Harvest: holding & trading artists' book

  • In an attempt to connect across hundreds of autumns with slaves that lived in Providence, Rhode Island on the eve of the colonies’ independence, I collected leaves along Benefit Street. Humbling and at times awkward, the collection process involved stooping and lowering my gaze as I sought a representative sampling of leaves­ fresh to brittle, elm to oak and beyond, whole to tattered­ along the mile long, largely residential street.
  • Autumn leaves put on a show now as then. They represent the countless African slaves that will not be rendered visible and named no matter the diligence of the researcher. For captive Africans walking on Benefit Street, the splendor of autumn leaves might have temporarily suspended the homesickness, humiliation, and sorrow of being a slave in Rhode Island.
  • Getting ready to edition: stacks of screenprinted pages
  • Harvest’s text is from or was directly inspired by the accounting of the building, stocking, and voyages of slave ships and other Brown family business records as noted. African slaves­ purchased and sold in the West Indies and other locations­ are also revealed in the often mundane receipts and accounts of slaving ships. Utilizing the Brown family business records dating from the 18th century, research was conducted at the John Carter Brown Library of Brown University.
  • Screenprinted page with quote from Brown family account book held at the John Carter Brown Library on Brown University campus.
  • In Process: printing covers on the Vandercook press
  • Bound in a hemp leaf stab binding, Harvest was screenprinted using Old Claude LP typeface on kitakata paper and letterpress printed Cave Paper covers. The leaves that appear were collected on Benefit Street during October and November 2013. Ink, thread, and paper colors were mixed or selected with the varied skin tones of African slaves in mind.

    Harvest is in the following collections: Bibliotheca Librorum apud Artificem, Harvard University, Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), and University of Vermont.