Iowa State University Library Special Collections Department has a small collection of artist’s books, particularly those created by Jill Timm. What is an artist’s book, you ask? It is a work of art that takes the shape of a book, often using different structures outside of the common book structure. These structures can take many different forms, as you will see by scrolling through the photographs below.
Jill Timm is an artist and graphic designer who has been making artist’s books for a number of years. In 1998 she founded Mystical Places Press, which publishes “limited edition, hand crafted books that celebrate the spirit and aesthetics of the natural environment.”
Below are a few of my favorite of Timm’s creations here in Special Collections.
Winter Elk is a tunnel book, in which different layers of image create a 3-D effect. It is reminiscent of an early camera, with its accordion sides and front cover with slide-out board. Peering inside is like looking into a magical world.
Ocean Dunes incorporates freely flowing beach sand into the cover, imitating the constantly-shifting dunes of the book’s title. Inside is an accordion-fold panoramic photograph of dunes from the Oregon coast.
A few of the pages include advent calendar-style windows revealing hidden details in the landscape.
The back pages show more details and scenic views.
Fluttering Butterfly is a one-of-a-kind book as the book’s colophon (a statement about a book’s creation, seen here on the right-hand panel) explains, shown below.
Though the book is plain from the outside, it opens up to reveal a beautiful silk painting.
I hope you have enjoyed this sneak peek at some of these beautiful and whimsical pieces of art. To see more artists’ books, stop in at Special Collections!