Body of Evidence


This is the typical reaction when I talk to old friends about the new book:

What is the book about, she asks.

Immigration, I say.

WOW, SHE IS FINALLY GETTING POLITICAL, she says (rather, she shouts.)

Variations of this are happening so often, but so often, that I am led to believe I should have grown out of poetic abstraction sooner. Thanks, Trump! We are growing stronger, more cohesive, more compassionate, more aware, and much more courageous, in a relatively short period of time. Cheers. Here is to Gratitude, for All The Negativity that is coming out of the closet: twice after the election (but not once before), people who act as if life owed them some sort of prestige threatened to use my immigration status as leverage in favor of  their – their honor, I guess? Their starved sense of superiority? I can only guess. Walt Whitman comes to mind:

Were mankind murderous or jealous upon you my brother or my sister?

I am sorry for you… they are not murderous or jealous upon me;

All has been gentle with me… I keep no account with lamentation;

What have I to do with lamentation?

What have I to do with lamentation? True, my stomach turned a few weeks acidic around the inauguration, and after children were used as live ammunition I realized I shouldn’t read into my phone before I go to bed. And I surely feel ever less inclined to get out of town. But, other than that, it is getting to work. If political, then be it. If under the spotlight for being a) woman and b)born in an underdeveloped nation, then be it. In my way of making books by hand, stuff of life makes a fine content.


As such, this new book grows from the core outward, the core being an essay – Citizen, my first-person narrative about the concussion of an undocumented alien, which my editor-friend Maureen Cummins generously shaped into publishing material for her resistance journal Tinker Street last year. Gravitating around it there are photogravures, passages from my journals, letters from Celine Lombardi and Sarah Nicholls, text messages from roommate Jessica Russ and, of course, from my mother, and, if all angels of institutional licensing allow: snippets of Rebecca Solnit precious prose; a line from the diaries of Joseph Cornell; a poem by Emily Dickinson, in which she offered her being for Brazil.

I asked no other thing, No other was denied.

Why, it is after all My Take on Immigration: political-poetic, or maybe poetic-political, depending on How You Read It.


on the mend and in the works

As result of a bike riding concussion of which I have no memory whatsoever, on a late summer night my body laid unconscious in an under lit street of Northern Manhattan I do not know for how long. As an undocumented alien, at that time I carried with me no identification at all. Another age and place, I wouldn’t be here to tell the story. It having being New York City in the year of our Lord of 2015, I am making a photography artist book.


By itself, the book will not be able to stand on its feet.


My best means of materializing such vulnerability (and my growing hopefulness for the best angels of human nature) is through B&W photographs of bridges and stairways that are part of my neighborhood.  Why bridges and stairways: because I often abstract from such structures the concept of transposing oneself from one reality to another – a commonplace in an immigrant’s life.


Besides photographs, this book will feature Emily Dickinson’s poem “I asked no other thing”, in which the author offers her being for Brazil, along with my Portuguese rendering of it.


I propose to make some 20 white cubes, probably 20x20x5″,

inside of which 20 artists will display their work.

There won’t be many rules to start with, but I will set forth some guidelines drawn from 13 years of experience as a member of a communal studio which functions within a gallery.

The first guideline is: each white cube will have an opening custom-made to allow a viewing experience apart from all others.

As result, although the 20(sh) cubes will be exhibited in the same space, the viewer will be able to absorb the contents of only one at a time.

20(sh) “solo” shows will thus be displayed simultaneously, plus one “group” show

(the contents of the “group” show will be decided by the Group.)

The Group will be formed by artists who will have agreed to provide artwork to be shown in one such private white cube, which means they will have consequently had signed up to work for the Group the same amount of time I will have had invested in making the cube she/he will use.

The cubes will all be white in the exterior, but the interior may also be customized.

The range of options of what shall be meant as “work for the Group” will be decided by the Group. I will suggest that to be circumscribed within the boundaries of a) this project promotion (documenting, fundraising, etc); b) production/publication of art criticism; c) volunteering for the communal studio/institution where the cubes will be made; and/or d) volunteering for an organization such as Fountain House.

