Artists who produce artist’s books create multiple copies, but in small numbers. Besides swimming against the tide of mass production, they also swim against the stream of changes in the way books are created, presented, and read. Their work stands in contrast to eBooks and online eReaders, which are delivered without the tactile satisfaction of opening a solid cover or turning paper leaves. They pay close attention to book construction, to paper with heft and covers made of texturally interesting material, reflecting their dedication to the book as a physical object of art.
I became aware of Lynne Avadenka’s work shortly after I arrived at the University of Michigan Special Collections Library in 1989. Her work embodies books as tactile and beautiful physical objects, whose physicality becomes part of the message they convey. The text is integral to the books, as demonstrated by the fact that she often writes the text herself. Lynne Avadenka’s work is one of the reasons it became our library’s mission to collect important artist’s books made within our state, and it has truly been a privilege to follow her artistic path and acquire what she has created.
My interview with Lynne below attempts to bring to light the thoughts, practices, and philosophies upon which her work is based.