I made my first book as a child. My sister and brother and I told stories, and built the villages and roads that brought our stories to life. I started writing poetry when I was 14, and later at Chatham College, I collaborated with my roommate on a hand-sewn book of poems, illustrated with my pen and ink drawings. I re-engaged with book arts when I took The Illuminated Autobiography at USM in the mid-1990's from Rebecca Goodale and Dennis Gilbert. Word and image exploded in many different forms, and I have been exploring this medium ever since. I have studied with Sas Colby and Barbara Mariello at Haystack, as well as taking courses at our new Center for Book Arts at USM.
In 2006, I gave the University of Southern Maine a gift that enabled the University to create and endow a Center for Book Arts in Portland. Headed by Rebecca Goodale, the CBA offers outstanding lectures, workshops, and exhibits by regional and national book artists for USM students and the general public. Our mission is to delight, engage and enlighten book artists, and the response has exceeded our expectations. Memorable workshops for me include Peter Madden's wooden books, Women's Studio Workshop Founders' drum leaf binding, and Words and Images: a dialogue in poetry and prints with Stu Kestenbaum and Susan Webster. For a calendar of current events and news, visit the USM Website, or the CBA FaceBook page.
The Envelope Project began when I read a poem by Maxine Kumin called “The Envelope”. Having recently lost my own mother, I was moved by Kumin’s unusual metaphor of daughter as container for the mother, and by her call to us as daughters to “carry our mothers forth in our bellies”. I conceived of a one-of-a-kind artists’ book of envelopes filled with the words and images of women artists and poets about their mothers. Twenty one artists responded to my invitation to fill the empty envelope I sent each one, and the Envelope Book was born.
Click on any of the images below to see many more examples of Kate's Artist's Books.