Lyall Harris and Patricia Silva, “The Things That Ride Out Time”

Box enclosure and book cover

Title page

Opening spread

Sewing on verso page and first recto text page

Closing spread detail


Lyall Harris and Patricia Silva (San Francisco, CA)

The Things That Ride Out Time
sewn fore-edge book, photography, various stitching, housed in a box
Edition of 2
Pages: 7
Dimensions open: 8 3/8 x 12 1/8 x 6 in
Dimensions closed: 8 3/8 x 6 x 3/8 in

The Things That Ride Out Time is based on a description of an everyday object from Alice McDermott’s novel, Charming Billy. Book artists Lyall Harris and Patricia Silva used this to inaugurate the first in a series of ongoing collaborative projects, begun in 2014.

Their collaboration process begins with one artist providing the inspiration and starting materials, in this case the McDermott passage and several pages with black and white photos; 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 developed into a poetic and material exploration of the common threads among these two artists, both expats living in Italy, married to Florentines, and mothers of daughters, and the concrete and ephemeral elements of their shared histories and presumed futures, of what, for them, will “ride out time.”

Technical/material description: The books, housed in a folded box, have sewn fore-edges and the page folds are sewn directly onto the covers. A poetic text (inkjet printed) on tissue paper is sewn into pages with black and white photos, color stitching, and semi-transparent elements. Other materials and techniques include: vintage wallpaper, Xerox transfers, piercing, and handwritten interventions.

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.