Ruth Laxson. Biking. Rilke.
March 17, 2013
March 31, 2013
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The Emerson Book

When I was in graduate school in Philadelphia, my work became completed centered on trees and nature. I created tree rubbings, books about trees, paintings focused on rocks, and other things. I read Thoreau and Emerson and dreamed about the woods.

It was only when I returned to living in the woods did I realize that much of what that work was about, was NOT having access to the woods and nature. As I was realizing this, I was reading Emerson’s Nature essay. I played around with the text and simplified it down to 30 words, few enough to memorize. I could carry the sentiment with me wherever I went. When I am in the woods I often repeat this as my mantra.

EmersonBook2 IMG_3711


I decided to create a small little book of this mantra, paired down from the essay. The words are printed on a blue French paper from a polymer plate of my handwriting. The pages, including the covers, are relief printed images–the same image repeated over and over and transformed by the different lines of text. The original one-of-a-kind mock-up was from stone lithograph prints made in grad school. The structure is derived from Hedi Kyle’s Storage Book Structure: folded pages mounted on a very thin tyvek accordion with a non-adhesive folded cover.

In the woods
we return to reason and faith.
Nothing can befall me in life
which nature cannot repair.
Standing on bare ground
all mean egotism vanishes.
I become transparent.


The book was originally conceived in 2008. I just finished putting together the entire edition (40) recently with the help of Hayley Parker and Carrie Converse. It was truly a five-year effort. I’m really delighted to be done with that part of it!

In the Woods
Linoleum prints, polymer plates
Variation of the storage book structure
Closed 6×4 inches, open 6×8 inches


  1. Jory says:


    I love the Emerson book. I’m working on a project that will use the storage book format and I’m curious about a couple of your techniques, the tyvek spine, and the non-adhesive cover. I’m wondering if you might talk a little about each process, what type of tyvek, and how the cover attaches to the book.

    Jory Post
    Santa Cruz, CA

  2. […] someone inquired about how I made the covers for my Emerson book. They are non-adhesive covers. A super easy way to cover a book without glue or tape. Hopefully […]

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