ANTHROPOCENE | Maggie Puckett

Soil Horizons

Soil Horizons, 2011
12 different types of handmade paper (made with abaca, cotton, flax, found berries, garden vegetable greens, dead leaves, found roots, found soils, desert sand, pigment), thread, pva, hemp cords
6 x 5 x 4 inches (closed)

This artist’s book is about a less commonly romanticized horizon: the soil. Dig into the ground and you will find layers of soil with different textures and colors. Soil horizons are formed over long periods of time by biological, geological, and chemical processes occurring on and in the Earth. Soil Horizons pays homage to the Earth’s dirty crust. Employing plants, roots, soil, and pigments, the handmade paper explores different layers of soil from organic matter in topsoil to minerals in subsoil. The front and back covers represent the atmosphere, canopy, bedrock, and the Earth’s molten core, literally book-ending the internal soil horizons.

When closed, Soil Horizons is a thick, chunky block of a book, closely resembling familiar the codex form. Upon opening the book’s cover, the viewer is confronted with several cover-like pages, obscuring the very concept of a cover. In a unification of concept and form, peeling back the layers of the book represents peeling back the layers of the Earth. After the title page and introduction, the content of the soil begins. First with whole berries and stems embedded in transparent abaca paper, representing plant species at their peak of growth and fullness. Next the fruit and other plant parts begin to die and break down into smaller and smaller units until they are soil supporting roots of other, still growing plants. Digging deeper into the book (Earth) the pages (soils) change color and texture, losing organic material while gaining minerals. At last the book approaches its back cover: bedrock and the Earth’s fiery core. As the book is handled, small bits of soil, carbon, and rock fall off the paper and onto the supporting surface, creating a residue of the object, which is always in flux and perpetually, albeit slowly, breaking down.

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anthropocene: Project Description | FUCT | Fire to Fire | Soil Horizons | Salty | Thaw | Handkerchief for the Apocalypse

maggie puckett | contact

4 March, 2012