Shawn Sheehy – A Meeting of Mutualists

Artist Statement

Typically, paper-engineered structures are built into books that require total collapse. In A Meeting of Mutualists the structures are built into shallow boxes that DON’T require total collapse and therefore allow for novel exploration of engineering parameters. The pair of mutualists in each box are actuated by their own mechanisms, but are built so that the mechanisms work together fluidly. Given that ecological mutualism describes a relationship where two organisms operate independently but with mutual benefit, the content of the book and the structure of the book are tidily aligned.

Materials & Technique

Bound collection of paper-engineered mechanisms.

About Shawn Sheehy

Shawn Sheehy has been teaching book arts courses and workshops on the national level for nearly 20 years, including stops at the Center for Book Arts, Penland, Arrowmont, FOBA, Pyramid Atlantic, San Francisco Center for the Book, Minneapolis Center for the Book, PBI, and many others. His broadsides and artist book editions have been collected by such prestigious institutions as Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, University of Chicago, Library of Congress, UCLA, and Harvard. He has created two trade pop-up books: Welcome to the Neighborhood (2015) and Beyond the Sixth Extinction (2018). Both were originally produced as artist books, both were published by Candlewick Press, and both won numerous awards. His pop-ups have been featured twice in both Hand Papermaking magazine and Vintage magazine. He has served as director of the Movable Book Society since 2018. He holds an MFA in the Book Arts from Columbia College Chicago.