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Rhiannon Alpers ~ Washington

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About: "Rhiannon Alpers, has an MFA in Book and Paper Arts from Columbia College Chicago and a BA in Book Arts from UC Santa Barbara, College of Creative Studies. She is a papermaker, letterpress printer and book artist.”

Finding Her Place
Jeanne Baret: The Woman Behind the Naturalist
By Rhiannon Alpers
San Francisco, California: Gazelle & Goat Press, 2018. Edition of 40. 9.5 x 8.75"; 8 sections. Removable magnetic spine binding opens completely back-to-back. Digitally produced specimen chart hidden within. Hahnemuhle Bugra Fawn folio maps letterpress printed from polymer plates, adapted from French expedition maps from the published logs “Voyage Autour du Monde par la Frégate du rio la Boudeuse et la Fluté L’Etoile,” with thanks to the Internet Archive for their digital copy of the book. Crane’s Lettra Ecru 90lb specimen folios letterpress printed from linoleum blocks and polymer plates. Plant outlines laser cut and secured with Japanese tissue. Laser cut specimens adapted from the original plant specimens collected by Commerson and Baret on the expedition, archived in the Museum of Natural History in Paris. Interleaved vellum sheets with macro photography by the artist laser printed on Neenah UV Ultra II. Spine bound with Gmund Bier Paper Accordion (made with brewer's spent grain). Signed and numbered by the artist.

Rhiannon Alpers: "When Jeanne Baret stepped on-board the Etoile ship in 1766, she didn’t set out to be the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. Alongside her colleague, accomplice and lover, Philibert Commerson, she took on many roles during the expedition as a botanist, herb woman, nurse, and cataloger of the more than 630 specimens they brought aboard.

"This limited edition artist book traces the expedition of the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, through the lens of the botanical discoveries she made along the ship’s journey. Jeanne Baret was not able to document the expedition herself, due to the forbidden nature of her passage on this journey, but her legacy has inspired many, and spurred the creation of this book."

Finding Her Place book
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A Thousand Starlings
By Rhiannon Alpers
San Francisco, California: Gazelle & Goat Press, 2016. Edition of 30.

5.5 x 7.25"; 20 pages. Flutter accordion construction. Written, illustrated, and printed by Rhiannon Alpers. Letterpress printed with photopolymer plates and monotype, with an under layer of hand painted stars beneath, on Somerset Velvet Black. The endsheets are Fabriano Tiziano Anthracite and bound in Asahi Grey Crepe bookcloth. Foil stamped birds and title. Secret Belgian binding with Italian film yarn. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Rhiannon Alpers: "The book explores an imagined journey, being carried through the comfort of one’s dreams. A journey guided by a murmuration of a thousand starlings, undulating and wisping through the evening sky, their soft voices calming and cooing as they head into the unknown.

"Metaphors abound in this book. The support system of family and friends manifests in the starlings, and the twilight evokes a sense of comfort and stability amidst the unknown. The many threads pulling the dreamer along in this world are the guiding voices that safely and carefully show us our way. When we steer off course they gently nudge us and support us as we explore an unknown route. Murmurations themselves have an astonishing and dreamlike effect. Their immense rhythm and flow symbolizes the thin line between the dream and day.

"Much of the symbolism also stems from the author’s rekindled interest in the long tradition of fables, passed on in her new nightly rituals of telling stories to small ears and eager eyes in the low light of the evening. It is in these final hours that our day fades away and our imagination is carried off to many wondrous places. "

A Thousand Starlings book
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Page last update: 04.03.2020


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