Miriam Schaer's Needle and Thread / by Kat Howard

Miriam Schaer, "Of The Errors of My Heart Too Numerous To Count," 2009 Miriam Schaer transforms everyday clothing items such as aprons, girdles, brassieres, and gloves in to hauntingly beautiful books. Each artwork is an illustrative poem that examines issues about the body, the self, and womanhood. She uses garments as a means of containment. I love the structural element of her work, and the compartments within compartments. Miriam really challenges her audience to expand their notion of what book art is, by thinking outside the box, or in this case by rethinking the traditional binding. Every piece seems to preserve the imprint of a human story - it's a pleasure for the viewer to visually undress each book's secrets.

I first became acquainted with Miriam's work after I took a class with her at the Center for Book Arts called 'The Embroidered Cover.' It was only a weekend long class, but Miriam made the most of it. She taught us a variety of stitches, as well as couching, the best tools of the trade, how to make our own book cloth, and how to make faux cords on a bound book. She also gave a presentation on the history of embroidery in bookbinding extending to the present, and introduced us to artists such as Regina Frank, Anne Hamilton, and Agnes Richter. The work of these artists really jogged my brain to think about all the unique ways to incorporate embroidery with my book art.

Miriam led a fantastic class; I learned a lot and she created a relaxed and merry environment. She currently teaches at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and her art is frequently exhibited. You can learn more about her, and see her inspiring works of art at miramschaer.com.