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Sketchbook #1: My Book Journal

collage, fabric, paper, gouache, graphite, water color, thread, silver gelatin print, rubber stamp
6 x 10 x 2 1/2 in.

In 1979 I began binding my own sketchbooks, My Book Journal being my first clothbound codex. The text block with its oblong shape and torn edges broke with the normal constraints of bookbinding, which dictate that each page must be the same size and evenly cut. The hand-torn paper, with its edges looking like ragged dictionary indices, became an integral part of my creative process as I worked out visual ideas about photography and books by sketching them. Once I recorded a conceived artwork in a drawing, I had at least the seed of an idea for future reference. Reviewing the sketches and proposals provided time for the gestation of a piece, even if it took years to complete. Over time the drawings became more detailed; the more clearly I could see the ideas, the more accurately they might be explored in the physical world. Building a vocabulary for future executions, my sketchbooks have become works in themselves: bookworks in embryo.