“Much of my work exhibits gradual growth. Under capitalism, art, though essential and human, is often trivialized as luxury. And so, art may develop piece by piece as we allow conscious time for it.
Self-care and self-regulation rituals can be art. Folding origami cranes is a stim I developed in childhood. For years before I had the proper words, I carried a square notepad of paper in my back pocket for this “bad habit.” My sculpture professor was the first to convince me of its validity, granting me permission to explore its use in my art practice. After one of our first conversations, she took the cranes I had been folding into her hands, calling them tangible evidence of our discussion. Gather is an exercise in the present. I read books by folding the previous page into a crane. This makes it impossible to go back, so there is no room for my mind to wander towards anything else. The transformed books are recommendations; some from offhand comments that piqued my curiosity and some inspired by gifts on my bookshelves at home with little notes written on the inside-covers. Through this, I am gifted a window to the life lessons, struggles, and passions of others.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Emily Eldred is a book artist, letterpress printer, sculptor and writer from and currently living in Iowa. She has been practicing bookbinding since the age of 13 and has taught numerous book art and decorative paper classes since. Her introduction to conceptual art came in the form of her high school’s Peace and Justice Group, where participants created works meant to illustrate the impacts of war and injustice. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture with honors, and a certificate in Creative Writing. Since then, she has worked retail service jobs and has continued her art education through workshops and courses for book art and welding.