Inhabited: finding refuge in an unknown landscape  

Abstract / Artist Statement 

Inhabited: finding refuge in an unknown landscape, is a body of work that includes an artist book titled Inhabited, broadsides, video poems, and three installations. Together, they recount my observations and experiences within the Iowa landscape, while also questioning what a wild landscape is. The works encourages the reader to seek refuge, as I have with the landscape.  The body of work was created using different types of my handmade paper, some of which has been dyed using plant material native to Iowa. The work also seeks to highlight the importance of the written word within artists’ books and explores how the same text can be experienced in different forms. 

The body of work exists, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Through the last year, I consistently took refuge in outdoor spaces around Iowa City. My body unable to find repose inside my house, found comfort in putting one foot in front of the other on the trails of Hickory Hill, and Harvest Preserve. Like a cradle, my body was rocked by gentle waves while kayaking at Lake McBride, and Terry Trueblood. Kent park provided me with hills that allowed me to see wide open spaces in the distance. Through going back to these places, time, and again, I was able to witness slight shifts in the landscape and plants. I was able to think about the land I was inhabiting. I was able to find the moments I wanted to include in this body of work. I was able to seek refuge.  

Amy Childress is a book artist, writer, and arts educator living in Iowa City, IA. She received her MLS from the University of Iowa and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Iowa Center for the Book. She has studied Asian and Western papermaking techniques with Timothy Barrett. In the Summer of 2019, Childress received a University of Iowa Graduate College Summer Fellowship as well as a project grant from the Iowa Arts Council to develop a mobile book arts studio. Childress grew up next to the Rocky Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her work explores the parallel between the subtle moments that happen in nature and in interpersonal relationships. She is the Secretary/Treasurer for the Midwest Chapter of the Guild of Bookworkers.