Date of Award

8-2002

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Owen Smith

Second Committee Member

Susan Groce

Third Committee Member

Susan B. Wesley

Abstract

For the project I have developed a series of four artist's books from material I have collected pertaining to my family history. Over the last four years I have collected written narratives, photographs, tape-recorded interviews, genealogies, letters, electronic communications, and other documents. The first book in the series is an accordion-style book contrasting a trip my Great Grandmother took to Yellowstone National Park by covered wagon from Oklahoma Territory in 1903 with my trip from Maine to the same park in 1978. Though technology had changed the mode of transportation, and the intervening years had seen changes in many other things, the images recorded in 1978 are remarkably similar to those in 1903. The second book in the series was taken from a typed narrative written by my Grandmother about her childhood in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. It is the story of a pet chicken, Rook, and takes the form of a children's book with large linoleum block images, large type, and few words on each page. The third book in the series commemorates my two children, Philip and Jennifer, and combines images and text along with mementoes from their pasts. Two accordion-style books are enclosed in a case that rests on top of a box containing memorabilia. The last book in the series traces my matrilineal line back seven generations, from my Great Great Great Grandmother down to my daughter. The images are photographs of each woman transferred on to silk and embellished with beads and sequins. The text for each is a biography telling each woman's story. The format of the book is accordion with signatures sewn into the folds. For this project I have taken information about the family that speaks to me and I have researched historical information pertaining to the particular event or time and have created a series of artist's books using a variety of formats that document, in part, who I am and where I come from Though there are four books created so far, the family material collected over the past four years demands more, so that I see this thesis project as a beginning rather than as a finished entity.

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