To Sit With Animals
In almost all of my work a book is built upon the spine of the text. A text that speaks to me from an author I respect is then paired with art work that I feel is sympatico with the words. By that I mean images that resonate with or are in contrast to the words. I never associate an image of a duck next to a poem about a duck. The art I choose can be very different from the words, so it is left to the reader to make the connection. To me it is obvious. Or maybe not.
In this case I have always loved the work of Cuban artist Sigfredo Mendoza. I watched him working at the Taller Experimental de Grafíca for a number of years before asking him to collaborate on projects with me. When I gave him linoleum blocks to cut I had no idea what he would do. In this book his images came before the words. Imagine my surprise when he gave me these elegant anthropomorphized blocks of furniture elements turned into creatures!
Once I saw the linocut proofs I sent a set to poet Mary Wehner. Over the following months Mary came up with words to sing alongside the linocuts. It was such a pleasure to watch the words develop.
After printing the pages I could not figure out what to do with the binding wrappers. Nothing seemed right. Here is where my companion serendipity came into play. I was having car tires changed and was waiting next to a pile of tires that included mine. Looking closely I saw these beautiful tread patterns. It clicked immediately. I photographed the pile and you can see that pattern printed on the outside and the inside of the paper wrappers. Perfect.