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TO PREVIEW AMALGAM CLICK HERE

 

Amalgam

is an illustrated history about the life and times of my immigrant labor unionist grandfather who left Poland in 1911, when it was still part of the Russian Empire. Although the Russian Army no longer conscripted 12-year old Jewish children to serve 31-year-long tours of duty, my grandfather chose to evade their draft. After finding work as a pocket maker in a New York garment factory, he became a foot soldier in America’s armies of labor, fighting for a living wage.“Amalgam” focuses on his dual roles as a union member advocating for democracy in the workplace, and as dictatorial patriarch of his Brooklyn family, waging a war against toys.It contrasts old world ways with the desire to assimilate, and follows the family and the union through the Great Depression and World War II, up until the early 1960’s, with the union’s decline.The 24" x 18" images are cut from linoleum- some with chine collé additions from lithographic or digital prints.

 

         
All Text and Images © Frances Jetter 2019

 

Making the Prints for Amalgam

Justin Sanz printing

 

 

Ian Harkey working on the chine colle pieces

 

 

 

On March 5th 2007, a car bomb was exploded on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, “street of the booksellers”, killing more than 30 people and wounding over 100. Al-Mutanabbi Street held bookstores, outdoor bookstalls and cafes and was the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community.
In July 2010, Beau Beausoleil put out a call for book artists to join ‘An Inventory Of Al-Mutanabbi Street’, a project to “re-assemble” some of the “inventory” of the reading material that was lost in the car bombing, creating books that reflect both the strength and fragility of books, and showing the endurance of the ideas within them.

In “Street of Booksellers”, (wood cover, linocut, 6.5" x 6", 2012) the voices of long-dead poets continue to speak to us, from the "heads, tails, spines and bodies" of books- burned, broken, bulldozed and buried, on Al-Mutanabbi Street, and other streets beloved of writers and readers.

S L I D E S H O W

 

Voices & Visions, Harold Grinspoon Foundation
CLICK HERE OR BELOW TO SEE "CRY UNCLE " Photos: The book from idea through binding SLIDE SHOW

“Cry Uncle” an expression used by bullies to demand submission of the other,
is the title of this 23-page accordion fold book, a graphic response to man’s inhumanity to man in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and Bagram. 


In 2009, I wrote, designed and illustrated “Cry Uncle,” which begins in the Orwellian “Ministry of Love,” “where they had ways to make you talk.”


A canvas sack holds a portfolio covered with thin, creased, fragile-looking Nepalese paper resembling human skin. 11 images carved from 18” x 24” linoleum blocks, and the larger letterpress text from old wooden letters, were printed on translucent, handmade Japanese paper, allowing the viewer to glimpse the shadow image of what came before. Unfolded, the book is over 40 feet long. When the book is unfolded, it is over 40 feet long.


My work focuses on telling stories in pictures.  Political subject matter, not only to protest and document, intrigues me as an exploration of human nature.


The way type looks and sounds as it becomes a character’s voice interests me, as well as how language changes meaning by modifying scale or font.


The zippered red mouth on the sack that holds the book is the beginning and end of the story; the torturer’s lips are sealed.