Traumarbeit by Elsi Vassdal-Ellis

When I was 12 Howard Carter saved me from bullies when I discovered him in the library. My dreams of becoming an archaeologist began. I read eclectically. Would it be Egypt or Pre-Columbian Americas or maybe China? At 17 I discovered academic gender bias and decided to make artifacts for future archaeologists to spite the sexist attitude of the college recruiter. The narrative of this book is divided into 9 pamphlets to read in any order with imagery reflecting my early archaeology dreams merged with memories of a dream inspired and influenced in part by a second reading of Herbert’s Dune and Pavić’s Dictionary of the Khazars. Cultural images included here are not appropriations per se but a celebration of cultures and curiosity of my youthful ambitions to be a renowned archaeologist. The digital collages combine stock, public domain, personal, vintage/antique photographs, copyright free clip art, scans of fabrics. The introduction/colophon pamphlet identifies sources for the curious.

Artist Bio

Elsi Vassdal Ellis is an alchemist and storyteller. She taught design production and book arts at Western Washington University for 40 years, retiring in June 2017. Narratives are distilled from diverse sources (current affairs, common experiences, memories, the physicality of the material world, and found objects, with a preference for primary sources) to emerge in book form. As EVE Press she has produced 175 editions (via offset, letterpress, inkjet techniques) and 145 unique books since 1983 in a well-equipped studio. Her work is permanently housed in over 150 collections including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Yale University Library, and The Wiener Library for the Study of Holocaust and Genocide.