Kieu: I know you've recently finished a new artist's book. Can you tell us a little about it? Will we see it at the Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair?
Sarah: I began the design for Biography a year and a half ago after making a few prints about the periodic table. I wanted to create a book that explored the role of these chemical elements as both the discrete ingredients in our bodies, and the visual system way we’ve chosen to simplify and codify the world around us. The book introduces the table in an early spread with the elements present in the human body printed in specific colors. These colors identify the same elements throughout the book in a series of diagrams illustrating the chemical composition of the crust of the earth, sea water, and a variety of weapons, medicines, and man-made building materials.
I’m in the process of binding the book now and I’ll have several copies of it with me at the fair.
Kieu: You do a lot of letterpress printing in your work. What do you enjoy about letterpress printing?
Sarah: Letterpress has a lot to offer for me. It allows me to be in control of the process, and offers me a chance to experiment with varying methods of image production. It is ideal for editioning, which is critical. The traditional connection to publishing is also important to me. My books often draw from reference materials and educational printed matter, and I like that the process is related to the theme of the works.
Kieu: Can you share with us three books (artist's books, literature, etc.) that have influenced or inspired you in some way?
Sarah: Reference material of all kinds has always held a special place for me. In addition to my encyclopedias and old science books I collect Baedecker travel guides from the late 19th-early 20th century. These books were mass-produced with such sweet attention to details (half inch fold-outs to include certain elements in maps, for example) despite added costs. I enjoy reading the out of date information; which steam ship to take, how to pack, local customs, etc. I love this once useful set of information. I have a great Northern Germany guide from the 1920’s with descriptions of Dresden before the firebombing.
In Artist’s Book Land, Barb Tetenbaum’s Gymnopaedia #4 is a winner with me. And I’ll just admit right now that I love Watership Down.
Kieu: What do you look forward to doing or seeing at the Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair?
Sarah: Without a doubt I am most looking forward to seeing the other tables at the fair! It is such a luxury to be able to wander around a room and see what other artists and publishers are doing, to handle their books and talk to them (the people, not the books). I will be sharing a table with Jessica Peterson (of Paper Souvenir), a great friend who lives a thousand miles away, and we will probably spend a lot of the day laughing.
Kieu: And for the random question of the day -- I think all of us have very diverse interests. If you could have another career in addition to being an artist, what would you choose?
Sarah: I enjoy teaching books, so maybe I’d teach something else? God knows. Fireman?