That & This, a unique book project

Many years ago, we had the pleasure of meeting Mark Dimunation at the ACC/Baltimore Craft Show. We met him again at the Smithsonian and other shows. He was a fan of what we do together with polymer and metal. While staying in a hotel in Washington, DC, I got a copy of the Washington Post and there was a photo of our friend Mark on the front page, talking about his long term project to re-assemble Thomas Jefferson’s original library which was bought by the US after the British burned the Library of Congress in 1812. Over the years and many delicious meals, we got to know Mark, and he challenged us to put our collaboration into the form of a book. And after many fits and starts, we finally have a package that we’re both very proud of. It was acquired by the Library of Congress this year for their permanent collection of artist books within the Division of Rare books and Special Collections.

David and Steve have collaborated on jewelry for 32 years, but the dialogue hasn’t always translated easily to other forms. We have done print and painting collaborations that culminated with shows at Velvet da Vinci in San Francisco in 2009 and at Snyderman Galleries in Philadelphia, in 2010. Mark explained that a codex required there be a conceptual thread, not necessarily a textual narrative. We both liked that approach, and after David broke the ice with improvised fields of color and texture, Steve put some structure to it by ordering the sheets and collaging printed cross sections of tree branches to represent beads or pins, layers or links, as well as growth and time passing. Steve ordered stamps in the Ford/Forlano font called Beo Sans, with the simple words “this” and “not that”. Sometimes David used the stamps for texture, sometimes for effect, and sometimes for didactic narrative.

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