As for the art to be displayed, the artists will choose whether to

a) work within his/her field of inquiry


b) use as motive the experience of working for/with the Group.

The curatorial cut I will employ is an equation of what I perceive as a) an individual’s commitment to an artistic practice; b) an individual’s awareness of the influences her/his choices of inquiry have brought upon themselves and c) an experience I would have previously had of working with these artists in a fashion such as to have had the workload harmoniously shared – in other words, people who I look forward to work with again for knowing that within a given set of constraints the work dynamics are biased toward fairness. Consequently the Group demographic will be: ethnically diverse; 30’s-60’s years-old; female in majority.

In essence, I propose the job of the curator to be the job of a facilitator in an experiment of art market cast barter, establishing as currency the time we artists will have spent together and separately creating a reality for our work to be experienced.

Hours spent at meetings (or absences) will be currency; tardiness resulting in pressure over the production chain will be charged at equal rate with intellectual chores. For example, as an artist I will add to the sum of hours owed to the Group, hours traded for my labor as a craftswoman, hours which will be paid through my administrative role.


random reports 1, 2 and 3

RR1 RegretsRandom Reports is a series of poems by Barbara Henry derived from vocabulary lists chosen by chance and choice from the first section of The New York Times. They reflect the spirit of the day and are specifically dated, and the subject of the poem is strictly a result of the wordlist.

RR1 House Fire

They are often titled from the headlines. Many many years ago I asked Barbara to allow me a binding gathering the volumes 1, 2 and 3. Time being a theme on all I try my hand at, this sat unfinished for about 7 years. After an involved first attempt with low-relief carvings of scaffolding layers on wood covers that were deep enough for the gauging but too thick for the binding, its potential baffled the binder: thanks to Barbara’s kaleidoscopic talent with words, the number of design venues to explore was vast. Not to mention the weight of my own deflation. Little did I realize how ambitious that first attempt had been. It might photograph well, but oh it functions poorly. Under deadline-pressure I even went ahead and submitted it out to be handled. Oh the shame.

first attempt

Trusting the process kernel originally glimpsed, however, I embraced as propelling force a writing technique known as “hasta pronto adelante“: forward forging ahead from wherever the work is at – a mindset that shares an essence with the poetic constraints of the work. Binding-wise I was in for a trial-and-error loop, but at least this time I kind of knew it. Such kindness to myself totally shared a vibe with Barbara’s forbearance: she never once asked me what was going on.

rr front cover
re-re-re-revised version, with slipcase

Forever forward moving, the initial scaffolding dimensional backdrop made its way to the foreground with the recourse of graffiti rubbings: reminiscences of the tactile response one gets from handling inky newspapers, the original substratum for the poems.

rr back cover
back cover, w slipcase

The back covers offer a contrast with this rough reality through the sensuality of leatherwork – alum goat hand-dyed to match Barbara’s color motif – bringing the harsh graffiti input to an immediate association with skins: layered experience, in tandem with the poems essence.

3 books were bound in this fashion, one of which is available for sale. The price (slipcase included) is $850. Inquiries, please feel free to email me at

This final version luscious photographs are by Roni Mocan.


A couple of years ago our dear Asuka Ohsawa gathered around her magnetic self a group of 6 artists to collaborate on a limited edition book inspired by inheritance – be it within families, cultures or generations.

lineage cover w boxI learned a lot just by observing Asuka’s talent for sharpening our focal point while allowing for such a rich periphery. “Lineage” is lovely to look at, with its 6 entirely different perspectives yet cohesive and meaningful as a whole. It’s has a varied zoom kind of quality, with some of us staying really near home while others took a bird-eye shot, or presented an abstraction, or even offered a kaleidoscopic view of the matter. This next image shows the spread Asuka created:

asukas page

As the following images show, immigration at its contradictory-most level provided me with both the field perspective and the field itself.

lineage 1st page


lineage 2nd page


lineage 3rd page


lineage 4th page


lineage spread

The book is bound as a drum-leaf with silk & paper hard-cover (hotstamped), approximately 6×6″. Produced in an edition of 10, a couple of which are for sale. The price is $350.


