One last reflection post. Before the close of term, I wanted to write a few thoughts about how my essay evolved, since I did not write an ideas post a few weeks back.
Originally, I was interested in studying early printing pioneers, particularly women. Although the topic is not necessarily closely connected to the future/present existence of the book, I found it to be a woefully under-researched area of study, and thus a contemporary concern. In particular, I thought I would investigate Emily Faithfull, who founded an all-women press in Scotland in the 19th century, and later went on to print for Queen Victoria. I did not know her story, among others (including early renaissance nuns in Florence!) until I read Johanna Drucker’s essay “Intimate Authority: Women, Books, and the Public-Private Paradox” in The Book as Art: Artists’ Books from the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The research on the topics of early presswomen and women involved in book production is somewhat disappointingly scarce. I realized that it would be a project which required more time and thus would be better suited to a long-term plan in which I could dedicate the investigation time it deserves. Especially because the archive of Emily Faithfull is in London, at LSE…so perhaps a trip is in order!
Returning to the eventual path which I decided to take with my paper: evolved out of reading the essay referred to above, written by Professor Drucker, and into the topic of artists’ books! I was very interested in how artists’ books evolved, why, and where they are today, both physically and conceptually. I was also inspired by Professor Ducker’s 2010 interview with the University of Oregon about artists’ books (I came across this latter resource thanks to Professor Greta Golick, in my workshop class this term, De/constructing books. We had the amazing opportunity to spend time with a beautiful selection of pieces from the Fisher library’s diverse collection of artists’ books!). On a complete side note, I wholeheartedly suggest watching any of the easily available videos on YouTube which feature Professor Drucker giving talks or interviews – she is such an engaging speaker! Her passion and joy is palpable. Check out the one below.