with each image. Ms. Bishop's verse conjures up reverence for the natural with grounds in silver gilt of feathers, ferns, honeycombs, spider webs, and other elements of the natural world.
This is the third in a series of four books: the first and second published are SHE and FURIES. Each volume explores aspects of the feminine in words and images. Here, we enter the realm of the divine Earth Mother. Owing much to Native American spirituality and traditions, Ms. Bishop's personal heritage and philosophy enlightens and informs the reader / viewer.
Ms. Bishop has taught art and graphic design at several Maine institutions, including Colby College as well as holding positions as graphic designer at Hudson Museum at University of Maine and prior to that Scholastic Magazine. She has participated in a number of book arts exhibitions in Maine and Canada and received a number of design awards. Item #10876