Lyall Harris and Patricia Silva, “Notes from Overseas”

Book cover and enclosure

Overall interior

Opening recto detail

Middle spread overview

Closing page and inside back cover


Lyall Harris and Patricia Silva (San Francisco, CA)

Notes from Overseas
dyed paper, folded pocket structure, drawing, pamphlet stitch, appropriated ephemera, housed in a sleeve
Edition size: 2

Dimensions open: 6 7/8 x 19 1/2 x 9 7/8 in
Dimensions closed: 6 7/8 x 9 7/8 x 1/4 in

Book artists Lyall Harris and Patricia Silva used a folded pocket structure, old postage stamps, and a title label as the starting points for this collaborative project, Notes from Overseas.

Their collaboration process begins with one artist providing the inspiration and starting materials; the receiving artist then works for 2 weeks, bringing the project to a “halfway” point, materials may be added or edited during this phase without straying too far from the initial supplies provided; the project is then given back to the originating artist who finishes the books in two weeks time (edition size 2).

This project found further inspiration from diaries and travel journals, maps and other ephemera. A daughter’s reflections about inheriting her mother’s diary and letters serve as the primary writing while, elsewhere in the project, other autobiographical text is imbedded in research findings about memory. Amorphous patterns, created by initially dying the paper before folding, suggested topographical forms, which led to an exploration of map-related imagery. This contributed to the book’s themes of journeys, memory, and loss.

Technical/material description: The folded books, housed in sleeves, were dyed in water-based paint and folded into pocket structures. The project contains maps, stamps, envelopes, drawings, photography, overlaying translucent sheets, sewn elements and removable sections. Images and text are inkjet printed, some drawn elements are original.

In all of the joint projects to date, the finished books seem rooted in a unified aesthetic and made by one hand. More than a set intention, this is a natural outcome of the collaboration between these two artists.