Margo Klass – Preserving Humanity

Artist Statement

Preserving Humanity is a tribute to the art of book conservation – the preservation of books as physical objects and as vessels of the human record. The title is inspired by the lecture that opened the 1988 exhibition Saving our Books and Words at the University of Iowa. Both lecture and exhibition honored the preeminent book conservator William Anthony (1926-1989) and the apprentices he trained.

Materials & Technique

As a volunteer at the Literacy Council of Alaska, I repair vintage books, de-constructing and re-constructing them for resale to support their educational programs. In Preserving Humanity I use discarded fragments of old bindings – covers, endpapers, spine supports, mull, headbands – all torn, scraped, or fallen away from books in need of repair. By gluing and stitching them together using the Japanese method of mending, boro, Preserving Humanity becomes an homage to the preservation of vintage bindings.

About Margo Klass

Margo Klass is a mixed media artist whose work includes sculptural box constructions and artist books. She exhibits her work widely in solo and group shows in Alaska and beyond and is represented in the collections of Alaskan museums, national parks, and in private collections. She is a recipient of grants from the Rasmuson Foundation and Alaska State Council on the Arts and received the 2015 Governor’s Individual Artist Award. She maintains studios and teaches bookmaking workshops in Alaska and Maine.