Judging a Book by Its Cover at the Ohio Craft Museum

Tristan Eden

On the Page: The Book as Art, on view at the Ohio Craft Museum from July 12 to Aug. 23, is an exhibition composed of 15 artists' interpretations of what a book can be, some "using the definition of 'book' loosely," curator Tracy Rieger says. "[They are] one-of-a-kind pieces, more like a sculpture." The 50 pieces in the show offer a cohesive look at contemporary book art and artists. "It's fascinating seeing the different interpretations," Rieger says. "Why do these artists see their work as books? How do they think about them?"

Here, we take a closer look at one of the pieces: "Egg Book," a 2008 creation by Nashville-based book artist Lesley Patterson-Marx.

"I like to mimic objects that have some history to them, that have some age," Patterson-Marx says. "I aim to make my books look old and weathered like they've had some sort of history."

"The covers are made from birch plywood. I painted the covers with milk paint, which has a similar consistency to tempera paint. I painted the wood dark blue, then let it dry, then painted white over it, then sanded it down and used steel wool."

"At the time I made 'Egg Book,' my son was very small-about 3-so I think motherhood inspired it. I spent a lot of time walking, and I was observing a lot of birds at that time. It influenced my symbolism: bird mothers and human mothers."

"The pages have content as well, drawings and other imagery. All the imagery has to do with motherhood and human and bird babies. There's no definite narrative to it, but I could see how someone could come up with their own narrative when looking through it. It has a playful quality to it."

"I cut nooks into the wood and covered them with mica windows. Mica is a translucent material found in creek beds. It has an iridescent quality. Pretty magical stuff."