"Inland Sea", Artist Book, Mary Clare Butler

Article number: D627900102
Availability: In stock (8)


  • Hardbound book, covered in test prints and book cloth, letterpress printed with the title.
  • Bound with sewn on tapes with an exposed spine.
  • pages: 40
  • size: 9 1/4" x 11 3/4"

"Inland Sea is an offset-printed artist's book and corresponding print installation. It contains hundreds of cyanotype prints developed using the water in Lake Michigan to address the complicated relationship between nature and the city. Over a four month period, I coated small square sheets with a UV sensitive solution, placed the sheets in plastic bags, and exposed them in the lake at varying depths and exposure times. 

After visiting ten beaches and creating hundreds of cyanotypes, the images were used as source material for an experimental artist's book. An edition of 150 books, including a special edition of 25 books covered with handmade paper, was printed on the Heidelberg GTO offset press at the Center for Book, Paper & Print. Ink color and density were adjusted on press. As a result, each book in the edition is unique. By intervening in the offset printing process, the printed sheets continue to evolve and change, similar to the incessant motion of the Lake itself.

Mary Clare Butler

Interdisciplinary Book, Paper and Print / Art and Art History, 2016


Artist Statement:

Mary Clare Butler is an interdisciplinary artist using photography, printmaking, and text  within the space of the book to translate her surroundings into expressive documents.  Heavily influenced by cultural anthropology, the work uses ethnographic methods  like interviews, sample collection, and observation to create emotional portraits of the environment. Her most recent body of work focuses on Lake Michigan. Moveable type  fashioned from feathers collected on the beach, cyanotype prints exposed directly in the  water, and interviews with ice fisherman all present a more nuanced view of the lake.  The work incorporates the physical environment with various printing processes to investigate the role of the artist in portraying a subject. By integrating chance at each step  of making the work, the finished books and prints become a form of resistance; a call and response between the artist and nature to restore agency to both.

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