[Timothy C. Ely], 2023. Item #3546
12 x 14 3/4 in., 32 pp. unique bookwork. Housed in a cloth-covered clamshell box, 12 1/2 x 16 in., with title tipped onto front and spine. Hand-tooled leather cover with paint and geometric designs tipped on, with hand-painted blue end papers.
This is Timothy C. Ely's latest unique book, finished in 2023 after three years of work. The work is a tribute to Ely’s teacher, Keith Critchlow, a British artist and expert in Sacred Geometry. In his artist’s statement, Ely writes:
“When I learned in the spring of 2020 that my teacher of half a lifetime ago had passed away, I was shocked. Keith Critchlow and I spent my 36th birthday together, as well as a number of days on either side of it. I think the seminar was a week long, but without checking my sketchbook for that time I cannot say for sure. It was a general idea seminar called Sacred Geometry, and it introduced me to a number of ideas not mentioned in the library of sacred geometry that I had gathered up to that point.
Many of these new ideas changed my thinking about design, and it should, for why else would anyone take such a class? Ideas advanced about the geometry of the periodic table blew most of us away, and Keith was astonished that I carried a wallet size table with me. I guess I got extra points for that.
Left-Right was an opportunity to reflect on that time, thus the book contains a number of still life works dealing with regular solids and irregular platonic solids, which formed the base for a drawing-guided meditation.
The binding is a return to those thrilling days of yesteryear. It is a tight back binding, or as sometimes called a 'flexible binding' in that the leather at the spine is adhered directly to the sections with no lining underneath it. In Rigemorter's book on structures, she discusses the tight back book and mentions that she has seen many where the leather is adhered directly onto the sections.
The sections are made up of double folios. I have reduced the amount of material at the fold where it must flex, with a delicate and judicious abrasion in thickness, a ploy used occasionally with vellum folios. All folios are reinforced with adhesive at the fold. The mass is reduced but the fold is strong. The book was then sewn on four small recessed cords.
In all, this book is dynamic. The method I used for the sections, along with sewing with strong, delicate thread on light cords, and no inner linings make for a gorgeous mobility.
This book wasn't completed until 2023. It was a big dance interrupted by health issues, a pandemic, and a major exhibition of my work at San Francisco Center for the Book in late 2022. It also, at times, just had me stumped. Most of the interior work and sewing was completed in 2020, thus the date on the title page. The binding was accomplished in 2022 and the box was made in 2023.
Timothy C. Ely
Colfax, WA 2023.”
A triumph of Ely's process and techniques, and an extraordinary book.