Katy Gilmore ~ Washington

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Katy Gilmore: "For the last 20 years, I've explored images of everyday objects on quilts, artists' books, and most often in watercolor on paper - and exhibited the products in more than 15 solo shows and many group shows. Individual flowers and gardens most interest me. In real life I like best gardens and flowers which serve to focus the imagination, and I strive to do that in a painting."


Shoe Statements book series

Late Summer into Fall - Six Books
By Katy Gilmore
Port Townsend, Washington: Katy Gilmore, 2010. One-of-a-Kind.

Six books: each 5.75 x 6.35", each a single-sided accordion with 4 panels of penline and watercolor illustration. Handwritten text. 140 lb Arches hot press watercolor paper. Each book bound in bookcloth with paper title label on front board. Laid in 6.375 x 7.875 x 2.5" casing of paper-fold edges and binder boards covered in red cloth with red ribbon ties at bottom, top and foredge. Binding by Watermark Bindery.

Katy Gilmore's six foldbooks record the small events in the natural world during the drift from late summer to fall in Washington state, a time that often combines two seasons in a single day, with chilly mornings and warm afternoon sun. The illustrations begin with lilies painted outdoors in her garden and ends with Washington winter color painted in her studio.

Book I Lilies
Book II Sunflowers
Book III Lavatera, Spider, lavender...
Book IV Rosehips hops and honeysuckle
Book V Autumns leaves
Book VI Washington Winter Color

From Book I: "Washington autumn is long – like Washington spring – and beautiful. It takes all these months – September to December – and many changes to put summer firmly away, as Virginia Woolf wrote 'folded up like a sweater on the shelf.'"

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Shoes - ordinary sweat-in knock-around-in shoes, solitary, paired, and in piles - presented with all the nuance that watercolors can imbue take on personality and symbolic qualities in this series.

Shoe Statements: Connections
By Katy Gilmore
Port Townsend, Washington: Katy Gilmore, 1990. Edition of 3.

4 x 4.5"; 6 unnumbered pages. Accordion structure of 6 original watercolor panels. Paper-covered boards with paper title label. Shoestring tie closure. Paper slipcase.

Shoes heel-to-toe across the accordion pages: from high-top dress shoe to cowboy boot to brogue to work boot to dress pump to sneaker. Each alone, individual, yet together.
$95 (One copy)


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Shoe Statements: Crowds
By Katy Gilmore
Port Townsend, Washington: Katy Gilmore, 1990. Edition of 3.

4 x 4.5"; 6 unnumbered pages. Accordion structure of 6 original watercolor panels. Paper-covered boards with paper title label. Shoestring tie closure. Paper slipcase.

Three's a crowd even when talking shoes.
$95 (One Copy)


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Shoe Statements: Details
By Katy Gilmore
Port Townsend, Washington: Katy Gilmore, 1990. Edition of 2.

6.75 x 8.625"; 4 unnumbered pages. Accordion structure of 4 original watercolor panels. Paper-covered boards with paper title label. Shoestring tie closure.

Close-ups of six different shoes: laces, toes, heels.
$145 (One Copy)


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Shoe Statements: Enough Despair
By Katy Gilmore
Port Townsend, Washington: Katy Gilmore, 1990. Edition of 2.

6.75 x 8.625"; 4 unnumbered pages. Accordion structure of 4 original watercolor panels. Paper-covered boards with paper title label. Shoestring tie closure.

In the first three panels shoes crowd the frame and topple over one another. The last panel changes the point of view and reveals the soles (souls?).
$145 (one copy)


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Shoe Statements: Horoscopes
By Katy Gilmore
Port Townsend, Washington: Katy Gilmore, 1990. Edition of 2.

8.75 x 13.75"; 6 unnumbered panels. Accordion structure of six original watercolored panels. Paper-covered boards with paper title label. Shoestring tie closure.

Gilmore's watercolored shoes whimsically illustrate six horoscopes: Develop routine that enables you to complete variety of tasks, assignments; Do not panic; Focus on distribution, showmanship, challenge; Focus and the horizon widens; The tide suddenly turns; Love relationship will prosper.

Bland here in writing; whimsical and alive when combined with Gilmore's watercolors.
$275 (one copy)

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Katy Gilmore Out of Print Title:

The Great Conversation
Volume I: An Amended, Illustrated, Expanded, Interactive, Boxed Edition

By Katy Gilmore
Port Townsend, Washington: Katy Gilmore, 2011. One-of-a-Kind.

