May I Take Your Arm?
Photo by Anna Camilleri
Tactile Book Project
created in 2021
A series of limited edition accordion books designed by Anna Camilleri, are a mailed tactile accompaniment to experience the show. These books are “tactile poems” that can be explored in any way. They do not contain text. The books are hand-made using stitch work, paper weaving and cutting, and wild crafted botanical dyes.
May I Take Your Arm? books are on sale now for a Pay-What-You-Can-Afford (PWYC) price of $5, $25 and $50. Click here to purchase a book. If you need assistance accessing a book, please contact Community Engagement Coordinator, Angela Sun at email@example.com.
During the 2018 walks that became the ground for this project, we moved as a caravan: Alex and a storyteller, walking arm in hand, Charles ambling backward with a boom mic, Tristan marshalling, and me zig-zagging ahead and behind, recording notes and impressions.
Despite my long relationship with the neighbourhood and its people, I was struck by proximity and contrasts. The density of shadow cast by high sun. The pungence of garbage bins and magnolia in bloom. The canopy of trees amongst Victorian houses. The absence of trees amongst multi-story towers. A neighborhood on the edge of highway, river, and urban forest.
For this 2021 iteration of May I Take Your Arm? I wanted to bring the character of place alive beyond digital records of the immersive tactile installations originally created for the live performance -- installations that invited touch.
I offer a series of 200 handmade books to bridge the space between public and private and alone and together; to enact the intimacy of theatre created through the interaction between audience and artist. The books tell the story of place and the land that mediates, hosts, and supports our creative inquiry, and upon which we are guests.
- Anna Camilleri
Co-Creator, Environment Designer/Maker
Katie Yealland, Annanda DeSilva, Sierra Sun & Rhekia Fahssi
for bookmaking production assistance
Image description: Six photographs of the handmade tactile books. Although created to be touched, they are also striking works of visual art. Each book is unique - no two are the same. The photographs highlight a number of elements including paper pockets filled with twigs and seeds, paper weaving, tree bark, and designs intricately cut out of the book pages in the shapes of flower pods. The books are constructed out of white textured paper; some are coloured with natural dyes extracted from plants indigenous to the Toronto area. These dyes have been used to colour the pages of the books in shades from light brown to deep green.
Paper cutting and decoupage
Paper and thread weaving, wrapping, and stitching
Black Walnut and Sumac from the Don River watershed was gathered to produce botanical dye extractions
These were “fixed” with salt and vinegar
Watercolour salt painting
Embedded foraged botanical elements
Silver Birch and Grey Birch bark
Eastern White Pine needles