April 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Alice!

Noted book artist Alice Austin celebrates another year of creativity today.

Most of Alice's art books draw from her experiences of daily life. And much of that experience centers around food. Works reflecting this focus include the classic "Coffee" (1999), "Milk, Butter, Eggs" (2004), "Meatball Math" (2005), and "Dance of Six Dinner Plates" (2006).

My favorite? Of these four, probably Meatball Math. I love the recipe to make all 1408 (a year's worth for her family) at once. And the way it stands three-dimensionally, and then folds flat into the silhouette of a house. Elegant and whimsical, in one.

Her full collection of books deals with birth, death, and many of the events big and small within that cycle. My favorite shifts depending on what's happening in my own life at the time, in the way that art always speaks to us differently as the lens of our experience changes how we view it. I am drawn to "Red, Yellow, Blue" when I feel happy and reflective; and to "Tides" when loss touches me. But who or what I think of when I see them changes each time.

A few works in her book collection can still be purchased; but many have been taken by individual collectors, museums, and universities. A good sampling can be viewed at her website, along with examples of her paintings and sculpture.

Bon apetite, Alice! May your work continue to feed you, as it nourishes us.

1 comment:

Amazing Grazer said...

Alice's work now appears in "500 Handmade Books." Check the column at right for a link to it.