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The Collation

Storming Shakespeare: creating an artists' book

Editor’s note: When the Folger acquired the lovely artist’s book Storming Shakespeare from Jan Kellett last year, Erin Blake asked if she would be willing to share some information with our readers about the making of the book. The post that follows is Kellett’s account of the inspiration and physical process of creating Storming Shakespeare

After working for a while as a book conservator I started to write, illustrate, and bind miniature books. Making anything in miniature is a challenge, and I enjoy finding solutions to some of the trickier situations miniatures present. When I had the idea for Storming Shakespeare, there was a wealth of material I wanted to include so my solution was to make a triple dos-à-dos binding, which could encompass the text, quotations, and illustrations all in the same book.

Jan Kellertt's Storming Shakespeare

Jan Kellett’s Storming Shakespeare

This is the finished book, showing the three parts: the first part is the essay about Shakespeare’s use of storms in Julius Caesar, King Lear, and The Tempest; the second part, (facing front on the right side of the picture) consists of quotations from Julius Caesar and King Lear with drypoint and monotype illustrations; and the third part in the center (here facing away from us) deals with the storm in The Tempest, using quotations and illustrations, and bound in such a way as to convey the ethereal dreamlike nature of the play. 


This is a stunningly beautiful piece and I would love to see it in person if it is ever on display…Given the slim chances, I just want to thank you for all the detailed photos of the process. I can just imagine how much cherishing went into each aspect of this work.

Anne Seiler — December 18, 2014


Thanks, Anne. You’re right, it was a labour of love.

Jan Kellett — December 22, 2014


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