Monday, August 15, 2011

BIOgraphy of a Book

Sarah Bryant, of the Big Jump Press in Aurora, NY has been receiving all sorts of honors for her new book, Biography. Already she has received the award for Artistic Excellence at the Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair this past November and most recently, the top MCBA Prize from the Minnesota Center for Book Arts last month.
      In her book Biography, Bryant has performed a sort of a visual information graphic in a narrative form that tells the story of our chemical make-up by way of the Table of Periodic Elements. She describes it as "an examination of the chemical elements in the human body and the roles they play elsewhere in the world. This book grew out of my desire to use the periodic table, our visual method of categorizing every particle of matter in the universe, as a tool for creating a portrait of a human being." Each element in Biography is identified as a specific colored rectangle and these rectangles gradually reoccur in diagrams which describe what we are made of, what we are similar to and where we originate. As her book progresses, it becomes apparent that these same elements are also in everything we make including weaponry, medicines, and tools. The diagrams are somewhat difficult to decode as the book continues, until the many colors fade and are interrupted by blind embossed organic shapes near the end. 
      Biography was letterpress printed in 2010 with polymer plates on Zerkall paper. It is bound as a hard cover drumleaf binding and enclosed in a clamshell box in an edition of 75. Numbers 1 through 10 are available as a deluxe edition which you can see below. I had an opportunity to view this book last Fall and it blew me away. Not only did Bryant do a masterful job of printing and binding, but her concept, typography and design are very thoughtfully produced. I suspect there will be many more honors in her future. Look for more information about Sarah Bryant and Biography at Big Jump Press or at Vamp & Tramp Booksellers. You might also enjoy visiting the MCBA site which has posted an online gallery featuring many of the other entries and the other finalists in their recent juried competition. 

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