Gena Ollendieck • Cresco, IA • Mixed Media

I have always found inspiration in old discarded objects, nature, and vintage blank and white family snap shots. The beauty and mystery inherent in old and forgotten objects offers me the opportunity to transform the ordinary into something new. My books are bound using a 16th Century leather hand-binding process in which the pages and the cover are hand sewn. I use all acid-free, archival-quality paper ideal for mounting photos and memories.



Go Ahead, Open it.

A curious child, I spent hours outside my parents' Northeast Iowa home in the woods and prairies exploring and finding all kinds of interesting "junk". Later, this curiosity lead me to a profession in visual arts instruction and then to the wonder of Paraguay, South America (as a peace Corps Volunteer with my husband) and finally back to the beautiful limestone bluffs and rivers of my childhood. My studio and home are on the land of my childhood. A very special place where I work and live with my husband, daughter and 3 cats.
In the early stages of each piece, I begin by creating a collage surface on which to work. This is either on the books' cover surface (after the binding process is complete) or the collage backing. Old black and white images, post cards, pages from old books, and vintage metals and children's games are used to establish the feeling of each piece. I digitally photocopy one-of-a-kind vintage photos and cut them apart putting different heads on bodies and creating different people out of various images. I also like to put wings, crowns and party hats on my people because they are the kind of things I feel we would love to wear in real life to make us feel special.

All for One

Make a List...Now Repeat It

Then, internal workings of broken pocket watches, typewriters and cameras, bits of rusted metal, vintage silverware and advertising tins, and children's games are incorporated. And finally, leather is stretched over the cover surface of each book and closures and end pages are added or matting and framing is done. My goal is to create a new story from the objects and images, playing with the feelings that co-exist between the natural, physical and imaginary worlds.

Outside the Lines Art Gallery • Connie Twining & Stormy Mochal, Owners
1101 Main St, Dubuque, IA 52001 • (563)-583-9343 • 101 S Main St, Galena, IL 61036
• (815)-776-9166

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