Denise Bookwalter & Lee Emma Running
Denise Bookwalter and Lee Emma Running have been working collaboratively since 2013 through residencies and weekly skype meetings. Their collaboration began at Small Craft Advisory Press at Florida State University. What was, at first, a single book has become a second book, a series of sculptural installations, and prints on paper and leather. Our first book, Lining, was a wooden cover, lined with rabbit fur. Each page was lined with fabric, and the entire book was an experience in touch. Lining sold out in its first year, and is in museum and library collections all over the world including the New York Public Library Rare Books Room, the Godine Library at the Massachusetts College of Art, and Temple University Special Collections.
Our process has been to develop a book, and then build an installation based on these ideas. In Lining: Sheathing, the artists book was an experience in touch and the fabric worn next to the skin, while Sheathing was an installation that protected the viewer inside a handmade jacket, inside a canvas tent, surrounded by images on handmade paper. We have common interests in the tactile nature of garments and textiles, and often use raw material in our imagery. We see the book and the installation as similar forms, in that each one is experienced through the eyes and the body of the viewer.
The success of this book led to a winter residency at Penland School of Crafts and a two-week residency combined with a solo exhibition at Constellation Studios in Lincoln, NE. At the two residencies we we completed monumental works of hand printed fabric and prints on handmade paper that became the installation Sheathing. In January of 2018 we were invited to be artists in residence in the printmaking department at Western Carolina University in tandem with a solo museum show of Sheathing. This installation included a three story site-specific window installation in the museum’s atrium.
In 2019 our new book Fashioning will debut at Codex Foundation Book Fair and Symposium in New York. This leather covered accordion book is worn on the hands of the viewer like a garment. Inside the book the pages are printed with rubbings taken from embellished garments. We are in the process of completing a series of etchings and pressure prints on leather and silk to build into an exhibition to accompany this book.
At the Morgan we will develop a suite of handmade paper works building on the images and techniques used in Fashioning.
When we developed the installation Sheathing, we used the measurements of a queen bed to set up many objects in the space. The bed set the measurements for the tent structure and for the sheets of paper that held the woodblock prints. Making the molds and the paper for the installation opened up new ways for us to work as artists. Building repeated prints based on 5 X 8 foot paper was a unique design challenge. Making these huge sheets of paper that truly felt like fabric allowed us to work intuitively with our unique skill sets. Running is a papermaker and Bookwalter a printmaker. Both have trained in traditional and experimental forms. At the Morgan we will develop a new series of paper works that use custom made molds, and combinations of paper, fabric, and leather to build a unique set of large format drawings. The residency will provide the necessary studio time for in person collaboration between Bookwalter and Running.