Cynthia Gipple, “Garden Visitors”

Book and book container.


Shows contents of book container. Pearl book pull. Small woven mesh drawer pull.


Covers and book pages.


Winter pages of squirrels with dry sunflowers and seeds on next page awaiting spring.


Birds and bees visiting sunflowers.


Artist: Cynthia Gipple (Saint Paul, MN)

Title: Garden Visitors (2013)

Medium/technique(s): Handmade papers, wire mesh, sewn images with Japanese and Korean papers, four needle binding, constructed book box.

Edition size: 1

Number of pages: 28

Dimensions: 3 x 5 x 5.25 in


Artist Statement:

Books provide structure for stories and information. Children and adults clutch books. This tells us books are precious. Thanks to cave painters, developers of the printing press and computer, we have books to clutch today. We may tell personal stories, but there is usually a universal thread woven in. I find delight in small scale book projects. The perimeter is defined and I can hold the whole in my hands. My book arts path meanders between writing, drawing and 3D construction, each interacting and impacting the other. Book arts culminating activities like critiques, competitions and showings allow the paths of book makers to cross. We see how the threads of our work bind us.

Garden Visitors is a project in a series I call Close to Home. The sunflowers in the story are growing in a city. The sunflowers watch people and people watch the sunflowers. The sunflowers seem to nod their heads to us in greeting.  Garden visitors are birds, bees and squirrels as well as ancestors who stopped in to say hello. From seed germination to winter stalks, each phase of the sunflower brings visitors.

My grandfather’s typewriter was used for the text.

The drawings were sewn on an old black Singer sewing machine like the one I used as a child. The drawings are on Johannot with Korean and Japanese papers.  Drawings are tipped into Bugra pages, four colors for the four seasons.

People are container makers from pots and purses, to treasure chests and book boxes. The book container for this project has a cubby for the four needle bound book. The book pull is a pearl from the necklace of a family ancestor. The container top is in the shape of the city sunflower garden with a woven mess covering sunflower seeds. The small drawer is for garden visitors. The mesh drawer pull represents the etherealness of some visitors. The feather in the drawer represents a visitor of the natural world. I used a handmade paper, in a pallet of sunflower petals, to cover the book and container.

As sunflowers cycle through the seasons, cheers to the visitors.