Thursday, March 22, 2012

Center Paige: Match in a Bottle

Match in a Bottle is a book of seven poems by Tracey Knapp & is illustrated by Kurt Gohde. The book is housed in a clamshell box & the box & the book are covered in Japanese red cloth. They both have a 22-karat gold foil stamp with the book's title on it. The seven poems are all about fire & smoke, and the seven illustrations that correspond with the poems are all made with smoke.

The smoke illustrations are all original "drawings" that are made with matches, kerosene lamps, "snaps", gunpowder & cigarette lighters. These illustrations are quite unique & intricate. It's hard to figure out how they were able to make these illustrations. One illustration looks like a black cauldron that is has smoke rising out of it, or there is an illustration of ghosts that is very eerie. There were 65 copies of this book made, meaning that there were a total of 455 illustrations that needed to be made, but I'm sure there were many experiments and failed attempts. Gohde refers to Jules Renard's quote about smoke as "the inconstant wife of the wind," probably out of his attempts to make smoke a constant.

The poetry is rich and fully descriptive. The first poem is short but is a good starting point as to the tone of the rest of the book:


I am talking about fire
and that means burning.
About a lit match in a bottle.
About stirring up embers 
while walking through ruins.

Match in a Bottle is a beautiful book that shows off artistic skill, creativity & persistence & one of the most exhibited books here at the JCBA.

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