What It Wants to Be (2006)

The full title of this is An Exercise in Helping Something Become What It Wants to Be. It is really a prototype for a book I may never make. We go to the beach every year and, of course, my kids want to get up early to collect sea shells. But I am always more intrigued by all the rocks on the beach that have been shaped into semi-perfect roundness. I try to imagine a rougher rock in the mountains working its whole life to slowly move itself into the ocean where it will spend more of its life being worn smooth. (I suppose, ultimately, it will become part of the infinite grains of sand on the beach, but that’s a discussion for another day). The book I want to make will include several rocks (which are currently waiting in my basement for their stage call) and will tell this story of trying to move from a rough state of being to a smooth one. The boards will be made of wood, and the book will be very large and heavy.

Each page of this book is made up of 3 pieces of binder’s board laminated together. It is bound in leather, including the edges of the “pages” making it leather on all 6 sides. The “pages” are hollowed out to accommodate a rock found at the beach in Carpinteria, CA. The rock is held in place by brass rods.

One reason for making this prototype was that I wanted to discover how the boards would need to be hollowed, how the stones would need to be attached, and so on. At the same time, I wanted to glorify the stone. It is at the exact center of the book. My idea was that the stone would slowly reveal itself as the pages were turned. However, either the pages were too thick or the stone was too small for that. In any case, I like that at first glance, it is cube-like but the opening reveals something sphere-like.

3.25 x 3.25 x 2.5