Books On Books Collection – Carol DuBosch

In these additions to the Collection, Carol DuBosch joins the art of calligraphy and the art of the fold at the hip. The subtlety and fineness in her execution of both reward multiple viewings from multiple angles and repeated manipulation.

Rainbow Alphabet Snowflake (2013)

Rainbow Alphabet Snowflake (2013)
Carol DuBosch
Star book enclosed in flap purse. H4”x W5.5”x .D75” closed, W8.5” diameter open. Edition of 20, of which this is #1. Acquired from the artist, 17 November 2022.
Photos: Books On Books Collection. Displayed with artist’s permission.

A frequent activity in book art is the thematic challenge. In 2010 from her studio in Maleny, Queensland, Australia, Fiona Dempster initiated an annual global challenge to calligraphers to create a letter a week. The challenge ran through 2014 and generated not only outstanding works of calligraphy but artists’ books as well. Two of these works came from Carol DuBosch.

Standing at the check-out counter of my art supply shop, I found myself gazing at a cabinet filled with bright color note cards and envelopes. I decided to take home a handful and try to make a book I had just become familiar with: Snowflake Book. I realized that the colorful notecards would be perfect for the pages of a Snowflake Book. And indeed, they were! Each module page of this book is made from two of the folded notecards. I simply added another fold to one of them and cut out the rectangle window. I printed six of my alphabet designs on acetate transparencies and attached them to view in the windows. The book opens fully to form a star-shape. The front & back cover attach using hidden strong magnets. — Carol DuBosch, 16 November 2022, Correspondence with Books On Books.

No two snowflakes are alike, yet they are all snowflakes. Taking her cue from this, DuBosch offers up five distinctive alphabets in her star-cum-snowflake book structure and, in one view, goes twenty-six better with a distinctive style for each letter.

Video: Courtesy of Carol DuBosch

Following in the tradition of so many artists, DuBosch creates and teaches. This next work neatly exemplifies that, reveals some of the techniques by which she achieves the subtlety in her work, and demonstrates her mastery of each.

Alphabet of Calligraphic Tricks (2014)

Alphabet of Calligraphic Tricks (2014)
Carol DuBosch
Double-sided leporello. H4” x W4” x D.75” closed, W4’8” open. Unique. Acquire from the artist, 17 November 2022.
Photos: Books On Books Collection. Displayed with artist’s permission.

I made this collection of techniques to share with students in class. It is compact and easy to transport and set up as a display in classes. Each page is a Gothic majuscule rendered with specified materials or tools. The caption outlines the process. The book was a project for A Letter A Week in 2014, administered by Fiona Dempster in Australia. Each participant organized a project incorporating letters and posted each week. I was able to complete two different alphabet books during the year. The binding style is a Leporello, a form of Concertina fold books. The entire book is created by overlapping pieces of cardstock folded in half. This method of binding creates a sturdy book that opens for display on both sides easily. — Carol DuBosch, 16 November 2022, Correspondence with Books On Books.

DuBosch’s concluding comment above highlights an abiding concern with what the structure of a work contributes to function. A similar function is achieved in the next very different structure that Hedi Kyle has labeled as “Interlocking Loops” and DuBosch calls a “gallery structure”.

Embossed Alphabet Gallery (2019)

Embossed Alphabet Gallery (2019)
Carol DuBosch
Gallery structure combining leporello, flag and star book forms. H6.25”x W1.25”x D.5” closed, W9” open for display. Edition of 15, of which this #1. Acquired from the artist, 17 November 2022.
Photos: Books On Books Collection. Displayed with artist’s permission.

This book was made as an edition for a book-exchange. I wanted to use the Gallery structure and chose the alphabet as the subject. I used an embossing stencil I had made thirty years ago for the letters. I found parent sheets of the linen textured card stock, and it was excellent for the folding and embossing. I’ve always enjoyed the quote about the mystic art of writing by William Massey and was delighted to find a place for it in this structure. — Carol DuBosch, 16 November 2022, Correspondence with Books On Books.

The many ways of displaying this sculpture and its gallery of letters might cause the viewer to miss how they counterpoint the end of the quotation from William Massey’s The Origin and Progress of Letters (1763). The effect recalls the gray-white of Greek and Roman sculpture, many of which originally were painted.

Further Reading/Watching

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Dempster, Fiona. 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. A Letter a Week.

DuBosch, Carol. 2020. The Calligraphic Coronavirus Chronicles Book. Portland: Carol DuBosch. Posted on YouTube by The Oregon Food Bank, 18 November 2020. Accessed 1 November 2022.

DuBosch, Carol. 2018. Folded Pen Adventures. Portland: Carol DuBosch.

Kyle, Hedi, and Ulla Warchol. 2018. The Art of the Fold How to Make Innovative Books and Paper Structures. London: Laurence King Publishing. See review here.

Paper & Ink Arts. 5 June 2014. “Calligrapher’s Corner: Consulting with the Experts, Volume 4 Carol DuBosch“. Paper & Ink Arts. Accessed 1 November 2022.

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