Jody Williams, “For Now”

Jody Williams
Minneapolis, Minnesota

For Now
Artist’s book of 4 boxes, with vials of dust attached to archival inkjet-printed accordion Sakamoto paper pages. Book folds up into a small, tall cube with magnetic closures. Boxes and 4-sided cover constructed from bookbinder’s board covered with Intaglio-printed kozo paper. Edition of 44.
Closed box: 2.75 x 2 x 2″; Accordion spreads open to 10″

Artist Statement

The original intention of For Now was to be a book about dust included in a solo exhibition, Shadows and Dust, in 2016, but I ran out of time. How to include actual dust in a book was one of the many obstacles that set me back.

With each of my artist’s books I try to use a different box structure to challenge myself. Sometimes that structure is the starting point, as it was with For Now. To include dust, I decided to design a book comprised of four two-sided boxes each holding a separate vial of dust, attached to four accordion-folded pages. How to close this up into a concise whole presented many structural problems, which I worked out with a series of mock-ups.

The actual contents and content decisions came after I had the structure. I starting thinking and reading about the number four and its multitudinous associations, narrowing them down to the four elements and directions: West/Water, North/Earth, East/Air and South/Fire. For each of these pairs, I chose a specific place from my own experiences to develop the content. My oldest brother lived in Hawaii, to the west, surrounded by water. I live in the northern state of Minnesota on terra firma. Flying east, I spent a semester in the Burren in Ireland, marveling in the ever-changing, yet very specific qualities of its air and atmosphere. My grandparents moved south to Florida when I was four years old, and there were many fiery family visits there over the years, as well as a recent trip with a friend under very different circumstances.

I used illustrations from medieval illuminated manuscripts as inspiration for the imagery, scanning drawings collected in my sketchbooks over the past 20 years. I am fascinated with the history of those early books that continues to influence artists and writers today, as well as their innovative means of integrating text with images.

In many ways, I feel that For Now is just a starting point, and that I could have continued working on it for much longer, but these four elements and places are what I ended up with for now.

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