While people might decry the end of the printed book as nigh, writer, multimedia artist, arts champion and publisher, Judith Miller, defies that notion by publishing charming chapbooks featuring Waterloo Region artists.
Under the imprint of Stonegarden Studios, Judith selects local artists and writers and marries their images and text together in beautiful chapbooks, showcasing the talents of both. The images do not explicitly illustrate the text or vice versa, but Judith hopes blending the distinctive, but at times complementary, works will “create new experiences for people and offer a refreshing space where people can step aside from the everyday,” she says.
Judith, poetic in voice, is a true champion of the arts and selects non-traditional prose and underrepresented art to pair together, such as exploratory essays, mediations and letters with printmaking, calligraphy and sculpture. “These art forms, while often neglected, are contemporary and ancient: a pleasing paradox,” she says. “These short forms are well suited to chapbooks where experimentation with form and language can often happen.”
Judith enjoys the collaborative effort between the writer, artist, book designer (Karl Griffiths Fulton), book printer (Pandora Press) and herself as editor and publisher. “The collaborative process is always rich, sometimes complicated—and I delight in it,” says Judith. “It works best when all participants contribute from their areas of strength, doing the best possible work and then it all comes together into something beautiful.”
Her most recent publication, Home, pairs printmaker Michelle Purchase with essayist Leslie Morgenson. Etchings of tree houses play with alternative concepts of home while the text illustrates the created sense of home for street-involved people. “In Toronto, Toronto, memories of the street cars caught in Jon Tobin’s paintings play off Bruce Lumsden’s poems about a young boy finding his way in the city,” Judith says. For both pairings, it is much like creating a metaphor.
Publishing these books, which sell for $20 at our friendly neighbourhood bookseller, WordsWorth Books, is a labour of love. “I love beautiful books and giving people access to these artists and writers enriches my life in wonderful ways,” she says. “I do not have the resources to buy much art, but this way I can share their work with a much wider audience than if I bought a single painting or book.”
P.S. Judith’s favourite topics of conversation: books, art shows, art techniques and film.