by Heather Watkins
Using the medieval book of hours as a point of departure, this book by Portland artist Heather Watkins explores ideas of memory and time, ritual and alchemy.
Using a chemical process she devised for the project, Watkins treated 24 offset printing plates that were used to print the pages of the book. On press, the treated plates accepted ink in surprising ways, creating analog images that “developed” through the process of printing. The images, printed in 24 different shades of dark blue ink, are reminiscent of water and waves, rivulets and eddies, primordial creation and geological erosion. Each plate was used to print a press sheet, which was then folded down to create a 16-page signature in the finished book. Motifs repeat rhythmically across the spreads, and fingerprints and fold marks echo the ritualistic repetitions of the book’s creation. The book is scaled for intimate interaction, with a multitude of bookmark ribbons that add to the composition in ways that change with every viewing.