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Symposium on the Book Plenary: Suzanne Coley

Suzanne Coley
Special Collections Libraries Auditorium

Masked Purpose: The Aesthetics of Negative Space

Suzanne Coley writes:

"Can thoughts, emotions, and experiences be preserved and contributed for the collective benefit of humanity? Well known literary tools have been used to pass human experience through the ages. Livre d’Artiste, or book arts, is one of the counterpart art forms that can be used for this purpose.

One of my ongoing book art series, Love Sonnets from Shakespeare to Baltimore, employs a broad range of visual arts tools and the cultural depth of Shakespeare's sonnets to examine the universal aspects of human life. I will draw parallels between the seemingly simple structure, yet rich content, of Shakespeare’s sonnets and the design decisions throughout the books.

To gain more insight from this talk, an interested audience member is encouraged to read (out loud!) Shakespeare Sonnets 55 and 138 ahead of time. General information about book arts components and about the process can be gleaned from my previous talk at ACMRS."

Suzanne Coley's main artistic fields are printmaking, poetry, and book arts. She has pioneered the style of book making called "couture textile books," combining precision and intentionality of design with bold experimentation and abstraction. Over the past fifteen years, Suzanne has merged couture sewing techniques with embroidery and poetry in her art. Suzanne's fine art textile books are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution (National Museum of African Art Library), The Folger Shakespeare Library, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Her project Love Sonnets from Shakespeare to Baltimore, a series of couture textile books that include quilting, Shakepeare's sonnets, printmaking, and bookbinding, was supported with a Rubys 2020 grant by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. The historian of the African American Quilters of Baltimore, Suzanne created a two volume book documenting the members' quilting styles, aesthetic sensibilities, needle techniques and histories. She is a 2023-2024 Folger Shakespeare Library Fellow and a 2023-2024 Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Fellow.

This event will also be a Zoom broadcast. Please register HERE.

Free and welcome to the public!

About Symposium on the Book:

This two-day event unites talks from book historians and practicing book artists, featuring a plenary address by artist Suzanne Coley and panel featuring special guest Jennifer Low, an early modern scholar and apprentice book artist. The symposium will demonstrate the diversity and range of contemporary book arts and book history. Coley’s work uses second-hand African, American, and African American textiles to explore gender, race, and memory through the creation of exquisitely sewn, embroidered, and printed books.

Sponsors: The University of Georgia Willson Center, Departments of English and Romance languages, the Institute for African-American Studies, the Lamar-Dodd School of Art, the Institute for Women’s Studies, UGA Libraries, Bibliographic Society of America and the Office of Institutional Diversity.

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