Books On Books Collection – Susan Happersett

Conch (1999)

Conch (1999)

Susan Happersett

Sixfold accordion consisting of 9 image panels and 3 text panels (including cover panel) on Mohawk Superfine. Closed: H157 x W76 mm; Open: H157 x W900 mm. Edition of 55. Acquired from Boekie Woekie, 29 October 2019.

From the colophon: “This series of mathematical drawings is based on the growth patterns of conch shells and the Fibonacci sequence.”

First panel

Fourth and eighth panels

Panels 4-9 and colophon panels

The Happersett Accordion (2001)

The Happersett Accordion (2001)

Susan Happersett & Purgatory Pie Press

Folded white card box, letterpress in black ink, with black card sleeve, letterpress in silver-colored ink, H65 x W152 mm, enclosing an accordion-fold Möbius strip, with black- & white-ink images, each composed of 13 marks based on the “Fibonacci growth number 13”. H39 x W144 mm. Edition of 100, of which this is #41 and signed. Acquired from Kelmscott Book Shop, 2 July 2020.

The images on the Möbius strip look like Chinese language characters. According to the joke-filled certificate of authority (see below), they are composed of 13 mystical marks, based on the “Fibonacci growth number 13”. That the 13th number in the Fibonacci sequence, the number which is the sum of the 11th (55) and twelfth (89) numbers in the sequence: 144. It is also the first number in the sequence that is the square of a whole number (12), which metaphorically “squares” with the squarish images. Sans magnifying glass — even with a magnifying glass — it is hard to discern the “13 mystical marks”, much less the order and position in which they progress from image to image. No matter, it is the “idea of it” that counts, as in so many conceptual works of art.

From a book art perspective, what works so well here is the juncture of the Fibonacci sequence with the tangible mystery of the Möbius strip made by hand, printed by hand, typeset by hand and presented in a handmade box. As with Conch, this work is a collaboration with Esther K. Smith and Dikko Faust, but more so than Conch, The Happersett Accordion displays the whimsical humor as well as inventiveness so much on display in book art — in particular at Purgatory Pie Press.

Further Reading

Animals : Humans : {Creative Manifestations}”, Department of Mathematics, Brown University. Accessed 23 June 2020.

Happersett, Susan. Fibonaccisusan.com. Accessed 23 June 2020.

Happersett, Susan. Mathematical Meditations. Accessed 23 June 2020.

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