Artist Statement

Bonnie P. O’Connell

Since 1971, I’ve made both edition and unique books for celebration and catharsis, and still marvel at the flexibility and adaptability of the versatile format. The craft design processes of typography, printing and binding provide considerable pleasures in object making, honing hand skills, and intellectual discovery through research. Since teaching book arts full time, I’ve been equally drawn to the expressive sculptural potential of book forms. The visual book re-evaluates the accepted perimeters of subject, medium, format, content, and materials. Its fluid manifestations generate vital relationships between

image / text, material / meaning, author / artist, and reader/ viewer.

For me the book becomes a reservoir for planning, substance, and resolution, a journey through the paradox of containment and display.

Recent studio work combines the tactile, textural qualities of hand papermaking with the mechanics of binding to create both supportive structure and metaphorical meaning. In the ongoing search for evocative materials, I’ve tapped the natural world as well as flea markets for printed ephemera, postcards, talismanic objects, framing devices and containers. The seductive surfaces and eloquence of these seasoned materials, which carry a history and the residuum of other hands, often calls for the unpredictable marriage of assemblage and bookbinding.


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