Dr. Marzia-Miselle Mendikulovich's Cabinet of Curiosities by Elsi Vassdal Ellis

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Working with the Lucky Number 13 project parameters from the 2013 Focus on Book Arts conference, I created black box with a guardian cobra to house a collection of objects and books featuring all 14 items on the project list in the form of a monograph in memory of my alter ego Dr. Mendikulovich, a proof copy of her La Menagerie manifique de M, her 2013 Pocket Pal Calendar, a miniature book on snakes, and 4 curiosity boxes (4 keys, 6 Chinese coins, yellow and red string woven on 13 toothpicks, a red mini-quilt with 15 red buttons) for a tale of obsession and mystery as an exploration for a possible edition. The number 13 is featured prominently (accompanied by the color red) and appears not just as numbers but subtly in the number of letters in her first and last name, her street address, her interest in the letter M (the 13th character in the alphabet). There are photographs of her haunted home (1313 Mont Mansfield) as well as bits and pieces of research material in the file folders.

Artist Bio

Elsi Vassdal Ellis creates books in Paradise: a well equipped studio in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1983 she has produced 117 editions (offset, letterpress, digital, stenciled, punched and cloth) as EVE Press as well 115 one-of-a-kinds. She exhibits nationally and internationally. Her work is permanently housed in many public collections including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, New York City Public Library, Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Grabhorn Collection in the San Francisco Public Library, and Arts of the Book Collection in the Yale University Library. Western Washington University has been her professional home since 1977 where she holds the rank of full professor. She teaches digital pre-press, offset and letterpress printing, graphic design history, and book arts. She has also taught Honors seminar courses combining book history topics with the making of historical models.