Saturday, September 1, 2012

Snake Skin

    Transformation is a popular topic these days.. in our country, in the world, and within my own little psyche.  This week's Book of the Week, Snake Skin, is based on the phenomenon of transformation. The book is a cord-bound book with a silk bookcloth spine and parchment-like paper cover.

A real snake skin and a dried moth are affixed to the front cover. A crumbling castle wall on the first page illustrates the process of decay.

A crumbling castle wall and a collagraph print

Snake skin and moth cadaver

   I sewed the textblock on a sewing frame using three split leather strips for attachment to the cover boards. The leather strips can be seen here. The pages are blank... to fill with ideas and imagery about transformation.
The textblock on the sewing frame

Slits were cut into the bookboard covers and the leather strips were threaded through the slits then glued in place before covering.
Strips being threaded into the front cover
   I made Snakeskin to be a contrast of purity and creepiness so that all aspects of transformation are included. The ghostlike qualities of the empty snake skin and the abandoned castle allude to the creepy factor of death and decay.. while the beautiful little moth exhibits the positive effects of change. The pure white covering of the book, the blank hand torn pages, the collagraph flowers, and the simple green silk book cloth give reassurance that the transformations in Snake Skin are natural phenomena.. and if fearful, at least are (hopefully) surmountable.

As the ancient Chinese philosophers knew, the one thing that is constant is change.

Men transform to dragons on Tomb Sweeping Day in Taiwan