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“Once it is out of his hand the artist has no control
over the way a viewer will perceive the work.
Different people
will understand the same thing
in a different way.”
— Sol LeWitt

One of my proudest accomplishments is my collaboration in the design, illustration, and production of the chapbook, “Stories From the Ruins,” a series of 16 poems about the events of 9/11. The handbound, hardcover limited edition is the first collaboration between Another GridKid Production (my graphics production studio) and the writer, Lee Kottner.

The 16 poems are a meditation on the site of the Towers itself, what they and the lives entwined with them represented, and what they came to represent both during and after their destruction. Comprising both elegies for the victims and stark, evocative descriptions of what we saw as it happened; the process of making sense of a senseless act; and the observed acts of search and rescue, recovery, mourning, the sixteen poems are both deeply personal and yet universal. They speak to the common experience of New Yorkers, and others who have suffered similar acts of violence.

“Stories From the Ruins” is part of the permanent collection of the Graphic Arts Department at the Detroit Institute of Arts and was included in their exhibit, What’s New in Graphic Arts: Prints and Drawings Acquired Since 2000 November 2003-March 2004. “Ruins” is also included in MoMA’s Franklin Furnace Archives Collection.

A self-published book,“Women of Cubbyhole A to Z,” is a cross between a coffee tablebook, comic book, and a salute to old lesbian pulp fiction titles. It is available through my printer,

Holiday Handouts morphed from making artistic Christmas ornaments and celebrating Beethoven’s birthday. Soon I began making “Holiday Handouts” for more of the standard holidays (Valentine’s, Thanksgiving, Halloween) and once I discovered that there are literally holidays every day of the year, I added more to my output (Bow Tie Day, Polka Dot Day, important elections, etc.).

Last and by no means least, is the section dedicated to the jewelry I made for Louise Nevelson. (We met at one of her openings when I was in college and she took a shine to me and my parents.) Then one day she handed me a shoebox of her small wood sculptures and asked me to make them wearable. Sputtering, I asked which were pins or pendants, which end was up, and what kind of metal she preferred. Her response? “You’re an artist, you’ll know.”

The first batch was successfully received, with a few suggestions. By the second and subsequent batches, she was happy and quiet. All in all, I made approximately 80 pieces for her. We only seriously argued over earrings: I thought the wood and metal collages would be too heavy; she didn’t care. And I actually made one of them into a pair of earrings, figuring who was I to argue with Louise Nevelson?

© 2023 Marcia Gilbert

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