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  • Unwritten Law (open)

    Unwritten Law (open), mage from The Sorrow: Unwritten Law, found objects in altered box.

  • Field Books: Forest (cover)

    Field Books: Forest (cover), from “Field Books: Forest,” handbound book, left in the forest, a page turned each day for 90 days.

  • Europeans Come Problems to Solve

    Europeans Come Problems to Solve, Image from “The Round Earth on a Flat Map,” mixed media drawing set in found book

  • No Animal Exists Alone

    No Animal Exists Alone, handmade book, pressed plants, beeswax, and found bumble bee

2010 - Drawing from the Land

Rachel Kauff, Grand Valley State University

Rachel Kauff is the first recipient of the Gordon Art Fellowship. She is an art major at Grand Valley State University with an emphasis in printmaking. Her finished exhibit is titled Drawing from the Land and consists of a large woodcut print as well as a set of handmade books of drawn, collaged, printed, and collected material. These items represent a visual exploration of questions related to the natural world for her like “What is nature and how do I come to understand it?” and “Can the cultural constructions of nature be deconstructed and reconstructed in a way that leads to new understanding without defaulting to science?”.

The fellowship proved to be a learning experience about nature for Rachel. Like looking up at the stars, sometimes nature can make someone feel insignificant compared to the rest of the world. She states, “I was uncomfortable in a place where my own sense of meaning and order was irrelevant to my surroundings. As I grew more observant, my work became a set of methods for experiencing and listening to the living world while struggling to locate my place in it.” She used printmaking, bookmaking, collecting, and drawing as means to record her experiences with the land.

One part of her project, Field Books, consisted of leaving three different books in three different habitats on the property to see how they would change over a ten week period. She began a ritual of visiting these books and turning a page each day while listening and studying her surroundings. Kauff soon became aware of subtle changes in each environment. She learned about growth and decay from the mold that grew and the slugs that ate away at the paper. She claims, “The books remain as both record of their surroundings and of my daily pilgrimages.”

To learn more about Rachel and her project visit her website.