Alice Austin (AA) is a Philadelphia artist and book conservator well known for creating artist books. She teaches book arts both locally and internationally. Here she speaks with her sister, Mary Bell Austin (MBA).
費城的藝術家愛麗絲 · 奧斯汀 (AA)，除了從事古籍修復的工作外, 還是位頗有名氣的手製書藝術家。奧斯汀經常在美國本土及國外教授藝術家手製書的課程。以下是奧斯汀和她姊姊 瑪麗 ·貝爾 · 奧斯汀 (MBA) 的對話。
MBA: When people ask me what book art is, I have a hard time answering. How do you describe it?
AA: (Laughs). I should be ready for that question, by now! But it isn’t so easy to answer. An artist book is a work of art, a combination of many techniques, with the end result being either a unique piece or a limited edition. The form that the book takes is often not what is traditionally thought of as a book. An artist book melds form and content to present the viewer with a tactile experience, one that involves the sequence of turning the page to reveal information. Or perhaps there are no pages, and the theme of the artwork is presented in an unexpected way. It’s hard to point to just one example, because how the artist approaches the work varies greatly from one person to the next.
AA：（笑）我早該準備好答案了,可是這個問題還真不容易回答呢！ 藝術家手製書是結合多種技術的藝術品, 最終的成品有時是獨一的單品, 也可能是數量有限的珍蔵版。藝術家手製書的形態格式常偏離我們熟悉的傳統書籍樣式, 將視覺與內容溶為一體, 讓欣賞者在連續翻動書頁的過程, 親身體會出內在的訊息。或許藝術家以意想不到的手法表現作品的主題，創造出沒有書頁的手製書。藝術家創造途徑紛紜，作品風格迴異，要憑空舉出個例子，很難的。
MBA: Where can someone go to see artist books?
AA: In New York City, a new gallery devoted to artist books, called Central Booking, just opened. In addition, the Center for Book Arts has a gallery, with changing exhibitions. It also offers a wide variety of classes (some of which I teach), and a good on-line site with photos of books by artist members. Also online are Vamp and Tramp Booksellers, and Abecedarian Gallery (which hosts wonderful exhibits in Denver). And in California, the Codex Book Fair is held every other year, with works from around the world. Codex has an on-line site with links to all the exhibiting artists if you can’t make it in person.
AA ： 中央書藝廊（Central Booking) 是紐約市一家專展藝術家手製書的新藝廊。另外, 書藝中心 （Center for Book Arts）的畫廊也有定期更換的展覽。書藝中心提供許多相關的課程, 其中有幾門課是我教的。中心的網站並介紹不少書藝家的作品。其他的網站還包括：妖女與流浪漢書販 （Vamp and Tramp Booksellers）以及初學者藝廊 （Abecedarian Gallery)。位於克羅拉多州丹佛市的初學者藝廊, 常舉辦藝術家手製書的精采展覽。在加州隔年舉辦的法典書展 （Codex Book Fair）則展示來自世界各地的藝術作品。Codex的網站並提供參展藝術家的網址, 不能親自到場的人, 可以上網瀏覽。
MBA: When you started, most of these resources were not available. How did you become a book artist?
MBA ： 這些相關的資源在你藝術生涯的早期都不存在, 你是如何學習成為一位手製書藝術家呢？
AA: My college degree is in Fine Arts, sculpture, and additionally, I studied printmaking and painting. After college, Hedi Kyle, a well-known book artist, moved to Philadelphia and started teaching at the University of the Arts. I took a class with her and also have a good friend who taught me bookbinding. Then I got a job in the conservation field, which is a great fit for an artist, since you need a good understanding of paper and other materials.
AA ：我大學時主修雕塑, 兼修版畫和繪畫。大學畢業後, 我有機會在費城藝術大學上了一門由黑蒂 · 凱爾（Hedi Kyle）教授的藝術家手製書課程。黑蒂是位有名的手製書藝術家, 她那時剛搬到費城，開始在藝術大學授課。另外我在一位好友那兒學會裝訂書冊的技藝。不久後，我在美術修復界找到一份工作，由於美術修復需要有紙品及其他藝術素材深入的認知，對藝術家來說是相當切合的工作領域。
MBA: What are you working on right now in your studio?
AA: I am working on a series of maps, flat and folded, starting with an existing substrate of United States nautical charts and exploring how the grid pattern of Philadelphia’s streets contrasts to the meandering streets of Venice, Italy.
AA ：我現在正在製作一系列的地圖, 有平面的, 也有折疊式的。我用一張現有的美國海域圖作為創作的起點, 對費城方格式的道路, 和義大利威尼斯城曲折蜿蜒的街巷, 兩者之間的對比，作進一步探索。
MBA: Tell us a little about how you started on this particular project, and your creative process.
MBA ： 大略談一下你這件作品的構思動機以及創作過程吧。
AA: My idea is that maps are not very useful in Venice. You are often lost, but it is good to be lost in Venice because you find something new. So I started by making a linoleum-cut map of the streets of Venice. Then the map needs to be folded. I love to fold paper and fit a big piece into a small space. I tried with many pieces of paper until I found the shape that conveyed the idea of wandering and discovering new territory. I added Philadelphia grids to the maps because I liked the visual contrast. A project evolves as you work on it. You try different techniques and combine different images and find something you like. It is a fluid process. In November I’ll be in Venice on a fellowship, and plan to float a few origami boats that I have folded from my Venice maps.
AA ：地圖在威尼斯没什麼用處, 我的靈感因此而來。在這個城裡, 迷路是常事, 可是也算是妙事。因為在走失尋路的途中, 我們常發現新天地。剛開始我用橡膠版畫刻印了一張威尼斯市街圖, 之後覺得該把這張地圖折疊起來。我喜歡折紙 – 把大紙張折好, 塞進小小的空間裡。我折了又折, 試了又試, 用了許多紙張, 直到紙片的形狀凹凸, 表達出漫遊探險中的曲折迷離。在威尼斯市街圖上, 我添加了費城方格式的街道佈局, 是因為我喜歡兩者之間的視覺對比。一件作品在創作過程中會不斷的演變 – 更更改改地, 嘗試不同的技法和圖像組合, 總是要自己滿意, 才能罷休, 這個過程如行雲流水, 難以捕捉。我今年十一月有藝術團體贊助, 將到威尼斯講學一個月。屆時我準備將我印製的地圖折成幾隻紙船, 任它們飄浮於威尼斯的水道。
Interview conducted and edited by Mary Bell Austin 瑪麗·貝爾·奧斯汀 訪問/編輯
Translated by Tina Chin Tan 譚清譯