Isobel ChiangShell Pattern Necklace, Sheryl Oppenheim


                   6.625 × 9.375 in / 8.625 × 12 in
                   Printing: 48pp hand-marbled paper + 6pp letterpress pamphlet 
                   Binding: Leporello and pamphlet-bound, 14k gold-filled 6-chain spine with clasps
                   Cover Material: Hand-backed silk
                   Finishing details: Gold foil stamp
                   Book Concept: Sheryl Oppenheim, Sarah Smith, Small Editions
                   Graphic Design and Typesetting: Isobel Chiang
                   Print production: Small Editions
                   Publisher: Small Editions                  
                   Variable Edition of 4 small books, 2 large
                   Collected by: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ringling College, University of Miami, Tufts University

Shell Pattern Necklace is comprised of twenty-four sheets of marbled paper made using the shell pattern. Shell marbling is a variation on the stone pattern, which is created by holding a paint-dipped brush over the marbling bath and tapping it gently so that small drops of paint fall into the tray, spreading out to create a pattern reminiscent of stone. The shell variation calls for the addition of oil to the paint, which creates the effect of a halo around each drop and a concentration of color in the center.

Each sheet of paper is made from a single pigment, using a 19th century recipe for marbling paint. The book is arranged to create a rainbow made from pure pigments. The book is an exercise in observing the inherent properties of color, texture, and behavior of each pigment in its raw form. The unique structure of the book, a reinforced accordion which is held together at the spine by six individual necklace clasps, allows the book to be safely read and handled in standard book form. Unclasped, the book may be stood up and stretched end to end, becoming a sculpture (or “necklace”) long enough to adorn a room. The book includes a sewn-in letterpress pamphlet with the pigments listed in the order they are used, along with an essay by Oppenheim on art and chemistry.

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