A Call To Book Artists
- A few years ago I participated in a collaboration with my friend and fellow
artist Bonnie Thompson Norman: I did an illustration and she did the
printing of a broadside of a poem called "I Was In A Hurry" by Dunya
Mikhail. This was in response to a call for printers to show solidarity
with the booksellers of Mutanabbi street, in Baghdad, where a car bomb had
devastated this area, know for the rich life it provided writers and anyone
who loves books. The broadsides have been shown in various galleries and
universities since the collection was put together in 2007.
Above is a call for any book artist who wants to enter their work in another
phase of this project: to show continuing support for the freedom of the
press and ideas, there will be a second show only this time it will be
Below is what Bonnie and I used to describe our collaboration. And here is
a link to one of the libraries that has a set of the broadsides: there are
"I WAS IN A HURRY" by Dunya Mikhail
Printed by Bonnie Thompson Norman
Drawing by Jill Littlewood
Bonnie Thompson Norman and Jill Littlewood have been collaborating in
various ways since they met at the Woman's Building in 1980. The "Mutanabbi
Street Starts Here " project touched both of them deeply because of their
love of books: the writing, the illustration, the papermaking, the printing
and binding ; the knowledge and stewardship of the booksellers and
librarians who make books available for all to appreciate. The devastation
libraries and bookstores in Iraq is a great loss for the entire world.
It is this keen sense of loss that Dunya Mikhail captures in her poem "I Was
in a Hurry." Jill's response was a drawing of a figure and an object
sketched in vigorous, calligraphic lines, which in turn inspired Bonnie to
give an equally dynamic shape to the poem. The sense of fleeing was
emphasized by the placement of the type so that the lines fell in a
seemingly random way, rushing forward.
Bonnie chose colors found in early manuscripts from the region and added
bronze powder to the freshly printed ink as an homage to the venerable
tradition of illuminated Persian miniatures (many of which must have surely
been lost in the destruction).
The process of printing was, for Bonnie and Jill, a meditation on the
anguish this war has caused. The beauty of the poet's language felt like a
gift...it allowed us to share with her the burden she must feel.
Bonnie Thompson Norman
The Windowpane Press
4243 NE 92nd St.
Seattle, WA 98115
435 E. Pedregosa
Santa Barbara, CA 93103
435 E. Pedregosa, Santa Barbara, California, USA, 93103
home: (805) 898-9260 cell (805) 448-2045
President, Friends of Dard Hunter, Inc.
2010: Oct.18-24,Arrowmont, Gatlinburg, TN
2011: Month of October, Regional meetings
2012: Oct 17-21 Joint FDH and IAPMA meeting @
Morgan Conservatory, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
From: Bonnie Thompson Norman [mailto:inkdart@...]
Sent: Sunday, August 29, 2010 11:47 AM
To: Littlewood, Jill
Subject: Fwd: An Inventory Of Al-Mutanabbi Street - A Call To Book Artists
This is what I mentioned to you last week. We'll both put it in the back of
our minds and think on it for a while to attack when the time works.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: overlandbooks@... <overlandbooks@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 7:42 AM
Subject: An Inventory Of Al-Mutanabbi Street - A Call To Book Artists
To: overlandbooks <overlandbooks@...>
Dear Printers, Poets, Book Artists, And Friends Of The Project
I'm hoping that you all will read ( and if you are a book artist) will
consider joining this new project from the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition.
Please read the attachment and write back to Sarah Bodman or myself that you
will join us.
Please post this call on your websites, send it to fellow book artists and
colleagues, make it travel far and wide!!
that what we want
is not at all
what it has come to give us"
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]