By Helen Hiebert
Red Cliff, Colorado: Helen Hiebert Studio, 2019. Edition of 25.
12 3/8 x 9 1/2"; 54 pages plus cover. Stitched into a single signature. Deckled edges. Text pages on 100% premium abaca, colored with aqueous dispersed pigments mixed by Lata Gedala. Front and back text pages in premium abaca natural hue. Title page includes watermark and hand stitching. Cover of cotton/abaca pulp blend with a pulp painting in abaca. Text letterpress printed by Tom Leech at the Press at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico, from polymer plates. Printed in Dane and Futura typefaces. In a clamshell box created by Claudia Cohen. All handmade papers by Helen Hiebert.
Helen Hiebert: "This book explores the wonder of that interaction between color and light. As you flip through the pages, you will see 24 analogous colors (each new hue sharing some of the color of the page next to it). It's my attempt, as a paper artist, to capture the essence of a rainbow within the pages of the book. ...
"A prism is a solid figure with ends that are parallel and of the same size and shape, and with sides whose opposite edges are equal and parallel. Only the triangular prism makes a ray of light change direction as it enters at an angle and separates into the color spectrum. Light also changes speed as it moves from one medium to another (i.e. from air into the glass of the prism), and this causes light of different colors to be refracted differently and to leave the prism at different angles, creating an effect similar to a rainbow.
"My medium is handmade paper, and for over 25 years, I have been exploring the properties of abaca, a fiber from a non-fruit bearing banana plant. I processed the abaca fiber to create a translucent paper that resembles frosted glass. I spent a long time contemplating how to achieve a rainbow of paper and performed several color-mixing experiments.
"All 54 pages plus the cover of this book are stitched together into a single signature allowing the soft, deckled edges of the colors to meet at the fore-edge, blending and transitioning from one to the next as colored light does in a rainbow. The action of turning the thin, translucent pages, combined with the light source in the space you are viewing them in, creates an experience with color and light. Each individual color changes subtly as you turn the page: the perceived colors blend and blur as they interact with each adjacent page, but they can also be experienced as their pure color as the sheet is lifted into the air.
"When opened to the center spread, the book pages lay in two symmetrical stacks connected by the folded spine, with a set of colors in mirroring sequences on either side. From left to right the pages read: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet (ROYGBIV) and from the center of the book to the end, the sequence continues with the colors appearing in the reverse order (VIBGYOR). This happens to be similar to the way a double rainbow appears in the sky."