Book as Sculpture
Storybook Theater at the West Valley Regional Library!
In July I started a new Artist Residency in Bookmaking, “We Write the Book” at the West Valley Regional Branch Library of the Los Angeles Public Library, through the Los Angeles City Department of Cultural Affairs.
The Residency is comprised of a series of bookmaking workshops presented at the Library, planned in close coordination with Library Staff.
On Thursday January 12th, we gathered in the Library’s community room, with participants of all ages including children, grandparents, families and even a 5 month old baby, and learned as a group how to make the fantastical and fun Storybook Theater!
Cutting, folding, pasting, developing…
participants created three-dimensional stories that stood up, opened out,
and expressed their imaginations, creativity, and hopes for the new year…new vistas indeed!
Sharing Shows: Arizona, California, Texas
Excavation of the Interior, 2021, 12 x 28 x 12.5″ (wood, mulberry paper, hemp cord, canvas, muslin)
Chromatic Interactions: The Golden Thread, 2020, 76 x 90 x 1.5″, mixed media installation utilizing file cards written and drawn upon by Craft Contemporary Museum patrons participating in my commissioned interactive artists’ book project: Chromatic Interactions, (File cards, gold thread, pencil and crayon)
Rent Wound Tear, Mend Heal Repair, 2022, 64 x 68″ (dimensions variable), Triptych Installation, (canvas, acrylic paint, hemp cord, lace, string)
LIMINAL: The Book
I was thrilled to be included in the exhibition LIMINAL, at Verum Ultimum Gallery in which artists were invited to explore the theme of liminality in any interpretation, media and form of visual art.
“Liminal is the space between. What significance does transition (or the “space between“) have in your work or your artistic voice? Does your work reflect the liminal aspects of our pandemic-impacted world and the adaptation to a post pandemic existence? Does your work represent and or challenge the threshold to a more equitable society? Or, perhaps it reflects a vehicle for expression through pure abstraction.” Curator Jennifer Gillia Cutshall
As with all Verum Ultimum’s calls for art, the curator never seeks to drive the work, the only hope is to unveil unique visions. All mediums and modes of expression have been welcomed from low brow, pop surrealism, realism, abstraction, and more. The term Liminal may be interpreted in many ways, and is not necessarily meant to be a literal elucidation.
Liminal is defined as
1. relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.
2. occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.
One could argue that artists are conditioned to occupy the liminal state. And a successful studio is a space in flux, poised for adaptation (to projects, challenges, and materials). The focus of the artist is the creative process or the place between the 2 boundaries of “the beginning” and “the outcome or result.”
A gallery benefits from maintaining that liminal state, too (adaptation is a constant).
Verum Ultimum is celebrating it’s eighth year and this exhibition served to herald the artists unique vision…especially during these challenging times!
View the LIMINAL Exhibition
Read LIMINAL Artist Insights
Please see the LIMINAL Exhibition Book
Above: Curator and Verum Ultimum Gallery Founder, Jennifer Gillia Cutshall‘s LIMINAL exhibition statement.
Pictured above is my work in the show: The Gates, (interior), 2019, 7.5 x 20 x 10.25”, mixed media/sculptural artists’ book.
View the Show!!!
Imagination, Experimentation and Play!
Free your imagination, experiment, and….PLAY!
Join us for this art and bookmaking online workshop, source your own materials, and create your own exploratory masterpiece! Details in the flier below.
Presented by The California Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers, part of the national Guild of Book Workers, this workshop is a point of departure for anyone at any skill level who has a desire to explore the world of book arts in a safe, supportive and fun online environment.
Please contact me through the site contact form with any questions.
Hope to see you there!!!!
Folded Fan Sculptural Artists’ Book: A Vehicle for Imagination, Experimentation, and Play
The California Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers presents:
A workshop led by Debra Disman
Saturday, June 5, 2021
1:00 – 4:00 pm, Pacific Time
Presented live via Zoom
The “Folded Fan Book,” Debra Disman’s personal name for this fun and versatile book structure, is comprised of
an accordion spine, two covers, and full size pages which “fan out” when the book is opened.
This structure can be treated as a traditional codex or built into a sculptural form limited only by the
ingenuity, creativity, and innovation of the maker.
Students will gather their own materials based on the supplies list provided and determine the size and content of their books,
inspired by examples of different ways this structure can be developed, reimagined, and used.
We will spend the first part of the workshop creating the basic structure, then take off into unexplored territory
where students can utilize their chosen materials to transform their books into personal explorations of their own histories
or potential futures. Will YOUR BOOK become a container of memory, visualization of an intention, a container of dreams, an excavated artifact?
Whatever participants choose to create, this book can become a vehicle for imagination, experimentation, and play.
Materials: Participants will supply and source tools and materials. The use of existing materials in your living/work space is encouraged.
A list of supplies will be sent one month before the workshop. The Zoom link will be sent the week of the workshop.
Skill Level: Open to all levels of experience
Registration: $50.00 USD for GBW members,
$60.00 USD for non-members.
Please register by May 15, 2021. The workshop will not be recorded.
There is a cancellation fee of 10% of the registration fee up to 30 days before the workshop. No refunds are given for
cancellations made within 30 days prior to the workshop. Registrations may not be shared and are non-transferable.
Please direct questions to
Debra Disman is a Los Angeles-based artist working
primarily in the form of the book, both as a solo
practitioner and in the public sphere of community
engagement. She creates work and projects which
push the boundaries of the book into new forms and
materials. Her work is shown in museums, galleries,
universities, and libraries across the U.S.