The Letterarian

Artist. Keeper of letters…


Artist Books

The Book of Laughter


Happiness is elusive.
Just when you think
you’ve got a good hold of it,
it slips from your grasp.

And yet,
it’s as free for the taking
as the air that we breathe.

I can hear it laughing.

©Jacqueline Harris 2016
The Book of Laughter Artist book, hand lettered, bound, printed, and embossed. Edition of 4.


Dream Sequence I – revisted…

New photographs of the book Dream Sequence I, L’enchantement de la femme noire. 
A challenging work to photograph because of its size and wide vertical dimensions which, when opened, measures approximately 186 cm (73 inches).

The work for Dream Sequence II will begin in the next few days…

Night & Day books

Chasing natural light and shaping shadows with my books Night & Day I and Night & Day II.

Artist books. Night & Day I and Night & Day II. ©Jacqueline Harris 2016

Shadows are but extensions of the dark and of dense matter as they are pushed out by the light. To know the light, one must find acquaintance with the dark. Although the shadow may seem born of the dark, it is the light that brings it forth. The shadow can also be seen as a path that leads you to the light.

The following is a narrative of shade and light unfolding… Introducing Shades of Light, a series of four books that contemplates shadow and light.


Paper Universe

Paper…it is a universe within itself… As handlers of paper we respond to how it feels, looks and responds to our touch, to its weight, by how it moves and how it sounds when it moves, how it bends, and how it can flap about when you animate it, or how serene and beautiful it may look when it hangs from a wall or falls from a book… This list can go on and on. Besides the amazing things that artists can do and say with this fine medium for expression, paper can say a whole lot without having anything said on it.

These are elements I was exploring when I developed the following three book works which were created specifically for a Canadian group exhibition that showed in 2011 called “Bound by Nature, An exhibition inspired by nature, landscape and books,” curated by Canadian artist Deborah Danelley.

With “Memoir, a book of sand” I was interested in exploring texture and containment, light and shadow, and the metaphor of moving through time with the eye travelling across the length of an image, a book. Taking the memory that time places on us and containing it in this form felt like a natural thing to do…

“Memoir, a book of sand” 2011 Book cover/box: 2 3/8″ h x 4 1/2″ l x 3 7/8″w (h 6cm x l 11.5cm x w 9.8cm) Fine Japanese St. Armand papers mounted on board.
A concertina book structure with an inkless embossed print mounted and bound on fine handmade Japanese papers. Book opens up to approx. 106 in. (269 cm) Text contemplation by Jacqueline Harris. Photo credit: Nicole Coulson.

Poem text:

a mark in time…

this is the mark
time places on us

it is a memory
in the sand

Detail of “Memoir, a book of sand” Digital text in pigment ink. Photo credit: Nicole Coulson.
Detail of inkless print in “Memoir, a book of sand” Inkless print hand rendered onto paper from a long plate made up of acrylic mediums on board.


The next set of books “Night & Day I” and “Night & Day II” is an example of how papers can speak for themselves…

“Night & Day I” “Night & Day II” 2011 Matchbox books bound with Arches and fine Japanese papers.
Detail of “Night & Day” books.
Detail of “Night & Day I” Text digitally rendered in pigment inks and composed by Jacqueline Harris.
Detail of “Night & Day II” Text digitally rendered in pigment inks and composed by Jacqueline Harris.
Detail “Night & Day I”
Detail “Night & Day II”
Details of “Night & Day” books.


“Dream Sequence I, L’enchantement de la femme noire”
In this work I was exploring size and the concept of the “unfolding” element of a narrative. I also wanted to feel physically engaged in the handling experience of reading a book with such wide pages…you have to use your whole arm to turn the pages, and I found this very engaging as a reader.

“Dream Sequence I, L’enchantement de la femme noire” 2011 This “book” is bound in a handmade box. To provide an idea of the scale of this book, dimensions are: h 18.3 cm x w 64cm x d 1.2cm; h 7.2″ x w 25.2″ x d .47″ (book closed up)
Detail of “Dream Sequence I, L’enchantement de la femme noire”

Building a visual narrative is like building a poem. Thematic elements and motifs occur and recur throughout the piece, building up rhythm and harmony. I wanted to retain such a feel with the method of printing and gilding, and so devised a way to apply the gold in the work in the manner of the pochoir method of the forest and dame noire.

Inside detail of “Dream Sequence I, L’enchantement de la femme noire”
Narrative consists of Pochoir print and 23kt gilding on Rives, mounted and bound on fine Japanese and St. Armand papers. w 186.6 cm; w 73.5″ (book opened up) Photo credit: Nicole Coulson



Trusting the work and its process

A working model….

Preliminary model for a new body of work forthcoming. Happy with the progress…. Loving the process involved in working on this new project!

Dream Sequence I, l’enchantement de la femme noire

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