His books begged me to touch them. I obeyed.
Loom, Wagener’s collaboration with the New Zealand poet, Alan Loney, pairs Wagener’s wood engraved loom prints with lines from the poem throughout 40 exquisite pages. The images and text explore the question of connection and “the thread of life itself.”
Published by Nawakum Press , only 46 deluxe editions (those bright red covers) and 30 slipcased copies of Loom were made. The bindings of each are hand sewn on linen tape and laced into a limp paper case made of Handmade PC4 Blue from Timothy Barrett at the University of Iowa Center for the Book.
The handcut woodblock prints on each spread are unbelievably fine. The lines, the shading, the way the eyes convey a sense of how the fabric of the loom feels. My photo of a photo of the print doesn’t do it justice. Take a look at the website. There’s also a film, showing Wagener carving one of the loom patterns.
His images offer up a zen-like sense of eternity, the orderliness of the woven sections all unraveling. I am reminded of the way I attempt to create order when entropy would have it otherwise. The act of creation, whether of a life or of art, is an act of weaving, sitting at the loom, thread over, thread under, knowing that sometime down the road, the ends will release the pattern.
These images are perfectly paired with Loney’s poem:they say at the gates of Hades two rivers flow drink from one for oblivion drink from the other for memory beyond that the white cypress may be the last thing you see whether hero villain or nobody is out of your hands this is where you let go (excerpt from “Loom” by Alan Loney)
The engraver and poet are collaborating on a new book, “Vestiges,” coming out this February. Wagener’s other books can be found on his website.
Even more intriguing? The CODEX Book Fair, held Feb. 8-11, 2015 in Richmond, California.“Digital is dead, at least for one week this coming February. Over 200 of the world’s most distinguished book artists and artisans, private presses, and fine art publishers will be exhibiting their work…THIS IS THE LARGEST BOOK FAIR OF ITS KIND IN THE WORLD TODAY!”
How can I NOT go to this event? I wonder if that infamous book thief will be browsing the exhibits?