Wednesday, 2 January 2013


Tell Me A Story - Interactive Book at the Exhibit

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I am starting off 2013 with my Book Arts exhibit, A Show of Hands.     

ARTicipate Grant Recipient Starts 2013 with A Show of Hands, A Book Arts Exhibit

If you are a book lover, curious about how books are made or enjoy different art forms, then this is an exhibit you won’t want to miss.  Mary Kritz is a bookbinder, book artist, photographer and artist and incorporates these elements into her book designs and creations.  She teaches Creative Bookbinding and Book Arts at the Ottawa School of Art’s George Street and Orléans campuses.  This past summer, while working on a book, she realized she was watching her hands at work.  Thinking about the importance of hands and the activities carried out by them, she asked herself how she could turn the idea into a book.  Combining a sense of humour and play on words, she designed a set of eight books, called, “A Show of Hands.  This is an exhibit that will appeal to people of all ages.

Kritz is known for using different materials in her books and for this set of eight books she has used clay, cloth, wood, paper, terra skin and acrylic. The books are shaped in hands, surrounded by hands and supported by hands, and incorporate photographs of hands performing different activities, with images relevant to the narrative in each book.  She embroidered the cloth, inscribed Sumerian hieroglyphs into the clay and turned wood, paper and acrylic into accordion books, flag books and tunnel books with pull-outs.  She combined   tunnel, pop-up and accordion book techniques into one book. 

Kritz provides an opportunity for viewers to interact with one of the books called, Tell Me a Story, which consists of six shaped acrylic hands.  Each hand sits in a stair in an acrylic staircase.  Viewers are invited to use their hands to play with the notion of a non-traditional book form by changing the order and content of the book.  Words may be hung on the fingers and thumbs of the hands or placed on or around the staircase.  When viewers hang the double-sided words on fingers and thumbs two different stories emerge. 

This exhibit challenges our understanding of what a book is and how it functions.  Each book’s narrative invites the viewer in to wonder about and interpret the story being presented through visual images rather than words.  The acrylic book, Tell Me a Story, provides a unique and unusual opportunity by inviting the viewers to interact with and create their own story, thus changing the previous artist’s story and becoming the artist and narrator in that moment of time. 

Mary gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the ARTicipate Endowment Fund which has made this exhibit possible. 

When:               January 8th - 27th, 2013

Vernissage:    Jauary 14th, 2013     7:00 pm to 9:00 pm - Everyone is Welcome

Where:             LaLande + Doyle Exhibition Space, Lower Level  
                          Shenkman Arts Centre
                          245 Centrum Boulevard, Orléans, ON

Staircase for the interactive book, Tell Me A Story

 The Hands were shaped into symbols we use everyday to communicate with one another.  I used a heat gun to shape the acrylic.  A great learning moment. 

Here are the hands with some of the words attached to them.  This is where the fun comes in with this book.  


Well winter has finally arrived, in all its glory and whiteness, over the last two weeks.  Jack Frost has been a welcome visitor and he has left his beautiful art for me to enjoy over the holidays.  I see forests in this picture.  What do you see? 

 I see a flock of birds flying around a tree in this one. 


Classes will be starting again this month.  Here is the schedule for the courses and workshops being offered at the Ottawa School of Art - Bytown Campus and Orléans Campus.  To register for a course or workshop, by phone or online, contact the following: 

George Street Campus: 613-241-7471,,
Orleans Campus: 613-580-2765,,,

January 15 – March 26 – 6:30 – 9:30
George Street

January 23 -  April 3 – 6:30 – 9:30
Creative Bookbinding & Book Arts



February 2 – W/shop - 10 – 4:30
Japanese Stab
February 9 – W/shop – 9 – 4:00
Soft Coptic & Sleeve
George Street
March 16 – W/shop -10 – 4:30
Soft Cover Coptic
March 23 – W/shop – 9 – 4:00
Japanese Stab
George Street
April 17 – June 19 - 9:00 – 12:00
George Street


I was invited to display my books in the vitrine at the Cumberland Public Library.  On December 31st, I set up the display.  I broke it into three sections: Bookbinding, Box Making and Artist Books.  A selection of books on bookbinding and artist books from the library was included in the display.  They have a great selection of books on bookbinding for adults and children. 

 This is the bookbinding section of the display. 

 This is the Artist Books section.

 The top shelf is the Box Making portion of the display and the lower shelf was a combination of boxmaking and tunnel books. 

I will also be doing a bookbinding demonstration during their Literacy week at the end of the month.  When I have the exact date, I'll pass it on.  If you are in the neighbourhood of the Cumberland Library, drop in and have a look at the display.  They have a great selection of books and videos as well. 


In March, I will be participating in a group exhibit at Queen's University and exhibiting my books in the Vitrines at the Minto Suite Hotel on Lyon Street.  I'll post the particulars of these two events in February.

If you have any questions about the books, displays or exhibits, contact me at:

Wishing you a prosperous 2013.


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