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Book Artist of the Month: Ellen Knudson

July 22, 2013 by Erin Fletcher

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In 2009, Ellen Knudson revisited her work How to Become One of the Original Wild Girls, a book that was designed and printed in 1997 in the new piece Wild Girl Redux: An Operator’s Manual.

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How to Become One of the Original Wild Girls

The original work includes a playful list of imaginary “rules” that “should” be followed to achieve a Wild Girl status. The rules are light in nature, but the deep-rooted sexist issues are easily recognizable. 

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How to Become One of the Original Wild Girls – page detail

In Wild Girls Redux, Ellen reexamines these issues, combining motorcycle road and driving rules as text (adapted from the Missouri Department of Revenue Motorcycle Operator Manual) along with images of pin-up girls and industrial schematic illustrations. All parts of the book were letterpress printed on Indian Sunn Hemp Contemporary with photo-polymer plates. Bound as an accordion portfolio cover with two single signature pamphlets sewn in. In addition to the printed pages are pieces of ephemera, which include pink heart paper doilies, white doily placemats, and green office ledger papers. The cover is flocked paper in maroon. Each books comes with a set of stickers, which are kept inside a yellow office mailing envelope decorated with a wrap-around belly band. The intent of the Operator’s Manual is tongue-in-cheek and provides the ordinary, mechanical, and absurd rules of how to operate women.

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Created in an edition of 100, each signed by the artist. Wild Girls Redux: An Operator’s Manual was the winner of the 2009 Florida Artist’s Book Prize for The Bienes Museum of the Modern Book and The Florida Center for the Book.


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    My name is Erin Fletcher, owner and bookbinder of Herringbone Bindery in Boston. Flash of the Hand is a space where I share my process and inspirations.
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