9 x 6.25"; 200 pages. Altered book (The Great Conversation: The Substance of a Liberal education, ed. Robert Maynard Hutchins. Chicago, London, Toronto, Geneva, Sydney: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952). Tipped in original drawings. Handwriting. Stamping. Housed in an 8.75 x 14 x 2.25" custom-made, compartmentalized, and painted wooden box. Includes slips of paper and pencil.

Katy Gilmore, introduction: "Volume I of The Great Conversation is an
owner's manual of sorts, a guide to the 54 part series, Great Books of the Western World, published by the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1952. The text identifies the books a person educated in the liberal arts must read, and suggests how they should be read. The editors included only books published before 1900 - anything more recent was considered untested by time.

"When it came into my hands, this volume and its set mates had fallen on hard times. Deaccessioned, unwanted even in library book sales, it was available for rescue. You can still read all 10 chapters explaining the original project, but in this version, 'great conversation' refers to the connection we each have with books, and with libraries. I've added quotes about books in our lives, and illustrations of the comfort places where we escape into books, and most important of all - added book titles and authors."

This altered book in its original form was an introduction to the Western
canon as it existed in the minds of Robert Maynard Hutchins, Mortimer Adler, and others more than half a century ago. The conversation was between the authors and their works of that canon, carried out by means of allusion and reference.

Katy Gilmore has expanded and personalized this conversation, adjoining books and quotations from her own canon. In addition, by providing slips of paper and pencils, she leaves the temple door ajar for others to join in the conversation - the perfect low-tech blog.

Katy Gilmore, blog: "I kept thinking how many books were left out of their list, and also realized I couldn't bring myself to cut pages from an (ex) library book.

"By the editors' thinking, 'The Great Conversation' takes place between these books and their authors, one book or author to another. But I kept thinking of the conversations we readers have with books - inspiring, comforting, entertaining, educating dialogues.

"I began to picture an altered edition of the book, maybe even illustrated and expanded. Book titles alone intrigue me, so I had a little rubber stamp made saying Title/Author. I felt quite an old fashioned librarian, as I stamped around the book's text in margins and under headers. Then I drew a line around the stamped words leaving space for adding titles. I searched my old journals for titles of books I'd read and encountered quotes that seemed to belong to the project, so I glued them in. And in the best moment, the thought occurred to me that the book might be interactive - I could invite visitors to the exhibit to also add their favorites.

"At first I pictured the illustrations as black and white - like an old
edition of Dickens or Trollope - but instead made sketchy, faintly colored pictures of books on shelves and in the places where we find ourselves 'lost in a book.' The printer of my pocket books made digital prints of the drawings, and I added them to the book.

"I asked our cabinetmaker and his son (working together this summer) to make a box to hold the book. I had in mind simple, but they imagined and built a wonderful wooden box shaped like the book. The spine even though wood, seems to curve. Time grew short, I was reluctant to paint the box, but the builders insisted: 'Paint it - make it look like the book!'"

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Signs of Spring
By Katy Gilmore
Port Townsend, Washington: Katy Gilmore, 2008. One-of-a-Kind.

16 books: 5.9 x 6.5"; each 4 unnumbered pages. Each bound in bookcloth (of a variety of colors) with paper title on front. Illustrations handpainted by artist. Housed in 6.5 x 7.125 x 6.75" cloth covered slipcase.

This boxed set of foldbooks record a particular time and setting. It traces the struggle to capture what defines spring in the natural world in the particular part of the Northwest – from tabletop flowers in early January to the later explosion of color in blossom and woods and field.

Katy Gilmore: "In this series of foldbooks I set out to search for and record signs of spring in the long slow Washington season. More accustomed to the brief and frantic spring of the Far North, I find the pace here stately and deliberate. Buds appear, stall with weather setbacks, swell quickly in a warm rain, and then pause again in a cold wind. I had notions going in, maybe picturing an unbroken string of blossoms and the opportunity to take my paper outdoors. But this was a particular spring – one of late snows and cold – not much by way of 'warm airs.' In spite of the weather, trees and shrubs leafed out and blossomed as background to the little creatures, and not so little, going about their spring business. And it was never not beautiful.

"It is definitely a sign of spring to have a worktable full of flowers flooded by sunshine, daylight at 6 am, and light in the sky to go to bed by. I'm grateful to have had the chance to pay attention. ...

