A work of art

I picked up my copy of The Three Incestuous Sisters, today. Since I can’t see any mention of the creation process of the book on Audrey Niffenegger’s site, I thought I’d copy her description here:

The Three Incestuous Sisters‘s first incarnation was as an artists’s book, in a handmade collection of ten. I created the story in pictures, sketching page spreads the way a director might layout the storyboard for a film. I wrote the text; as the images gained in complexity, the text dwindled until the weight of the story was carried by the images. I then spent most of the next thirteen years making the aquatints, designing the book and setting and printing the type. The final year of the project was spent binding the books, elaborately, in leather.

13 years on one book – that’s dedication to your craft. Do many modern authors spend this amount of time on one project? I have trouble imagining so.

Audrey continues with a description of the laborious process of creating the aquatint images, which are basically zinc plates etched in nitric acid baths, and a list of the many ways in which her life changed during the time spent on the book. It’s beautiful, and I’m glad she spent the time making it.

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