Hedi Kyle, the star of our current HELLO HEDI exhibition here at the gallery, made her first book in Berkeley, California in 1968. During her long career as a top-notch book conservator and teacher, Hedi inspired book artists around the world by inventing myriad innovative structures including the flag book, blizzard book, fishbone fold, Wunderkabinets, pivoting panel book and many others. She truly revolutionized the field of book arts with her penchant for play, material explorations and willingness to share.
One example of her willingness to share is the table here in the gallery that you will find filled with 20 of Hedi’s own working models of book structures. Hedi sent these models to the gallery and intended them to be displayed in a “pile.” She says of her models piled at a previous exhibition, “people could pick them up and examine them anyway they wanted. They are not precious but well made and they do have some kind of content. They clearly reveal structural details… I love these models and I think that they give a good impression of what I have worked on and taught for many years. Visitors seemed exited and often returned with sketch book or camera. I do not care if the handling leaves traces. In fact, I like the patina of repetitive handling.”
Then, there is this quotation that might give you some more insights into Hedi’s spirit of play: “Many secrets of this visualizing device have been disclosed by Hedi Kyle. She discovered some of these while playing with paper toys such as the Chinese wallet and continuous concertina found in fan pleats and pleated stretch toys. Their tricks of articulation and mobility suggest the intimate relation of structure and action. She focused these sources and many other talents to create elegant, new book forms. Her prototype Flag Book of nineteen seventynine is now a symbol for artists’ books. Hedi’s tiered fin and fan pleated structures are both the toys and the tools for artistic work with books.” —The New Bookbinder, Vol. 10/1990
So, come visit the gallery soon and play with the models created by Hedi herself. I consider this model table to be a great adjunct to the HELLO HEDI exhibition that features exquisite books by the next generation of artist that have so skillfully adapted her structures, expanded on her ideas and continued her sense of discovery that has long inspired us all.