And more from Katy Gilmore: "The foldbooks have always been about immediacy – often taking the paper and paint into the garden – they are related to field journals, but much more stylized I suppose – but more able to respond to the season or the image than a large watercolor set up on my table. I paint the pages and cut the endpaper pages.The foldbooks are then bound by friends at the Watermark Bindery here in Port Townsend. They are all set up with glue, book cloth – it's fun to collaborate this way. In the past I have made artists' books, where I made the whole book – but my heart has always been most in the image and words on the page rather than structure."

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Commonplace Books
By Katy Gilmore
Port Townsend, Washington: Katy Gilmore, 1996. Series of 12, each unique.

10.75 x 7.75"; 12 leaves. Watercolor. Collage. Quotes. Pamphlet with stitched binding.

Katy Gilmore: "The concept of a commonplace book as a book in which things to be remembered are recorded, a concept more familiar in the last century than in ours, intrigues me. I am party attracted to the name because it contains the word common, but it means most special.

"When I worked on this series of watercolors, looking out the same window each month for a year, I also gathered, in a portfolio tabbed by month, an assortment of images and words: long-saved quotes and newly encountered quotes that inspire or define, studies for the watercolors and for illustrations, odd drawings, new drawings, pretty paper, old journal entries, and journey journal notes. The rules were lax: I could draw or paint things that attracted my attention, and I made them into commonplace books as another way of observing and recording the year."


Book 1 ... climate ...

Watercolors of tropical fruit and plants.

What a difference does climate make in the enjoyment of life. –Charles Darwin

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Book 2 … gestures of honor …

Watercolors of flowering gardens and cut flowers. Excerpts from fiction/non-fiction with advice on prevailing, not merely surviving..

Of course! The path to heaven / doesn't lie down in the flat miles. –Mary Oliver

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Book 3 ... something different ...

Watercolors; line drawings; journal entries, handwritten, about a trip to Spain.

A walk in Barcelona last night - fruit stands still open - packages of soup vegetables: leek, turnip, and carrots. Palm trees and temperate weather. ... –Katy Gilmore

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Book 4 … graphic reverence …

Watercolors; line drawings: the artist's tools.

The deliberate search for a personal style inevitably interferes with the validity of the work. –Rudolf Arnheim

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Book 5 ... illustrated aphorisms ...

Watercolors and collage.

Tomorrow is a new day: you shall begin it well and serenely. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Book 6 ... what is ...

Outline and notes of a proposed garden; watercolors of flowers and implements.

We do not, in our gardens, need rarities, nor more land, nor a better climate ... –Henry Mitchell

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Book 7 ... mountain walks ...

Journal entries, handwritten; watercolors

Walking out, Anchorage and the Alaska range spread out below. We see only one other group of hikers ... –Katy Gilmore

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Book 8 ... other stuff ...

Watercolors of vegetables

Most (if not all) that I need can be found within walking distance of my home. When traveling I regret the loss of a sense of change. –Andy Goldsworthy

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Book 9 ... particular features ...

Journal entries, handwritten; watercolors; line drawings

I'm here to join a gathering of people who keep illustrated field journals as part of their work. Painting now in my assigned room, small and comfortable ... –Katy Gilmore

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Book 10 … lovingly molded …

Making a house and home, how to excerpts in fiction and non-fiction. Watercolors.

My advice regarding those tiny little square windows is to let them go as long as possible. –Don Aslett

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Book 11 … attentive reconsideration …

Watercolors focus on household objects and paintings with the same.

It [the French tradition known as Intimism] assumes that the ordinary, day-to-day relationship of an artists' domestic life … is deeply interesting as a subject of painting.
–Robert Hughes

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Book 12 ... unregarded epiphanies ...

Watercolor collage; journal entries about Christmas and the holidays, handwritten; Thumb Print Cookies recipe.

At the core of Emerson's life from now on is this willed surrender, this giving oneself over to the unregarded epiphanies of every blessed day. – Robert D. Richardson, Jr.

Set of 12 (SOLD)

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Shoe Statements: Mismatches
By Katy Gilmore
Port Townsend, Washington: Katy Gilmore, 1990. Edition of 3.

4 x 4.5"; 6 unnumbered pages. Accordion structure of 6 original watercolor panels. Paper-covered boards with paper title label. Shoestring tie closure.

Finding a mate or a match is not easy. So many ways to go wrong. Ask these shoes.


Page last update: 07.17.16


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