2017 · Berkeley, CA
by Flying Fish Press. Morrison, Lois
Berkeley, CA: Flying Fish Press, 2017. Artist's book, one of 50 copies, all on a variety of papers including paper made at Papeterie Saint-Armand, each copy hand-numbered. The book is written and illustrated by Lois Morrison, in the form of a Mexican triptych. The three-fold box opens to diorama illustrating the story of Ste. Ostrich visiting Mexico and dispensing her gift of sand. There is a 2 x 1/2 inch lever on the right side of the triptych that, when pulled, moves Ste. Ostrich up and down as she dispenses her gift of sand. The inside panel doors contain texts: on the left how Ste. Ostrich was urged by the Virgin Mary to visit Mexico; on the right the martyrdom of Ste. Ostrich. The center of the triptych is a three-dimensional image of Ste. Ostrich (in colored papers) dispensing her gift of sand in a black and white landscape with Mexican farm workers. The bottom third features a thin cord pull which reveals a drawer on which is printed the colophon, with tray compartments for a small ladle and also a bucket of sand. The polychrome ex-voto painting on the front of triptych is by Elizabeth Collins. The book and artifacts were made assembled at Flying Fish Press. The book design and paper engineering are by Julie Chen.
This is not the first collaboration between Lois Morrison and Julie Chen on the subject of Ste. Ostrich. This object with text combines the best of both artists: a sense of wit and imagination (magical?) and impeccable craftsmanship.
The reader / viewer understands that Ste. Ostrich was cast into an empty swimming pool by "evil ones" and when she dove for the bottom in an effort to bury her head "as was her habit" she died from a broken neck as there was no sand. Perhaps the moral of this story is to not ignore reality by burying one's head in the sand. (Inventory #: 11284)