Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Collection at Yale acquires “Hair Loss”

August 2nd, 2007

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Last month, one of the four copies of Hair Loss was purchased by the Beinecke Collection at Yale University. Another copy of this book was also shown this spring in Chicago at Columbia College’s Center for Book & Arts in Action/Interaction: Book/Arts Conference Exhibition.

Visit the Center’s website at http://www.colum.edu/centers/bpa/

Final Book in Iceland: Heimdall’s Horn, The Guardian of Bilfrost Bridge

July 20th, 2007

westman-portrait.jpgEarlier this week I spent two days on Heimaey, the only populated island of the Westman Islands, made famous by a destructive volcanic eruption in the 70s which buried a large portion of the town.

I have finished my final book and will be leaving Iceland today. The book is called Heimdall’s Horn. Heimdall is the guardian of the gods who’s task it is to blow his horn at the end of the world. His hearing is so acute that he can hear grass grow. He guards the rainbow, which is called the Bilfrost Bridge, that leads to the home of his fellow gods. The final book made during my residency in Iceland features this alert guardian. The manuscript illumination of Heimdall is from Melsted’s Edda at the Arni Magnusson Institute in Iceland drawn in the 1765 by Jakob Sigursson.
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To see all pages of the book, visit Icelandic books.

The Guardians of Iceland, a new book.

July 13th, 2007

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I have just completed another project. This one folds out in four sections around a cut-out map of Iceland. It is based on the image found on the back of every Icelandic Kronur, the story of The Four Guardians.This is the text of the story as told by Snorri Sturluson in Volume 3 of his Heimskringla: The Lives of the Norwegian Kings around 1220.
Harald Sends a Warlock to Iceland
King Harald told a warlock to hie to Iceland in some altered shape, and to try what he could learn there to tell him: and he set out in the shape of a whale.
And when he came near to the land he went to the west side of Iceland, north around the land where he saw all the mountains and hills full of guardian spirits, some great, some small. When he came to Vopnafjörur he went in towards the land, intending to go on shore; but a huge dragon rushed down the dale against him with a train of serpents, paddocks, and toads, that blew poison towards him.
Then he turned to go westward around the land as far as Eyjafjörur, and he went into the fjord. Then a bird flew against him, which was so great that its wings stretched over the mountains on either side of the fjord, and many birds, great and small with it.
Then he swam farther west, and then south into Breiafjörur. When he came into the fjord a large grey bull ran against him, wading into the sea, and bellowing fearfully, and he was followed by a crowd of land-spirits. Then he turned to go westward around the land as far as Eyjafjörur, and he went into the fjord. Then a bird flew against him, which was so great that its wings stretched over the mountains on either side of the fjord, and many birds, great and small with it.
From thence he went round by Reykjanes, and wanted to land at Vikarsskei, but there came down a hill-giant against him with an iron staff in his hands. He was a head higher than the mountains, and many other giants followed him He then swam eastward along the land, and there was nothing to see, he said, but sand and vast deserts, and without the skerries, high-breaking surf; and the ocean between the countries was so wide that a long-ship could not cross it… Then the Danish king turned about with his fleet, and sailed back to Denmark. Hakon the earl settled habitations again in the country that had been laid waste, and paid no scat as long as he lived to Denmark.

Click for details of the book or to see a video

Sixth Week in Iceland: Foss-The Legendary Waterfalls of Iceland

July 8th, 2007

I have just completed a boxed set of accordion books of the famous waterfalls of Iceland, the ones that come with the best stories. The books cascade down like the falls and can be displayed on the wall as well as viewed in the hands. Each book tells the location of the fall and the story behind it, some very old and one from the last century.
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View a video. or details of the boxed set.

Book about the Norns: Fate, Being & Necessity

July 3rd, 2007

I selected the form of the flag book to present the idea of the three fates of Norse Mythology: The Norns. It is called Fate, Being & Necessity, the Norse names for these three women who represent the past,present, and future. They are seen as an old, middle aged and young woman who are intertwined like a braid and control human’s lives.norns1.jpg

View a video of this book or to see all the pages.

Book on Mind and Memory

June 24th, 2007

ice-2.jpgice_m.jpgice_m3.jpgWhile in Iceland, I have been inspired by Norse Mythology. These are a few pages from a book that I have made based on the two ravens of the god Odin: Huginn and Muninn (Mind and Memory.) According to the story, the ravens leave his shoulders and fly all over the world, bringing him back the latest news before breakfast.

New Botanical Book Finished in Iceland

June 24th, 2007

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I have just completed a botanical book that contains altered photographs of the common flowers and plants I have encountered in Iceland. Many of them are new to me, and some we have in Illinois. The book was produced by taking files to a color Xerox machine here in the town where I am staying. I will continue to stay on in Iceland until July 20, so I will see many more plants come into high season.

Lecture at Hafnarborg Center in Hafnarfjordur, Iceland

June 11th, 2007

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Last Thursday night I lectured on my work at the Hafnarborg Center for Culture and Fine Arts in Iceland. I will be here for the month of June, photographing and working on artists’ books. I am pictured here with my daughter Rachel, who has been a resident artist here before, and the Director of the Center, Petrun Petursdottir. When Rachel was in Iceland she created a wonderful body of work in felt which was published alongside her landscape photographs as a book Cool Light. It can be seen on her site atIt can be seen on her site at http://test.rsuntop.com/gallery/book/index.php?image=icelandcover1.jpg

Book about Snorri Sturluson: Recorder of the Norse Myths

June 10th, 2007

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The first book I created during my residency in Iceland was Snorri’s Pool, a narrative surrounding this small body of water that can still be visited. The text for the books is:
Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241)

This Icelandic poet wrote several historically important books including the Prose Edda, a collection of Norse literature and cosmology. Although anonymous, Egil’s Saga is thought to have been written by him.

After his father died, Snorri married a wealthy woman and in 1206 he settled without her in Reykjaholt. Rich and powerful, this intellectual could not avoid politics. His original support of Norway’s domination of Iceland, and his own lifestyle, which involved having illegitimate children and living with a widow, gained him enemies on many sides, including his own family.

The story of his death on September 22 is well known in Iceland. The murder was most likely ordered by King Haakon of Norway himself. As Snorri tried to exit by the back tunnel, he was killed with an axe beside the pool that still remains as a haunting reminder.

He is honored as a fine writer of poetry and prose who contributed enormously to our understanding of this culture.

Read this excellent review of The Observer:Addressing Age

May 15th, 2007

observer_cover.jpgI found a very insightful review of my work on aging, particularly the section that discusses the book The Observer. Here is the link
http://castingthefirst.blogspot.com/2006/04/addressing-age.html

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