Carolyn Shattuck

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend Vol .2, Flexagon Book, printed on Epson and Strathmore paper, 3.5 x 8.5 x 8.5 inches, Edition of 25. $200

Wardrobe Chronicles, 2010
Mixed Media, 12 x 6 x 6 inches, edition of 4. $1500

He Had No Words, 2009
A visual statement concerning Dementia. Pop-up. printed on epson digital enhanced matte, coil printed on Premium Photo Glossy paper. Slipcase made from Lama Li paper, 10 x 8.75 x 1 inches closed, from an edition of 20. $350

Secret Home & Garden, 2008
A family from the 50’s who yearned for the better life but couldn’t overcome some obstacles. Choose your own ending. Origami styled -box_printed on Epson digital Radiant white paper, made from one sheet with inserted photographs, wrapped with a bandoleer and velcro closure. Lami Li and Moriki papers. 6 x 6 x 2 inches closed, Open edition. $150


SECRET HOME & GARDEN: I took a workshop on how to make an origami box- styled book because I wanted to create a small theater and explore the possibilities of woking in a small space or container. I enlarged the original design and in this trial and error time period picked up any paper I could find to use as a experiment. The effect of folding the print into a box, juxtaposing the images in a random way was exciting. The text came out of my own experience growing up in the 50”s. So the sad story of a family that didn’t have the tools to create a loving environment for their children but relied on past practices , literally unfolds in the dark -gardened box.

Each of the 5 children played a role. #1 Secret Pants denied the reality and left, #2 used sarcasm and addiction to solve problems, #3 saw the struggles and became the mediator and scorekeeper, #4 found solace in fading into the wallpaper and #5, the youngest, was abused physically,emotionally and moved far away.

The twist here occurs when the reader has an opportunity to choose the ending.Do the siblings seek counseling and meet in Vegas for a heartfelt reunion or do they continue to see each other frozen in their own realities without communication?

HE HAD NO WORDS: My father died last year. He suffered from undiagnosed dementia. My family didn’t recognize the condition and continued on their blind paths. Out of frustration and an inability to portray the effects of this crazy behavior, I explored the medium of Book Arts. The pop-up depicts him trapped in his mind and in his apartment. The repetitive patterning of black and white design portrays his circular thinking . I constructed the coil to exemplify the random selection of letters that don’t form words. The flip window shows him outside his apartment as he is metaphorically outside his senses. The shadow is one of his wife who divorced him forty years ago and that event was the beginning of his downfall. The slipcase design also refers to an enclosure without an exit. Although the subject matter is somber, the making of the book was a wonderful and stimulating challenge and it speaks to the vagaries of mental illness.


Carolyn Shattuck was born in Montreal, Canada, and moved to the United States in 1970. After a short stay, she and her husband lived in Okinawa, Japan for three years where she became influenced by the history and beauty of Japanese prints. She returned to the United States and studied painting at Bard College. After graduating, she divided her time between painting and printing. For 10 years she has immersed herself in Book Arts.

Shattuck says,” I find myself everyday sifting through mounds of printed, digital, and visual information, having to make decisions what parts should be logged into my brain. This activity of trying to make life simpler and more transparent, working through the chaos has been a challenge. Finding clarity sometimes leads to an idea for a book.

My life presents itself through many avenues. The books speak from my voice as a psychiatric nurse, a mother, and a person responding to environmental and interpersonal issues. Perhaps it is because of my reticence to speak up, that I formulate these stories. Most of the books were generated from remnants of monotypes. Initially I constructed them into various book structures and then to acquire a more detailed and dense image, I began photographing collaged scenes, resizing and then digitally printing the files into pattern pieces for pop-ups”.

Carolyn Shattuck Website