|Diane Jacobs: Light Blue Sun Hat (2010), from Fine & Dirty at the Center for Book Arts|
One of the best parts of the Center for Book Arts’ main exhibition, Fine & Dirty, is the examples of how letterpress and paper arts can be expanded beyond the book. Diane Jacobs’s piece, Light Blue Sun Hat, is one that combines letterpress, writing, typography, and paper weaving into a delicate, unique, and fun piece of art.
|Diane Jacobs, Light Blue Sun Hat (2010), detail|
Not only is Jacobs’s piece an actual hat, but it is also one filled with surprising text: derogatory names, mostly ones ascribed to women. These include common ones, such as “streetwalker,” as well as the more obscure “barber’s chair” and “piper’s wife.” Some of these names, seen right, are very funny in their absurdity and punning (Garden Nun? Dusty Butt?). Despite this hat being made from insults, Jacobs’s use of light-colored paper and her whimsical design make the whole piece feel bright and cheerful. It is funny, jovial, and a bit uplifting. Jacobs has shredded the negative language and weaved it into a piece of fashion associated with relaxing on the beach in the summertime. While the intricate work Jacobs did to create this piece from paper is in itself beautiful, what I most enjoy about it is reading the insults and appreciating the connection Jacobs makes with the words and her chosen typeface. Though the hat cannot be touched, it is easily readable from its place on the wall.
What I also love about this piece is that it did not happen overnight, but took years of consideration and effort. Jacobs began this piece in 1997, when she first began to collect derogatory names. She then set the type (using many different typefaces) and printed the text in 1998. 12 years later, in 2010, she cut the paper into thin strips and weaved it into the final product seen above.
Jacobs’s sunhat (and many other pieces of book and letterpress art) is a part of the Center for Book Arts’ main gallery exhibition, Fine & Dirty, open until March 31st. Admission is free, so come on down, “Merry Legs”!
Have any stories about your favorite (or least favorite) piece of book art, either in our exhibition or somewhere else? Want to give us suggestions or comments? Comment on this post, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit us on Facebook (/centerforbookarts) or follow us on Twitter (@center4bookarts). Can’t wait to see you there!