Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A Book of Trees

For the past two years, I have been posting about a collaborative project that I have been working on with Jen Worden and Seth Apter. I can't even remember when the idea to work together happened, it might have been when I still lived in Seattle! I knew that I wanted to work with Seth as I admire the way he uses collage and paint to create incredible texture in books. We decided to ask one more person to join us and I suggested Jen Worden as her work, whether it is collage or assemblage, has always intrigued me. I was so excited to work with them as we began discussing the shape and form our collaboration would take.

My only caveat was that we each approach our books as something to challenge ourselves with, either via concept or medium. And then along with that, we had to be open to the challenge with the spirit of exploration. We were going to challenge each other, but most of all have fun and experiment. I said, let's not get caught up with creating "masterpieces", this is for experimentation. I would rather have a page in there that was a botched attempt at pushing oneself than a pretty page. Where's the interest in just a pretty page?!

The way it worked was that we each created a "page" or "spread" in each other's books, then mailed it to the next person. I always mailed mine out to Jen, then Jen mailed hers to Seth, then Seth to me. We had to respond visually to the page that had just been done. I wanted each book to read like a visual dialogue.

I am happy to announce that our books are all in the last stages of final binding and my plaster book is completely done! I took photos of the book this week and I hope to share the other books with you in future posts.

Book of Trees
cover art, by bgmills

I will start with my book. The title of this book is "The Book of Trees". I asked Jen and Seth to interpret the theme however they felt. Pretty simple. The challenge for us all was the fact that the book was made out of plaster pages bound with thick metal wire.

on one of her turns, Jen did her magic on the wire, curling them up, adding metal embellishments. I was thrilled when I saw this as I know nothing about working with metal.

page on the left
right: bgmills, encaustic and mixed media


Spread by Jen Worden

Left: Seth Apter, collage and mixed media
Right: bgmills, encaustic

Left: Jen Worden
Right: Seth Apter

left: bgmills, encaustic
right: jen worden, acrylic

left: seth apter
right: bgmills, collage and beeswax

last page!
bgmills, encaustic and mixed media

We are all not only happy to have finished this collaborative project, but thrilled that our three books are going to be part of an exhibit called "Come Together" this summer in Chicago at the Milwaukee Avenue Art Festival, curated by Jane Michalski. A perfect ending to a project that we each dedicated more than 2 years to! These books have been through so much, traveling from Chicago, to Nova Scotia, to New York City. Going through lags while Jen trained for Iron Man and Seth for several marathons, and for me when my daughter was born. I couldn't be more happy with how this project developed and working with Jen and Seth who were the perfect creative partners.

More info on the exhibit later!


  1. One gorgeous page after another, I'm thrilled to gaze at each one, plus the outstanding cover and back.
    Such absolutely stunning work! and I love that it features trees, of course!

  2. What wonderful images, Bridgette! I am the proud owner of an assemblage by Jen and also a necklace that I purchased on her ETSY page and I also have purchased a couple of Seth's pieces too. I feel so lucky to say that I own some of each of your works of art. Can't wait to hear about the exhibit. Wish I could join you in Oregon. Why does money always have to be an issue???!!!

  3. That is so touching and beautiful...I would love to see it in person and feel the pages...very nice work by all three and a great project!

  4. Bridgette this is such a wonderful little book and the cover is absolutely beautiful. Congrats on the exhibition!

  5. what a wonderful way to wrap up this's an absolutely gorgeous body of work. as the saying goes...two (or three) heads are always better than one!

  6. Congratulations on creating such a beautiful book and for it to be in an exhibition is icing on the cake!

  7. Stunning!! I love this. I've tried collage pages in the past and never been satisfied with what I ended up with, but this is a total inspiration for me to keep trying! Thanks.

  8. This is such a wonderful collaboration and a truly beautiful book. I just want to touch and smell the pages!

  9. Can't count how many times I said, "Oh, wow!" and "Oh, my gosh." Beautiful. But so frustrating in that I kept reaching out to touch the book and kept hitting the computer screen.

  10. Oh, wow! It looks so tactile, it's goregeous.

  11. Love love love this book! So much goodness. I just want to hold it in my lap. Congrats on finishing it.

  12. Absolutely STUNNING, in so many visual and philosophical ways.

  13. Bridgette- congratulations on this..what an amazing collaboration!!

  14. How beautiful...a very successful collaboration, I'd say....You three are definitely in creative harmony....

  15. This book is so amazing and wonderful. Congratulations on completing your book as well as compelting your collaborations! The books are so inspiring. I love the combination of mixed media and encaustic, what a fantastic blend!

  16. This project has been a pleasure from start to finish Bridgette. Thank you!

  17. Delicious! I love the very "organic" feel...what a treat to see! Lovely to be back and catching up with you here after our travels. After two weeks away from my studio, I'm eager to dig into to creativity again. :o)

  18. this is beautiful, and it makes me want to find 2 like minded souls to collaborate as this sentence "We had to respond visually to the page that had just been done. I wanted each book to read like a visual dialogue" really speaks to me, thank you for the inspiration

  19. Absolutely stunning, hardly surprising given the talent and love poured into each page and tiny detail. Congrats on the completion of such a wonderful project!

  20. Beautiful, beautiful images. Great collaboration. So happy for you all that you will be showing the 3 books. They deserve to be seen!

  21. This collaboration rocks my roots with trees as the topic and all the imagination leafing out on each and every page...wonderful that it will now be in the festival..congrats to all of you.

  22. this is so gorgeous and amazing that i forgot to breathe for a moment. it physically hit me right where my heart is. my god. there are not words enough to describe the feeling. wow.


  23. Bridgette, these photos are breath-taking, but I can imagine that to see the book in person would be an astounding treat. Hope to see your work at the Milwaukee Ave. Festival.

  24. as a lover of trees and bare branches and line and texture-- I simply adore your handmade book on trees.

  25. Breathtaking! What more can I say, just breathtaking!

  26. Bridgette, I'm so glad we finally get to see this fabulous collaboration. You can just see the love and time and care that were poured into each page; what a marvelous journey it must have been for the three of you! I'm so happy for you about the exhibit, too! xxoo

  27. What a fabulous book!!! Perfect compatible artists in this project!