Book of Decay

This is the fragile
Book of decay
my first go at the theme Memento Mori for Vilnius.

I wanted this wordless book to convey not only the thought of death and decay but also remembrance. Book of Decay has multiple hand sewn inlays. Two made with semi opaque wax-paper and one translucent with pages made from vinyl-pockets. Most of the pages features a hand embroidered silken fly, Cynomya mortuorum also known as the fly of the dead or Totenfliege. The flies are one aspect of death and decay as we all eventually will return to dust in the end.


Remember death, not just your own mortality but also the loved ones that has already died. How to make visible this feeling and thought? Sometimes an item, a smell, a song or a word can trigger memory’s good or bad. Perhaps you like me, have found a small envelope with a name scribbled across and black edging containing a lock of hair among old photographs and felt how something vaguely spring to life, this person actually lived. Hair tokens as a trigger for memory has a strong charge in life and after death. To say Remember me always I added curls of real human hair and a not yet finished locket to the book.

The making of the book
In 2017 I made a series of laser cutting experiments on birch bark. I wanted to build a book cut from bark that had been decomposing in nature for at least 5 years. To achieve the half circular bend spine shape I kerfed the rigid bark not calculating that the heat from laser cutting would affect the cut result. The kerf started to fall into pieces almost immediately when cut.

Put prevent the book cover from further deterioration I sew it with shape silk onto a copy of the bark cover laser cut from thin birch plywood.

It turned out that the bark cover would continue to break down over time and get ever more fragile. I decided that the book would be impossible to send by mail and it would be even more difficult to pack and unpack it multiple times without it deteriorating completely so I build a different book on the theme memento mori … ock döden …that got accepted by the jury to the 8 th Artist’s Book Triennial in Vilnius curated by prof. Kestutis Vasiliunas.



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