Friday, June 8, 2012


PTERIDOMANIA - the mania for ferns

In 1998 I decided to quit shopping for presents and started making books for my family and friends for the holidays.  Since then I have made an annual book using the same size (6"x6") and format but always looking for interesting variations.  In 2005 the subject was ferns.

The images for this book were created with cyanotypes, a process discovered at the very beginning of photography.  Objects are placed on photosensitive paper and exposed to sunlight for a couple of minutes.  The paper is then rinsed in water and where it was exposed it turns a rich blue while the protected area remains a very pale blue-white.  Each fern book in the edition of 100 contains one original cyanotype.  The rest of the images were photocopied in black and white from other original prints made at the same time.  The ferns came from our garden.

In the series, each book has an envelope which usually relates strongly to the cover of the book.
The border frame for Ferns was photocopied and the central image was done with a stencil.

End sheets have uniformly been translucent vellum.  
Here the ferns let you peek through to a poem written for the book by Alison Rogers.  Alison, whose work I admire greatly, lives in New York and has been included in other books published by my small press, Chicken in a Snowstorm.

A larger volume containing cyanotypes of ferns, now stored in the Herbarium, was inspired by the overage of prints that I made for the smaller, large edition Fern book.  This book is 9" x 7", contains 21 images and employs a coptic stitch binding.  The end sheets are tissue flecked with metallic bits and the text is simply a description of the cyanotype technique and a list of the plates.  There are 5 copies of this book.  Each one would be considered unique as each image is an original print.

Pictured are representative pages from the book:

Tatting Fern

Sensitive Fern

Ghost fern


  1. I love my fern book! Better than anything you could have bought me.