Philadelphia: Luminice Press, 2023. One of 14 copies signed by the book artists. This charming and informative book, Spider and the Stars, is a Luminice Press artist book by Thomas Parker Williams and Mary Agnes Williams. It combines an original illustrated story for young readers with factual information about spiders and the curious way they travel long distances. Called ballooning, this form of spider travel appears to be flying, but in fact spiders take advantage of the Earth's electric field to become airborne. This particular spider became so airborne that she soared past the earth and planets to weave her webs among the stars!
Book artist and printer Thomas Parker Williams began creating artists' books in 1998 while also painting. As of 2009 he has limited his art practice exclusively to artists' books. In that year he also began collaborating with his wife, photographer Mary Agnes Williams. In 2013 they started Luminice Press, incorporating letterpress printing into artists' books and broadsides. The artists' books draw on a range of conceptual sources in creating their books, including mathematics, music, literature, theology, philosophy, astronomy, natural sciences, and Eastern thought. Books by Williams or the Luminice Press may be found in over 75 public collections around the country.
For this delightful collaboration, both artists developed the concept and design and did the printing. Thomas did the illustrations, the moveable pop-up and the binding. Mary Agnes wrote the original story and handset the text. The round black cover has a smaller cut out circle. It is laser cut wood with oil-based pochoir printed paper. The outer circle depicts the starry skies, while the spider and her web are visible in the smaller circle. When the cover is opened the spider and her web are fully visible. On the first page is a large brown, cream, and orange spider with moveable head and legs that pop open. There are 16 pages that tells the spider's story with colorful images of her and her adventurous travel to outer space. They are done in oil-based pochoir over linocut flood coats, with hand painted accents. The text is hand set in Janson and Janson Italic on Arches book paper and letterpress printed. Housed in an acrylic case with a brown title inset. In fine condition. The book measures 7.5 x 8 inches closed. The pop-up spider opens to 19 x 24 inches. ARTB/050523. Fine.