Charles Wisseman, Mixed Media Artist



I made this as an entry for an upcoming midwest Guild of Bookworkers show, with the theme of "midwest". I have lived here more than half my life, so I now feel fully midwestern. Show statement: Portals on the Prairie?the inland sea of corn and beans. I have lived in Champaign-Urbana for 34 years, and finally feel comfortable in this landscape. Big sky and agriculture hem in and push into this university town. I wanted my book to feel solid, like the midwestern people. Portals are bottle bottoms, which reveal translucent cross-sections of locally-collected plant and animal materials, including sticks, deer bone and antler, horse hoof, walnut, corn. Wood trim is local walnut, oak, and maple. Papers are handmade from soy bean, corn, queen anne lace, flax, and mixed prairie plants from my small prairie restoration. On these are mounted discs of handmade papers with pressed local plants, hornet nest paper from my yard, spider web spray-painted and transferred to black paper. Walnut veneer supports a central dried cross-section of an osage orange fruit (aka ?hedge apple?), lashed in at four quadrants by threads for horizon (a big feature out here) and verticals. Maps show my location in this land of grid-laid roads.
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