Collaborative Bookworks

Lyall Harris & Patricia Silva, 2014-2017


There is an intangible component to every successful creative collaboration. Why do the partners connect? What makes their co-created work seamless? How can combined efforts transform a creative project into something more than just the sum of its parts?

A year after having met in Florence, Italy, book artists Lyall Harris and Patricia Silva embarked on a series of twelve collaborative book art projects.

From the beginning, the artists set constraints for the process, both of materials and time, which forced them to work in an immediate, intuitive and exploratory way. Their process began with one artist providing the inspiration and starting materials, such as saved remnants, quotes, and ideas previously set aside. The receiving artist then had only weeks to bring the project to a “halfway” point, adding or editing materials sparingly during this phase. The project was then given back to the originating artist who finished the books (in an edition of 2) in a few weeks’ time.

The varied work addresses issues and histories from their shared and layered perspectives as artists, mothers, daughters, wives, and expats in a changing and complex environment. The finished books point to a unified aesthetic, as if made by one hand. More than a set intention, this is a natural outcome of their work together.

In 2017, this work will be in exhibitions entitled "Meeting Places / Luoghi d'incontro" at the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Crozet, VA (Jan 31-March 14, 2017), and the San Francisco Public Library (June 10-Sept 14, 2017) with artists' talks and free workshops as part of the public programming. Two works from "Meeting Places" will be in the College Book Art Association's juried member's exhibition, "Conspire: Collaboration, Cooperation, Collection," at Florida State University, in conjunction with CBAA's 2017 Annual Meeting. Additionally, at the Santa Reparata International School of Art Gallery in Florence, Italy, from March 23-April 15, 2017, Harris and Silva will co-create work in the gallery space in a real-time, “performance” residency, using the objects and ephemera that result from an open, public call for materials.


The Things That Ride Out Time

A poetic look at mundane and ephemeral objects and what, ultimately, will ride out time


A game of questions and answers about the "Mysteries of the Universe"

Notes from Overseas

A multi-part project of written and visual records about memory

The Dreamer, The Doer

Craft and perfectionism; a productive life versus a poetic one

A Concise Encyclopedia of Unknown Things That Belong Together

Unexpected narratives unfold and intersect in an "encyclopedic" format of text and image

Without Fault; Sans Défauts

The feminine ideal is examined via the artists' own case files

Daily Specials

A menu format functions as an ironic and disturbing framework for immigration narratives

Check The Box

A matching game made from partially recycled materials reveals jarring facts about organ transplantation

Paper Boats

A photo-documentary illustrates the distressing loss of identity taking place in contemporary mass immigration to Europe

Island & Inlet

An original fable offers a nugget of wisdom about the connectedness of everything

Books 11 & 12 in progress:

Goodbye Girl & A Still Point