Save This Bag at the University of Iowa

I've been lucky to have a standing order with the Special Collections Department at the University of Iowa Library, and they have a copy of all of my editioned books (about one hundred). In 2009,  the College Book Art Association conference was held there so I got to see the library itself. It is large and has nice displays and has a terrific book lab for repair and boxmaking and conservation then headed by Gary Frost (now conservator emeritus), who also gave a talk (that's him, below). I have to admit, though, that my warmest memory was how, in January, when the thermometer said 6º, the library was an inviting refuge from the cold.

Recently, I got an email from Colleen Theisen, Outreach and Instructional Librarian. She wrote:
At the University of Iowa Special Collections & University Archives we have been making a video series called Staxpeditions where we take suggested call number ranges and explore one item in that range. Our latest call number range led us to feature Save This Bag from our collection. I hope you enjoy this Staxpedition! 
I did! It's a really fun video! To answer two issues that were brought up: the glassine was used as packing material and was meant to be removed, and my name is pronounced A-lee-sa. More info about the book is at my website here. This video is the third in a new series: a kind of treasure hunt. What a surprise! 

Here is a picture of Save This Bag installed at the Richmond Art Center in 2005. When I made the piece, I had been reading about the tradition of cordel in Brazil, booklets that were brought to the marketplace and hung on a cord there. Cordel literature inspired the books and their installation, although mine were letterpress printed on painted paper with pochoir/stenciled imagery instead of woodcuts. I am very fond of the Brazilian cordel artist José Francisco Borges; his woodcuts may also be seen accompanying surreal stories in the book Walking Words by Eduardo Galeano.

And here is a picture of the bags I made in 2005, watched over at the time by our dear neighbor cat Maggie (RIP: 1996- June 2013). I'm sure her Staxpeditions call number request would have been SF446.5.

Addendum: blogback! U of IA Library responded to this post with their own post and showed some of their cordel collection.


Thanks for sharing the video and blog entry!