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'a knot dense and beautiful':
Textile artist's book, Lauren Callis


Lightscatter Press’s mission is literary multimodal publishing, which means we design experiences for the readers of the books we publish, using multiple modes of communication. For UNDERSHORE, we received a project grant from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, which allowed us to commission a work from artist Lauren Callis, painter and fiber artist. In response to UNDERSHORE, Callis proposed, prototyped, and designed a textile book, making concrete the textural, tactile, and textile domains that the poems draw upon. This accomplishes a kind of ‘regesturing’ of the poems, a tactile embodiment of the poems as material memory, visible in this different mode. This gallery creates a digital record of Callis's beautiful book. 

About Lauren Callis

Artist Statement

A feature of humanity is to communicate for the purpose of action. Through words and language we seek safety, find meaning, and build relationships as a way to move forward. My art practice has long focused on the other ways, beyond words, that we use communication to reflect. Through materials, I seek to make meaning in ways I have found words too narrow to achieve. Materials are my language. In layers of watercolor, stitches on top of silk, or tufts of wool, my aim is to use dynamic processes to champion the multihued parts of humanity in the service of reflection. When identifying the categories of my training---whether it be as a painter, fiber artist or art therapist---I have found a home in the material intelligence my practice offers as I communicate the themes I’m reflecting on.

To develop an artifact for UNDERSHORE, I began by finding a material language for the text. Kelly's work used generous sensory language, and I knew there needed to be a space for each tactile experience to be felt and seen. Creating a textile book felt like an answer to that need: highlighting individual poems' materialities while creating a necessary immersion into UNDERSHORE's world. My process dedicated time to finding a palette, deciding which materials needed manipulation and which did not, and considering my impressions of the poems. I wanted to create a sense of time and its role within grief. I attempted to describe that time as it occurs---unpredictably, tiredly, shockingly. UNDERSHORE invited me into another world and this book offered me a place to stay a while.


Lauren’s work has been shown across the midwest, employing the practices of oil, watercolor, and fiber arts.  She received an MFA in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and a BA in Art Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Lauren is an art therapist in Minneapolis and founder and executive director of Curiosity Studio.

"a knot dense & beautiful": Lauren Callis & Kelly Hoffer in (virtual) conversation

View the virtual conversation between poet Kelly Hoffer and artist Lauren Callis about their collaboration. This conversation took place on Zoom, May 19, 2023, and was moderated by Lightscatter Press board member Danielle Susi-Dittmore.

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