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Book Artist of the Month: Michelle Ray

September 30, 2013 by Erin Fletcher


Three Ships was created by Michelle Ray in 2012 as a part of the BookArtObject Edition #4. BookArtObject is an informal group of book artists founded in Australia. The group membership includes book artists from around the globe and use their blog as the platform for discussion and as the arena to make small editions of handmade artists’ books in response to various texts.

Three Ships is the title of a short story by author Sarah Bodman from her book, An Exercise for Kurt Johannessen. This short story acted as the springboard for Michelle’s artist book of the same name. While Michelle continues to explore this theme of the sea and everything that encompasses that theme, she finds inspiration in the memory of the three life boats from Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition: Stancomb Wills, Dudley Docker and James Caird, his stash of rare and old Highland malt whiskey, the safety and foolishness of the journey. The book also explores through mnemonic devices this relationship between time, memory and seeing.



The imagery and text are printed using photopolymer plates on Somerest Book papers and museum board, all housed in a sculptural clamshell enclosure. 

Three Ships is housed in collections at the University of Denver and Vanderbilt University. This work was included in the Gallery Director Exhibition Award, Artists’ Book Cornucopia IV, from the Abecedarian Gallery in Denver.



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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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