The Dreamer's Room by Anita Bigelow —PURCHASE PRIZE AWARD!

Dreams—fugitive or not, sweet or not—long have fascinated me. Where do they come from, what can they mean? In sleep, so death-like, are we visited by the heavenly or the hellish, deep spiritual truth or mere day residue? Playing into this fascination was my discovery in college of ancient taxonomies of dreams, with categories for the sacred and the silly, as well as of the medieval literary convention of the dream vision. To explore the enigma of dreaming - possibly sacred, possibly profane - and to honor one of the great poets of the dream vision convention, Chaucer, I have made this book. Inspired by lines from Chaucer's Book of the Duchess describing the walls of a room in a dream as covered by an illuminated text, I have made a structure with calligraphically walled rooms, using lines from some of Chaucer's dream vision poems and an Anglicana formata hand similar to those used in Chaucer's lifetime. I trust the structure gives room for dreaming's mystery to unfold. —PURCHASE PRIZE AWARD! SACRED | PROFANE 2014. This work will be purchased by the gallery and donated to the John Wilson Special Collections at Multnomah County Library.

Artist Bio

Anita Bigelow, n‚e Louri‚, was a literature major at Reed College and then, ten years later, at Portland State University. Anita originally studied calligraphy with Lloyd Reynolds at Reed. She briefly attended the San Francisco Art Institute as a printmaker and there had the good fortune to take a typography class from Jack Stauffacher. Only recently has she been assiduous in the practice of calligraphy, enjoying classes from Rebecca Wild, Carol DuBosch, and Colleen Cavin, along with as many workshops as possible. More recently she has discovered a love of book binding and the possibility of making artists books, a love discovered in a PSU book arts class taught by Susan Harlan, and furthered in workshops with Tim Ely. In her other, pre-retirement lives, Anita taught in alternative schools, worked in a restaurant kitchen, and was a computer programmer and systems administrator. She also worked as a copywriter and illustrator.