mixed media artist book
essences are herbal infusions used as “natural
remedies for mind-body wellness.” LITERARY ESSENCES plays with
the idea of literature as an elixir: a “you are what you read” approach
the clamshell box are essential tools for using essences of literature.
Each vial contains the punched-out
pages from a copy of the book identified on the label,
along with a scent. The guidebook
answers important questions such as, “What if I take the wrong
literary essence or too much of the correct one?” A set of diagnostic
cards identifies the “positive qualities” and “patterns
of imbalance” associated with each book. A pair of tweezers assists
in the extraction of an essence from the vials.
comprised of a set of 26 vials of "essences," 26
diagnostic cards, a hand-bound guidebook for using
the essences, and a pair of tweezers. All are housed
in a handmade clamshell case covered with
Japanese bookbinding fabric.
way to approach Literary Essences is to find among the vials
a book you’ve read. Locate its matching diagnostic card to learn
how that book may have helped you. Then unscrew the cap of the vial
see if the scent corresponds with your memory of the book.
In this way the artist book becomes a game of recognition.
approach would be to use the guidebook and the diagnostic
cards to identify
a book you don’t know, but should. For example, if you long for less longing,
you might try Samuel Beckett’s Worstward Ho. Do you worry that something
bad may happen but you’re not sure what? Grace Paley’s Later the
Same Day may be of assistance. Case studies show that reading the book while
taking the essence helps to instigate a positive emotional shift.
[excerpted text from guidebook]
will I know if the literary essences are working?
A common experience for people using literary essences
intensification of certain traits prior to experiencing
a transformation. For example, someone taking On Walden
Pond essence to treat a life of quiet desperation may feel
an acute awareness
of oppression before being able to live independently.
This seeming increase of an emotional trait has similarities
to an "aggravation" produced
by a homeopathic remedy, or a "healing crisis" stimulated
by such cleansing practices as fasting.