Accordion book with gilding and hand lettering on brazilwood dyed calfskin vellum with acid etched copper covers

Copper, 23k gold leaf, Finetec gouache, brazil wood dyed calfskin vellum with archival print of original graphite drawing

9″ x 5-1/4″ x 3/4″ (closed book)

Media, social media, art medium… When Marshall McLuhan stated, The Medium is the message,” he could hardly have predicted all of what we now call media. He continued to quote himself, often humorously or ironically, for the rest of his life sometimes intentionally tweaking the idea with seeming typos such as “The medium is the massage,” or even “The medium is the mess age.”

In keeping with the spirit of the sound bite, my desire to one day incorporate it into a work of art and my own media of the moment met when I dyed a long piece of calfskin vellum in purple brazilwood dye with the intention of making a gilded book. Books are intimate. They invite one within, promising in their very form that the invited will be given as yet unrealized information. In this case, the book is purely reflexive.

Combining the prophetic line with 1200 year old illumination techniques was an irresistible contrast. It’s my quirky sense of humor, my dry irony, coupled with my intense love of complex process. Within the choices of lettering and shapes lie many more contrasting concepts: East-West, positive-negative, the use of word as image, the drawn eye in all its symbolism over the stark elongated Romans that are missing rather than material.

“The Medium” is lettered in a hand I developed and call Varabian. It’s based on a style of Arabic writing, and serves here as a gentle reminder that much of what we call civilization comes via the knowledge kept reverently by Eastern and Middle Eastern scholars and brought back to Europe through the wars of the Crusades.

Ideas may be free, but information comes at a price, and awareness of the two is as old as the myths of Genesis and as new as your most recent internet service provider bill.

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