Daniel E. Kelm, Greta D. Sibley, and Joseph A. Osina
Kelm: American, 1951–; Sibley, American, 1957–; Osina, American, 20th century

Letterpress and silicone intaglio printing, acrylic paint, patinated silver, carborundum, ultrasuede, paper, resin filled cloth, magnets, felt, thread, and wire edge binding. Images printed by Nathan Kanofsky and Heather Arak at Arak Kanofsky Studios, Jersey City, New Jersey. Text printed by Arthur Larsen, Horton Tank Graphics, Hadley, Massachusetts. Produced with the assistance of Suzanne Moore and the mechanics at the Wide Awake Garage. Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College. Purchased with the fund established in memory of Elizabeth McConnell (class of 1918) and Anne L. Bohning (class of 1915). Photographs by Daniel E. Kelm.

Four Chambers Five Nights

Four Chambers Five Nights combined the talents of Greta Sibley (poetry), Daniel Kelm (book structure), and Joseph Osina (imagery). The starting point for their collaborative design was Sibley’s four-part poem, which uses the phases of the moon as a metaphor for new possibilities that emerge from the darkness of an ending relationship. The “vesica piscis,” an ancient moon symbol consisting of two overlapping circles, became a key design feature for the book’s structure. Suzanne Moore added hand-coloring to each of the pages. The heavy boards and flexible wire edge binding allow the book to stand fanned out so the viewer/reader can wander into each “chamber” or section of the poem. Greta Sibley described the generative process of such group efforts in a written statement for an exhibition at Skidmore in 2000:

[T]he moon is a good metaphor for this process of collaboration. It is important to become new together, to empty of expectations and preconceived notions, to enter the unknown, the dark. Only then do we begin to practice our craft. Inspiration gradually illumines the dark, empty field of space, and a shared vocabulary of words, materials, shapes, color, and light is discovered.

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