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artists' books collection

loom, by carol june barton

Carol June Barton, Loom. (Bethdesda, MD: C.J. Barton, 1989)

Based on 19th century tunnel books, this book is like a visual and tactile poem on the majesty and fragility of the earth; to hold it in your hands and look at and through its many seamlessly integrated elements is magical in a way that no photograph can convey.  It is a “magic carpet ride” in which each border page is a motif from an oriental carpet; seen from the front the carpet patterns are in color and seen from the back they are grey and white.  Seen from outside, the side panels that allow the book to stretch into a tunnel are photographs of two dreamlike, peaceful landscapes, one of a meadow and one of a river.  From the front of the book, the reader can extend the pages to look through the tunnel to see the earth as seen from space; on the inside, the side panels are full of stars.  The poem on the back, by an anonymous Persian poet, reads:  

No one hath unravelled a knot
from the skein of the universe,
And each who came and essayed the same,
but made the tangle worse.

Signed on the back, with edition number.