Rhiannon Alpers, “Remnants”

Book and custom box with inset glass specimen panel

Book spread, macro photography, digital images and letterpress text

Book spread, macro photography, digital images and letterpress text

Book house in box and custom inset glass specimen panel containing Madagascan moon moth cocoon, Madagascan ammonite, Australian bottle tree pod, 3 lichen and moss test tube samples

Closed box with flap


Rhiannon Alpers (San Francisco, CA)

inkjet printing, letterpress printing, macro photography, hand papermaking
Edition of 20
24 pages + interleaved folios
7 x 25 x 2.5 open
7 x 11 x 2.5 closed

Rhiannon Alpers’ artwork is heavily tied to natural themes, and the untenanted remnants of plant and animal life. Many of her pieces are entrenched in the history and visual sensibility of cabinets of curiosities.

The works within this series seek to illuminate the beauty of tenements discarded in the natural process of creation, transformation and decay, through the perspective of scientific and naturalist documentation. There is a conceptual intrigue to her of the metaphor the remnants carry and embody long after the process within them has ceased.

Rhiannon is continually intrigued by the complex construction, variance of materials, yet similarity of form and structure that pods and chrysalides have, regardless of their maker. By working with natural elements such as wild silkworms, chrysalises, seed pods, ammonites and bones, she has come to understand a great deal more about materiality and the history and processes of entomological discovery with this series.

Her artistic process involves the study of historical figures, specifically women naturalists, in order to create an informed environment for found, curated and constructed curiosities, and as a means to comprehend and establish connections between them. The finished artist books incorporate components of her exploratory process, including handmade paper, macro photography, digital and letterpress printing.

Remnants Book Description:

Remnants brings the world of four historical women naturalists to life, and re-frames their narrative in a more personal context. The specimens included in the box are representative of their fields of study and are also photographically documented within the piece. They offer a tangible and personal connection to the discoveries and observations these women made. Remnants is an exploratory study of the small and delicate curiosities, created to better understand these women’s world by examining the vastness of our own.

The book and box set of Remnants contains a 4″ x 6” book with multi-layer milk-painted and waxed wooden covers, bound with vellum straps and upholsterer tacks. The book is letterpress printed with polymer plates on Moab Entrada Rag 300 paper, and digitally printed original macro photography of collected specimens relating to the four women naturalists. Each folio is interleaved with Hahnemühle Bugra paper and also letterpress printed. The 6.75″ x 10.75″ x 2” cloth covered clamshell variant box houses the natural specimens under museum glass, and cradles the book on the other half. The box interior is lined with Ultrasuede on one side, with elephant hide and bird of paradise handmade paper on the other. The artist book was produced in an edition of twenty in 2015.