Authors: Asuka Osawa, Stephanie Beck, Jessica Lagunas, Ana Paula Cordeiro, Roni Gross, Sarah Nicholls.

Text and images were printed from handset type, photopolymer plates, woodcuts and linoleum blocks on a Vandercook Proofing Press at The Center for Book Arts, NYC, winter 2013/2014. The photos above where taken by Roni Mocan with the exception of Asuka’s page, which was taken by Roni Gross.

Inquiries, please feel free to contact:

lightweight the limp-vellum


lw text 1my long time obsession with limp vellum bindings, finally fully indulged.

lw closed

lw frontflyleafand there is even an explanation for it:

text 2

lw text 3as for the content, after many weeks working long hours to finish it up in time for the spring Book Fair, all I can say is I hope you will enjoy as much as I do (meaning, even though I’m completely exhausted it still tickles me, as a puppy or a kitten that keeps one awake the whole night would)

lw first spread



lw stairs

lw stairs closeup

lw tulips

lw felines


lw colophon

oh yes, it surely had to have its own funny box:

lw w box 1

you probably wouldn’t be seeing these images without the priceless technical expertise, creativity and heartfelt generosity of Celine Lombardi and Roni Mocan, not to mention the constantly invigorating enthusiasm of Maureen Cummins, Linda Broadfoot, Kara Lack, Sarah Nicholls and Jessica Lagunas. And of course, none of this would have ever happened if it wasn’t for my Mom.

happily ever after

lw w box 2


For the artist statement, tech specs and more images, please click here.

Lightweight Photos: Roni Mocan

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book heads

I do find book anatomy a very sexy subject, and I quite am sure I am not alone at that. In case you don’t know: the top of the book is called “Head”, and the bottom is called “Tail”. The spine is known as “Spine”, and the page opening side is called the “Fore Edge”. Why, I realized after the fact that all the images that slide away on this blog header are, well, “Heads”. Oh, nerds! Don’t we love them?

lw head crop

This particularly attractive Head is from Lightweight, the new project featured here. The top portion of the pages turned out so pretty, I had to show it off. I had to.

(yes of course I paid a price, yes of course a staggered Head is not a particularly predictable element. Yes, yes, it drove me crazy. I know! But it makes me happy, what else can I say…)

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what i do when i am not “working”

is what some may call “also work”, guts a as in “breathing”/”forgetting-breathing.” guts b

Sometimes I say I am just making “something for someone”, quasi the bird

sometimes it’s “my own work”, sometimes it is a “job”. I must say, though,

– I have never gone through any of the above as if in a vacuum. cory the cat a     cory the cat c I understand proper labeling is an important function, I guess. But, what if one’s interest falls exactly in the conflict zone?

cory the cat b

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SSS detail

For me one of the great advantages of having a bookbinder mentality is the ability to, uh, bind.

SSS 360 view

Having to constantly deal with the imports of my unrelenting memory, I quickly realized how soothing is to gather my somewhat scattered mind products in order to get them folded-pressed-stitched-glued-and-covered.

dia del muertos

There is hope for us all, books tell me. I am not sure I can always believe, but apparently a faltering faith is all the more faithful. Crawling leaps.

green catterpilar

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getting into it

notions closeup

I am a bookbinder. My skill is my comfort – I hardly ever feel need to take breaks, or to zone out of work. My life, however, is pretty damn complicated:

Living Abroad/Papers/Politics,

Legitimate/Illegitimate Limits,

Tomorrow/No Tomorrow.

bare abyss closeup

Creating my own work alongside grew out of necessity to cope, language being a tool both for shaping and to shape.I hear often that what I do is sculpture, and that is certainly part of it. Words not set on stone gotta take some sort of form for my taste. But my previous career was in Communication, my first obsession was metalinguistic artifacts, and my present gravitational field is around coherence.

caxixis-ny boy

It all naturally coalesces as book forms.

{back to “home”}