La Prose du Transsibérien – Re-creation
Two Ponds Press, 2018
facsimile of the original 1913 artist book by Blaise Cendrars and Sonia Delaunay-Terk
Private Collection, US
Accordion is sewn into a 3-Piece Double Panel Flexible Hinge binding. Covered in light grey buffalo skin with back-pared onlays in dark grey buffalo and white, teal and hand-dyed and surface gilt goatskin. Onlays are embroidered with cotton and metallic floss and embellished with palladium and moon gold. Inner panels covered with illustrated handmade orange abaca paper using colored pencil.
Book is housed in a clamshell box covered with raspberry bookcloth and inset pieces of painted vellum. Trays covered in matching bookcloth and lined with light grey suede. Inner tray book compartment covered with handmade orchid purple paper. Drawer covered in matching bookcloth and lined with handmade orchid purple paper and orange abaca paper. Orange double satin ribbon pull tab.
9.8cm x 18.7cm x 3.4cm – Completed in 2019
- Drop Dead Gorgeous: Fine Bindings of La Prose du Transsibérien Re-creation (2019–2020)
San Francisco Center for the Book, San Francisco, CA
UCLA Special Collections - Young Research Library, Los Angeles, CA
North Bennet Street School, Boston, MA
Maggs Bros. Ltd. Rare Books and Manuscripts, London, England
Minnesota Center for the Book, Minneapolis, MN
Atelier Galerie A. Piroir, Montréal, Canada
The design flourished from one particular line in Cendrars’ poem: Les comètes tombent/the comets fall. A star map began to build around this phrase, pulling in other elements from the text. The border is inspired by the domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square. At the center, a comet is racing across the Trans-Siberian Railway, with a face that resembles the original train engine. Constellations fill the map with imagery plucked from the protagonist’s observations: train towers of Moscow, his female companion, the slender silver lily and the Legend of Novgorod. Inside the binding is a colorful depiction of Kitty Maryatt’s original sketches of Delaunay-Terk’s pochoir at the start of her research to recreate this landmark work.
I wanted to create a design that would be as vivid as the text and as lush as the pochoir. I was incredibly captivated by Cendrars’ poem and several phrases leapt out at me. I chose to create a map that could incorporate of all these elements and to give a sense of place. I also wanted to honor the extensive work done by Kitty Maryatt to reproduce this pivotal publication. Her original outlines of the pochoir resonated with me from the beginning of the design stage and its placement inside the book gives a hint of what is to come as the accordion is unfolded.