by Ellie Weber
Jody Alexander uses discarded books, papers, and fabrics to make contemporary and traditionally bound books, altered books, scrolls, and wall pieces. Her installations include a variety of these works combined as collections in mostly domestic environments.
Her books often inspire her scrolls and wall hangings. She explains this connection by stating in the Creativebug Trailer, that in every piece she makes “there’s always a book at the center, it’s kind of the heart and soul.” As a librarian and teacher, she understands the lifespan of paper objects. Rather than discard, she alters the material, continuing the life and story of the object or person.
Her nostalgic installations are curated collections within an environment reminiscent of them. She collects photos and objects in an attempt to give them new life. The tediousness in often stitching together found photos and stories presents a sentimentality or sense of homage to these strangers. She enjoys the mystery in trying to piece together the unknown lives within these found objects, and imagines their past world. At times, she narrates her fictional version through the work.
Portrait with Phinnea's World
Outdated and familiar associations with the objects allow room for the viewer to invent part of the story. Alexander wants to encourage a collaborative story. In the Trailer she talks about only giving so much information so the viewer can “bring experiences they’ve had so far in life and fill in the blanks.”
The Odd Volumes of Ruby B. give a background story dated Wednesday, July 11, 1979. It says she spent most of her life living in a residency hotel. On her walks to and from work as a secretary, she would collect treasures. Ruby left her family to live a life of near solitude and wrote volumes on the densities of life. This installation tells the mysterious stories of Ruby B. among her one bedroom apartment.
Odd Volumes of Ruby B.
Alexander's methods of constructing and deconstructing create a sense of tenderness and humor. Although overwhelming at times, there seems to remain a quietness or implied exploration.
She uses form and display to build repetition and collections. She thinks about structure as a container of information, communication, and stories.
Both Keep-Modern Library and Bibliomuse are series created using discarded or withdrawn library books. Keep was a discarded library stamp, but the series also includes mostly reclaimed antique linen and Japanese textiles. The pieces are reminiscent of quilts or tapestries, a patchwork of parts. These two series are exploring the ways in which we hold onto things and emotions, while questioning when to keep and when to release.
Genetics, Paleontology, and Evolution, No. 1 from Bibliomuse series
Alexander lives and works in Santa Cruz, California. Her blog Wishi Washi Studio showcases new work, exhibitions, and workshops in person and online.
The Odd Volumes of Ruby B.
Jody Alexander Trailer on Creativebug: https://vimeo.com/43226012