Ellen Sheffield ~ Ohio


The Book of Days and Nights
By Janet McAdams
Gambier, Ohio: Unit IV Arts, 2005. Edition of 3.

11 x 5.75"; 16 pages. Japanese stab binding. Adhesive transfer process and paper collage.

Ellen Sheffield: "The Book of Days and Nights is the title of the poem, the text in the book, by Janet McAdams, used with her permission. She described the writing of the poem as a 'reduce the soup' exercise. She kept a travel journal adding entries each day until the end of the journey when she began the reduction process – taking out lines of text each day until she had boiled it down to the final poem. Inspired by this process I used an adhesive transfer process, adhering paper collages to matt contact paper and soaking them until the paper backing rubbed off and the ink was left on the transparent surface, my own version of a reduction process. In layering these vinyl-like sheets of contact paper transferred images with transparencies containing inkjet printed text to create a book of translucent pages, my intention was to float the poem in a visual soup."


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By Susan Stewart
Gambier, Ohio: Unit IV Arts, 2004. Edition of 3.

6 x 6" closed, opens to 30 x 6"; 6 beeswax-coated pages. Shaped accordion structure. Pages share a common horizontal bottom with deckled edge, but the top edges are cut and slanted, so that when fully opened the page tops dip and then rise, appearing like the wings of an abstract bird. Handmade paper. Collage. Bound in feather-covered boards in a piano-hinge structure.

Ellen Sheffield: "While visiting Kenyon College, the poet Susan Stewart gave a reading which included her poem, 'Wings.' By way of introducing it she explained that it was a dialogue poem - a conversation she had had with her then eight-year-old son that began with his question to her, 'Would you want wings?' Her son's insistent and repetitive questioning was so true to life (my three children were similarly tough questioners). Susan's poetic interpretation brought extraordinary beauty and grace to the simple interaction. I talked with her at length after the reading and she generously gave me permission to make an artist book using the poem as the text. The images are from my photos taken from an airplane window and old flight maps (from a friend's father who was a pilot in the Vietnam War) with the pages coated in beeswax."

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Ellen Sheffield Out of Print Titles:  
Cite/Site Specific
Evans v. Merriweather 4 OH 492 (1842)
By Ellen Sheffield
Gambier, Ohio: Unit IV Arts, 2001. One-of-a-Kind.

8 x 6"; 8 pages. Accordion. Transfers on Rives.

Ellen Sheffield: "Cite/Sight Specific is a concrete poem I wrote based on the briefing of an actual legal case about riparian (water) rights woven together with an accounting of Tibetan monks carrying the colored sand from a mandala they had created in the library at Kenyon College down the hill to pour as a blessing into the Kokosing River. As a law school student I spent three years briefing cases and often daydreamed about creating poetry from the visually rich legal language of property law – this artist book is one of many using legal language as found poetry."

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Daylily Pollen Sampler
By Ellen Sheffield
Gambier, Ohio: Unit IV Arts, 2008. One-of-a-Kind.

7.25 x 6"; 22 pages. Double accordion structure, with two double-sided accordions (one side has photographs of day lilies, the opposite side has corresponding pollen samples) backed to each other with every other fold attached so that when pulled open the photographs can be seem on the inside of a collapsing/expanding 4-sided polygon.

Ellen Sheffield: "In the summer the gardens along Middle Path in our small village are a riot of color with every variety of day lily blooming. I photographed the lilies, and collected samples of pollen from each variety to use as pigment in this color sample artist book. I was a bit disappointed to find that the pollen was all the same shade of yellow, although I gave each sample its own distinct name. I was further dismayed to discover that the pollen evaporated and faded shortly after applying it to the stitched sampler pages. I gathered more pollen and 'fixed' it with beeswax (most likely a crime against nature) and transferred the daylily photos to the inside of the double accordion with mat medium."

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Page last update: 09.26.12


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