Silent Faces / Angkor is a book that grew out of artist Mary Heebner’s visit to the temple complex of Angkor in Cambodia. While there she made sketches and took photos of the ancient stone carvings on the temple walls and later created a series of collages and paintings based on these images. From those artworks, Heebner developed this multi-faceted, multi-media book.

This work comprises a box of straight-grained red cedar with two hinged lids inside of which is a metal tray with a bronze patina that holds multiple volumes.  The first is Silent Faces: Angkor which contains Heebner’s thoughts and poetic reminiscences of her trip to the temple complex accompanied by photographs and letterpress illustrations. This volume is bound with a black leather spine and printed paper-covered boards.

Also in the metal tray is a hand-painted paper chemise containing two accordion fold books. Asparas of Angkor contains eight letterpress illustrations of celestial spirits called asparas which are based on sketches Heebner made at the temple complex. The Churning of the Sea of Milk contains the artist’s interpretation of the myth of the same name. Both of these volumes feature a deeply debossed water motif.

Finally, the third volume included in the metal tray is a booklet of handmade paper with deckled edges containing the colophon and information about the project. The pages of this booklet feature two watermarked illustrations of asparas.

Underneath these volumes are four large hanging scrolls with prints of photo-based collages from the artist’s Geography of a Face: Khymer series which explores the faces of the sandstone carvings at Angkor. These scrolls are made of handmade abaca and linen paper watermarked with a pattern drawn by the artist and milled at the Dieu Donné Paper Mill in New York. They are finished with hand-wrought metal finials and a braid with beads of quartz, amber, copper, and glass.

The complex design of the entire project and original artwork upon which it is based were made by the artist. The volumes in this work were letterpress-printed in Spectrum by John Balkwill of the Lumino Press who also completed the bindings. The box design was created with the assistance of Tomio Muneno of Muneno Woodworks and built by Dennis Ito. The designs for the metal elements were created with the assistance of David Shelton of Shelton Design with production work by Joe Shelton.

This book is the 16th copy from an edition of 25. The colophon is numbered by the artist and the other volumes are all numbered and signed by the artist as well. Also included is a prospectus for the book.


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