Sunday, October 22, 2006

My Altered Book About Minnie Fish

I recently completed an art piece for a fundraiser sponsored by Friends of Women's History at the University of Houston. The University asked WIVLA members (you can find other info about WIVLA in my blog if you look at the earlier entries) to look at the special archives collection for women's history, pick a subject/person, and create art or writing about it/her.

I choose Minnie Fisher Cunningham, an extraordinary woman who lived from 1882 to 1964 and was instrumental in women's suffrage, the National League of Women Voters, and many other important accomplishments. She is, of course, largely forgotten.

For my artwork, I decided to make an altered book and put Minnie Fish (as she was called) back into Texas history. I did that by altering the book Lone Star by Fehrenbach and putting her pictorially and figuratively in the book. The writing in the book is actually Minnie's own story of her life, which she wrote in longhand (and in third person). I found it in the archives.

My piece received a lot of attention at the gala event last night and many kind compliments. I felt very happy with the work. It did sell in the silent auction and I had to let it go home with a stranger - although she seemed like a nice stranger.

Luckily, Michael took pictures for me before the event and I have them here for you to enjoy. I created a webpage gallery with Adobe Photoshop Elements.


1: Front Cover with page markers
2: Front Cover
3: Inside Front Cover
4: Map
5: Map with foldout
6: Title page (adjacent to foldout page)
7: Introduction
8: Fisher Farm - This page has a beautiful Oak Tree image which I borrowed (with permission) from a custom tile manufacturer in Canada called Wandering Fire Pottery.)
9: Later Life

10: Education
11: Marriage
12: Poster for a Speech
13: Huntsville
14: Houston
15: Galveston
16: Austin

17: Washington
18: Inside Back Cover (Timeline)
19: Back Cover

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is such a wonderful idea and it is such a wonderful gift for the lovers of reading. I have had passionate affairs with books since I was four years old and books have affected every area of my world. The very idea of taking a story that already has a life of its' own and breathing more life into the author by literally injecting her into her own work is just divine.
It is what children do is it not? The very idea of yearning to scribble and boldly paint pictures into books, in order to add a new and wonderful dimension!!! SO NEAT.
I hope that you most certainly take on another project like this. Writers are the generous gatekeepers of other worlds, and so often they are forgotten. Brave men and women individually change our society with every breath and then they are gone. Your work has opened another door to another writer, who will find inspiration through words and color and texture. The world needs more generous gatekeepers.

Dionne Christie-Cunningham