Granary Books, 2020. Item #GB_177
8 x 12 in., 72 pp., unbound folios in wrapper and clamshell box.
Long-time Granary Books artist Timothy C. Ely is known for his intricately layered, handmade books. In 1975, Ely began self-motivated studies of bookbinding and developed the aesthetic style he is known for today: “a fusion of English-style binding techniques with visionary drawings of an unknowable future.” The drawings incorporate his unique style of cribriform, a type of asemic writing, an intuitive yet very specific calligraphic form with no (or open) semantic content. Carefully orchestrating the entire production process, from drawings to binding, Ely incorporates multiple media to encourage dense, nuanced reading experiences.
Ely created Interior Voice as a unique book in 1983. Now, the drawings within are reproduced in facsimile for the first time, re-imagining the structure of the book through archival pigment prints. In lieu of its original leather binding, the new work consists of unbound folios within a St. Armand handmade paper wrapper with a new drawing by Ely printed letterpress.
The book is further transformed by accompanying poems by Whit Griffin. Griffin, a poet based in Denver, Colorado, spent time with the Jargon Society, living with and working for Jonathan Williams and Tom Meyer. The poetry featured in this volume is drawn from his expansive recent work titled The Great Practice.
An intuitive process was embedded in the selection of poems to pair with Ely's drawings. Together with Steve Clay, Griffin and Ely “shuffled from the ‘deck of the text’ [The Great Practice] and what emerged felt like what wanted to come forward” (Griffin).
The edition consists of 18 unbound folios (72 pp.) printed by Jason Walz, housed in a St. Armand handmade paper wrapper with a new drawing by Timothy Ely printed at Soho Letterpress. Clamshell boxes of green and yellow made by Judith Ivry. This is from an edition of 27 copies; each signed by the poet and artist. As new.
ABOUT WHIT GRIFFIN: My name is Whitney Griffin, Whit for short. I've written several books, among them We Who Saw Everything (Cultural Society) and Extramission (Lunar Chandelier Collective). I'm originally from the South, but have bounced all over the country and currently reside along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. In my twenties I was an intern for the Jargon Society, living with and working for Jonathan Williams and Tom Meyer. My time with Jonathan and Tom has proven immensely valuable to me. Another important mentor for me was Ted Enslin, who from my first meeting with him invoked the mantra, "If you are true to the Work, the Work will be true to you."
It is my belief that there is an intelligent agent / an occult agency behind serendipitous discoveries. That an invisible creative essence, the Living Poem itself, chooses which texts to place before me, out of which I give shape / a tangible body to It. My work is a collaboration with archives / libraries / texts. I believe that my work is an outer manifestation of an inner unfolding. I am fascinated with the intersection of the spiritual and the poetic, each fueling and furthering the other. The transmission of gnosis - the knowledge / awareness that we are all divine, all connected in a web of consciousness - we carry forward the myth, we work with spirits to evolve and move the stories onward. We are engaged in a mystery that never stops unfolding.
ABOUT TIMOTHY C. ELY: Timothy Ely was born in the Snohomish General Hospital in 1949. Truman was president. On the site of the hospital now stands the new version of the Snohomish Public Library. He became a voracious reader at a young age. A sympathetic teacher (who taught him to draw) would often lead him back into that public Library (a fine old Carnegie building) where tales of pirates, Tesla coils, maps, flying saucers and back issues of Scientific American and Popular Mechanics would begin to tarnish the goals set for him by the rest of the family. In this library he began to explore images in the worlds of science fiction and comic books.
Following high school and tenure in several local area rock bands, Ely enrolled at Everett Community College following luminaries such as Chuck Close and Donn Trethewey by several years. This was just after the summer of love (1967) and a time of extraordinary fertility in painting. Ely was perfectly placed.
Painting was a primary interest and with an awareness that design was the grounding language, Ely pursued a degree in fine art. A number of chance remarks by teachers began to gradually orient Ely towards the inherent duality in the forms of the book. There were no opportunities for study in that area, but the pull of the idea of the book as aesthetic carrier was a potent and inspiring image. Following graduate school (1975 MFA Design) Ely began a self-motivated study of bookbinding. He began to fabricate the work he is known for today, a fusion of largely English style binding techniques with visionary drawings of an unknowable future.
He has received numerous awards. With an NEA grant (1982) he traveled to Japan, Italy, and England studying bookbinding and paper making. Following this he moved to New York where he established a studio and also taught at the Center for Book Arts. During a decade in New York, he traveled to Europe, Central America, and Scandinavia lecturing, exhibiting and teaching. He has had numerous solos exhibitions and has participated in many group exhibitions. His two most recent exhibitions were at the Jundt Museum of Art and The Northwest Museum of Art and Culture. His work is collected planet wide and is held in public, private, and secret collections.
He currently lives in Eastern Washington near the Colfax river. Read more at https://aplanetarycollage.com.
Pictured: printed wrapper; open box; title page; folio 4; folio 6; folio 13; folio 15; closed box; and box cover.
The complete text of Whit Griffin's The Great Practice is available here.