Questionnaire for Two Pussies
letterpress printed artist’s book, hand bound
9.5 x 6.25 x .5″
The manuscript is by Denise Duhamel & Maureen Seaton. This book records a feminist conversation between Duhamel and Seaton, regular collaborators for decades in both verse and prose. Denise Duhamel is a distinguished university professor in the MFA program at Florida International University. Maureen Seaton is a LGBTQ poet, activist, and professor emerita of English/Creative Writing at the University of Miami.
Contributor Mary Malm is a Miami-based painter, illustrator, and educator. She received her MFA in painting from the University of Miami in 1994, and has been teaching painting since 1995.
Tom Virgin is a printmaker/educator who received his MFA in printmaking from the University of Miami in 1994. He has been engaged with book arts since 2002.
Q42P is 9.5 in x 6.25 in x .5 in. The book is 25 pages, printed on French Paper’s Poptone Bubblegum, with a cover that is white stained, maple veneer, laser cut, and attached to the book block with hand-sewn tackets. The book is bound with waxed linen thread, reinforced on the spine with Okawara paper and wrapped with pink bias tape. All pages are hand printed on a 1949 Vandercook 4 Proof Press using Avenir Bold and Book (using polymer plates), wood type, and linoleum plates. This book is an edition of 50.
This book was made possible in part from a 2018 Creator Award from Oolite Arts, one of Miami’s largest support organizations for visual artists. I proposed a series of five books that would examine our community and its pressing issues, using manuscripts from notable writers in Miami. This book, the second in the series, brought me to feminism, #metoo, and a recognition my own need for enlightenment in these conversations. I have printed broadsheets for both of the writers, and they offered their collaborative manuscript with no qualms.
As I began the process of filling out the book with something that merged image and words, based on multiple readings of the text, metaphors and images developed. However the images did not always connect on the pages of mock ups that resulted. I reached out to a long time friend, and extensive reader, Mary Malm, who agreed to read the text, and offer suggestions. Over the course of a few months of reading, my collaborator brought tangible connections between images and text in the manuscript. After a month of printing color proofs of plates, Mary’s images, a mixture of painted abstractions based in her relationship to the text, merged with each of our drawings, and brought me to my own connections in the text.
My need to explain printing to a painter, was difficult until we both began working with monochromatic studies. I printed a second wall of color proofs that stayed within a range of color that we agreed upon, based on the narrative and our instincts. The text again brought the book more fully into focus. A significant amount of painting was cut into linoleum to give us the separations we were looking for. In the end, on a Zoom discussion about collaboration between the four of us, we talked at length about how closely the work between the visual artists mirrored the writing process. Each of us found close links within the book, from the image, to the text, to our original intentions.