I submitted my senior thesis just before 9 a.m. on the first day of Block 7 last year, incredibly ready to be in a class again instead of dangerously managing my own time in a thesis block. Two blocks from graduating, I wasn’t expecting one of my last CC classes, AS 226: Book and Book Structures, to get me interested in an art form I’d never even heard of before: book arts.
The Book and Book Structures class is taught by a different visiting professor each year, and I was lucky to spend the whole block at The Press at Colorado College, becoming more familiar with letterpress and printmaking while learning about book arts and book structures from book artist Macy Chadwick.
For the final assignment, we were asked to use one of several book structures we’d learned how to make to create a narrative surrounding duality, and in an edition of at least three books.
The book structure I employed is a tri-fold Leporello, where the book opens like an accordion. Additionally, each right-hand page is folded into itself so that it can open up again — imagine several tri-fold brochures bound together.
If you don’t open any of the folded pages and extend the book, it reads as five images of the same house, each in a different color.
The book is titled “For Rent.” The theme came from going on walks last year in Colorado Springs’ Old North End almost every day to look at houses. The printed houses in the book are based on an actual house in the Old North End.
I intended the book to show the exterior of the house as constant, with the different colors signifying different seasons or time passing, and the interior as changing scenes as the people who live in a home rotate fairly often. The exterior scenes are made from printing thick/simple linoleum cuts, whereas all the interior scenes are made from printing detailed photopolymer plates made from a film that I scratched away with an awl. The book also slips into a case that has a window so you can see a bit of the chair on the front cover.
The two rocking chairs are based on ones that belonged to two of my roommates — K’lah Yamada ’17 and Regina Henares ’17 — who bought them from graduating seniors at the end of our junior year. When we graduated, K’lah sold her rocking chair to then-juniors (now seniors) who moved into the house and Regina held on to hers. Coincidentally, in the book, which was done two blocks earlier, one chair stays in the house, while the other is replaced by a new chair.
The book is quite simple — it really whittles down to interiors and exterior images of a home, without any text — but also became very personal. I started out with just some sketches of houses and furniture I was seeing regularly at my CC home, and ended up binding a narrative that aligns with entering and leaving my senior year at CC, changing relationships, and the passing down of students’ homes and furniture from year to year.
Each folded page opens up to an interior scene, in this sequence:
- Two rocking chairs
- The same rocking chairs as Scene 1, but now one of the chairs is only an outline
- Someone eating
- Dishes in a sink
Kitrick graduated with a B.A. in psychology and currently is the web communications paraprofessional in CC’s Office of Communications. She made an edition of eight books, one of which is in Special Collections at Tutt Library. Says Jessy Randall, CC curator and archivist, “Sometimes book artists are right under your nose and you don’t even know it. I saw ‘For Rent’ on Eileen Kitrick’s table at the holiday Arts and Crafts Fair and knew I had to have it for Special Collections. Ever since CC began offering the thematic minor in book studies in 2009 I’ve tried to support book artists with connections to the college. It was especially fun for me to be able to acquire a book by a recent grad who is now part of the staff here. Our budget is small, which means we’re better at supporting just-starting-out book artists, whose work we can afford. As Kitrick’s reputation as a book artist grows, we may get priced out — so now is the time to snap up her work!”
— Leslie Weddell