Long-time Quad Cities resident, artist, and teacher Bill Hannan has been designing, lettering, illustrating, and making books for much of his career, and he is still discovering new ways to make them. About twenty of those books, from papyrus scrolls to accordion folds, are now on display at the Thomas Tredway Library at
Augustana College in the exhibit “Bill Hannan: Maker of Books.”“In some ways, the whole package of a book could be considered to be a kind of sculpture,” Bill says, “a workable and working sculpture, to be seen, but also used and manipulated.” Indeed. These book sculptures beckon the viewer in so many ways, you don’t know what to look at first— gorgeous and colorful covers, boldly elegant lettering, textured creamy paper, or luminous illustrations. You want simultaneously to read the books, revel in the drawings and letterings, touch the paper, and turn the pages. Behind glass as the books are, however, you can only look and dream about holding one in your lap.
There is a feast for contemplation on display. “The Green Book,” for example, with text by Annie Dillard, consists of brightly stained green pages that fold out in surprising ways. A magisterial Psalter presents the psalms in red and black letters on papyrus mounted on large black pages. An accordion book illustrating the Twelve Days of Christmas becomes a Christmas card. Take a look at those ten lords a-leaping. Each one is distinct in expression and dress, and the twelve drummers look like they stepped out of the Revolutionary War.
As Bill says, “Each book is a new and exciting adventure, and no two books are the same.”
“Bill Hannan: Maker of Books” is on display at the Thomas Tredway Library at Augustana College through May 25 during normal Library hours. The display is part of the year-long celebration “From Parchment to Pixels: The Year of the Book.”