Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Cut Above

Cutting Paper, a miscellany of cut-paper art, is the latest collaboration from the Northwest's most notable bookmaking duo Barbara Hodgson and Claudia Cohen. This marks their fifth book together since 2007; each one just as alluring as the next. All five have been published with Rollin Milroy of the Heavenly Monkey Press and were fully subscribed prior to release. This book was printed by David Clifford of the Black Stone Press in Vancouver, BC in an edition of 30; 10 of which will be a deluxe edition. I had the enormous pleasure to preview it at the Codex Book Fair in Berkeley when it first debuted last month. The book contains brief essays describing historical papercutting influences from around the world, including the artwork of Hans Christian Anderson, Matisse and British paper artist Mary Delany. Tipped inside nearly every spread, are some original and some historical facsimiles of papercuts based on Asian, European, Islamic and Mexican designs. If you watch Kate Farnady's great book trailer above very closely, you might catch a glimpse of each example. Or for those slow readers like myself, you can catch some at a more leisurely pace in the following stills.

Hodgson and Cohen have continued to set a high standard since the release of their first collaboration The Temperamental Rose, which was part of an imaginative series of books on the topic of color. Cohen, who now lives in Seattle after many years in Massachusetts, has an established reputation as a fine press bookbinder. Over the past three decades, she has worked with the Gehenna Press, Pennyroyal Press, David R. Godine, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum to name just a few. Hodgson began her career as a book designer in Vancouver after receiving a degree in archeology and a diploma in graphic design. She is also the author and illustrator of a number of popular novels including The Sensualist, The Tattooed Map and Lives of Shadows, where her sensibilities as an archeologist and collector are clearly visible. Together, Hodgson and Cohens' complimentary skills and paralleled interests make for nice bookends and we are all enriched by their contributions to fine press printing and book publishing. 
::With special thanks to Kate Farnady for allowing the use of her Cutting Paper video!

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