Daniel E. Kelm. American, 1951–
Text and images by Michael Maier.
Acrylic spattered paper, offset printing, calligraphy, soldered brass and laser welded stainless steel hinges, iron wire, thread, and wire edge binding housed in cloth-covered paperboard with offset printed paper label. Produced with assistance from Erin Clay Nelson, Meg Sanders, Sammy Lee, Anthony J. Fiandaca, Amy Borezo, and Kylin Lee. A.P. 1/2: Courtesy of Daniel E. Kelm. Edition copy 6/21: 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). Video by Kevin Derose and Jeff Derose, One Match Films.

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Neo Emblemata Nova

Neo Emblemata Nova contains 50 illustrations from Emblemata Nova also known as Atalanta fugiens, an important 17th-century alchemical emblem book by the German doctor, philosopher, and mystic Michael Maier. These images represent key alchemical processes through a series of figurative scenes. The coded narratives are designed to describe the processes without giving too much information, which might reveal the secrets of the alchemist’s art.

The book is constructed as a Möbius strip, a circular band with a half twist that allows the viewer/reader to see all the illustrations on both sides by simply passing the images through her/his hands one by one without needing to turn it over. This book makes perfect use of Kelm’s wire edge binding, which is rendered here in brightly contrasting brass and stainless steel, symbolic of the fine metals gold and silver, as well as their complementary emblems.

The finished book is dedicated to Meg Sanders (1982-2005), a graduate of Hampshire College who worked on this project at Kelm’s studio, the Wide Awake Garage.

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