Barbara Milman, “Unnatural Histories 17: Vanishing Act”

Box. Altered Cigar Bos with digital images & paint


Book. Outside. Cover : monoprints with digital text. Hand sewn binding.


Book. Inside pages.


Book. Inside pages. Transfer prints (monoprints)


Book. Inside. Hand stamped type on monoprint.



Artist: Barbara Milman (El Cerrito, CA)

Title: Unnatural Histories 17: Vanishing Act (2011)

Medium/technique(s): altered cigar box, transfer prints, hand stamped type, monoprints, digital

Edition size: Unique

Number of pages: 66

Dimensions, open: 11 x 3¾ x 1 in

Dimensions, closed: 4½ x 5 x 4½ (box);  4½ x 3¾ 2 (book)

Artist Statement:

I work primarily in two media: prints and handmade artist books (either in very small editions or unique). The books all have a message or story that is told both by the books as art objects and by their text and images.  They combine printmaking and bookmaking techniques.

The message for the past several years has been about climate change.  This book  – Vanishing Act – is about the danger posed by global warming to arctic wildlife.  The original text, hand printed using old letterpress type, tells the story.

We did not expect to live forever.

Hoping to leave with just each other,

Maybe the dog and a few friends,

We were surprised to find so many.


The polar bears did not scare us,

Nor did the seals and walrus.

Only when we saw the water rising

Did we panic and try to run.


Of course we couldn’t. The road was

Crowded, people were crushed

Against animals, whale carcasses,

A flock of birds blocked our way.


“Do you blame us?”  They were silent.

But we heard them anyway,

“You had your chance and blew it.”

Then in the dark they vanished.