"Living in this world of media saturation, it is easy to think that all the important things are happening somewhere else. Making books about our own stories and our own lives reminds us that we are the center of our own lives."
After Susan created The Elephant Rag logo, she told me more about her art, her passion for books, her exploration of the bindings and paper used around the world, and her belief in inviting others to make art.
Terry: Based on the number of workshops you do, you must think it’s important for kids – and adults – to make their own books, and probably fill them with their own stories.
Susan: I absolutely think it's important. When I started to make books on a regular basis, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher as well as a doer. Because I work with a lot of simple forms, the construction is simple and the materials are easy to gather (especially now that I focus on recycled ones). To me making books is the perfect introduction to art and creative exercise. I think it is important that we take the time to tell our own stories. Living in this world of media saturation, it is easy to think that all the important things are happening somewhere else. Making books about our own stories and our own lives reminds us that we are the center of our own lives and helps us to value ourselves and our families and friends. However I also have another sense of the book which comes more from the art side of things: the book as an object. I have books in my collection that are in languages I can't read and yet I take great pleasure in looking at them and turning the pages. It is the book as book and the pattern of the marks on the page that I find so beautiful. I like to think of books as celebrations. They can celebrate a memory or a story but they can also celebrate your particular interaction with that particular collection of materials at that particular time.
Read the full text of the interview.