Several years ago, I got together with some artist friends to discuss the art process.
We all agreed we needed an exercise to stimulate our creative juices. What resulted was the decision to make books- this was not book binding but a way to express what was on our minds and to use a different medium to express ourselves. There were books on raising, killing and cooking rabbits for food-with a rabbit fur cover, a book carved of local marble, books about money and finance, and our basic mis-impressions of life. Ultimately we invited a host of other artists to make books, discuss their process, and what they were thinking about when they made them. Over the course of a winter we met at my home and learned from, and enjoyed each other immensely. A small exhibition resulted a year later for which I submitted this book. It has been shown several times in exhibits since then.


DESPAIR–This is a hand-stitched felt book, approximately 6″ high x 8″ wide

IMG_7986The first page of Despair  shows stitches unconnected to the needle

anne-fredericks_7987Page 2–Button holes too large for the buttons.

anne-fredericks_7988Page 3 Snaps that make no sense!

anne_fredericks_7989Page 4  An attempt to repair holes, but the pins do not address the problem.

anne-fredericks_7991Page 5  Safety pins that don’t function to close the raging red gash.

DESPAIR was a poem to my Mother, to whom I dedicated this little book. My mother could make anything with a needle. She smocked dresses, knitted coats, embroidered priests vestments with golden thread, knit argyle socks for my father with his name knit into the toe.

Hats, scarves, sweaters, needlepoint pillow and purses flowed from her needles. Her hands were always busy, she rarely needed a pattern. I made this book when she was 89 years old. Still beautiful, with an active mind, she found she could no longer sew as she could not thread a needle. She found the things she had been doing from childhood impossible to do. She was not debilitated-just failing eyesight and some arthritis in her hands.

DESPAIR was what I imagined she felt about this change. When she visited, she loved the book but was completely puzzled by it, especially the title. She in no way felt despairing, that was just my take!

I thoroughly enjoyed stitching up this book. I loved the feel of the felt, the lovely silk threads I used. The intricate sewing hardware-things that many people will never handle or purchase again in our throw away culture. This is one of my favorite creations, a lovely tactile object.