chapter  1
17 Pages

Crafting the Artist Book as Embodied, Relational Practice

WithLynn Kapitan

In this chapter, an art therapist traces how crafting in the contemplative tradition of the artist book form has paralleled an unfolding understanding of art therapy. Both offer the paradox of the contained yet dynamic space that holds endless possibilities. Like the therapy session, every handcrafted book invites a journey through time, space, and consciousness, where everything exists in relationship—of text and image, content and form, object and subject, material and imaginal, time and space, and with a reader/viewer to make these connections. Art therapists, thus, may perceive a cultural purpose to book making as well: to process the trauma of living in a world in need of human touch and caring. As a form of embodied cognition, the craft can help us make sense of our day-to-day experiences, interrupt narratives and injustice, and claim the knowledge that how things are made—with exquisite care, with loving touch, and attention—matters and is worthy of attention.