Artists’ bookmaker Karen Hanmer gives a lecture
Karen Hanmer, a maker of artists’ books, has been showing her work throughout the United States since the 1990s. Her interest in history, politics, culture, and technology as well as personal narrative often drives the content and aesthetic of the books. Maps, photography, personally significant imagery, and found objects make their way into Hanmer’s finely crafted works. For instance, though Medieval Girdle Book sounds like it might be about a torture device, it is actually a model of a type of book and carrying apparatus that dates to the 15th and 16th centuries that was attached to a traveler’s belt by a decorative leather extension. A very different project, The Anatomical Exercises of Dr. William Harvey: Concerning the Motion of the Heart and Blood, is a trade reprint of a 1653 edition housed in the Yale University’s Medical History Library that Hanmer took apart and remade with a laced limp vellum binding, hand-sewn silk end-bands, a gilt top edge, and Cave endpapers — turning an old tome of medical illustrations into a kind of sculpture. Still another book honors the writer Wendell Berry and his 1996 publication The Farm, with a design of foil tooling on Khadi handmade paper that reflects Berry’s text about the goings-on at a farm in Kentucky over the course of four seasons.
Hanmer, winner of the jury prize for binding in the 2009 Helen Warren DeGolyer American Bookbinding Competition, and author of Contemporary Paper Bindings: A Guide to Bookbinding Techniques, Tools, and Materials speaks about her work in “Retro Tech: Artists’ Books and Bindings,” a free presentation hosted by the Santa Fe Book Arts Group at the Santa Fe Community College boardroom (6401 Richards Ave., main building), on Friday, March 10, at 7 p.m. For information, visit www .santafebag.org. — J.L.