and prints


Clutter/Free artist book by Wendy Fernstrum

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Clutter/Free artist book by Wendy Fernstrum

"Clutter/Free" explores the tension between wanting to live more simply, free of clutter, and being unable to throw away the things that seem to give our life meaning. At what point do our belongings prevent us from living fully? And how much stuff do we really need before we can feel fulfilled?






"Clutter/Free" is a modifed dos-a-dos, meaning two books in one. One side of the box opens to a screwpost-bound book titled "Free," sitting in a tray. Beneath the tray and on the other side of the box is a drawer filled with clutter. Embeded in the clutter is the narrative of a character entrapped by clutter. "Clutter/Free" is an edition of 25, and all of the clutter in the drawers is identical throughout the edition.


Clutter/Free artist book by Wendy Fernstrum

7" x 10" x 4"

17.5" x 10" x 3.5" (open)

Limited edition size: 25



Clutter/Free artist book by Wendy Fernstrum


To read "Clutter," you'll need to dig through the clutter to find the sequenced text. Some clues: look inside the Altoids box. Read the label on the vial. Look at the other side of the photograph. The narrative starts with #1 (naturally) and ends with #16.

>explore "Clutter"

>read the narrative of "Clutter"



"Clutter/Free" was made possible in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

"Free" is the polar opposite of "Clutter." Each page is letterpress printed with a single word, using wood type from the collection at Minnesota Center for Book Arts. The font I chose was missing some letters when I began printing the project; to make up for them, I made graphite rubbings of letters on gravestones and scribed letters by hand, then scanned them into the computer to create digital images for photopolymer plates. Near the end of the project, even more letters disappeared from the MCBA collection. I found a work-around. And I smiled at the joke fate was playing on me, while printing a book about being free of attachments.

I used a variety of paper for "Free," including Rives BFK grey and white and handmade Japanese paper. The text starts out as bright saffron and gradually fades to nothing.

>read the narrative of "Free"



PO Box 249
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047


Copyright 2010 Wendy Fernstrum

No images or text may be reproduced
without permission of the artist