Featured Exhibitor: Passionato Books
Passionato Books offers both traditional and unique journals and art books handmade by artist Laurel Rogers. Rogers composes her own marbled papers and handmakes a variety of designed papers for her covers. Playing with different styles, Rogers aims to “explore the boundary of book space” and experiments with folded, accordion, sculptural, and altered books.
Arts have always been a major part of Rogers’ life. While performing as a classical cellist, Rogers’ and her friends would relax by making paper. Currently, Rogers’ draws on her musical background for inspiration.
“The book takes center stage as a performer in motion,” her website reads.
Rogers’ journey to becoming a book artist really began after her move to the east coast. She saw an exhibition by the North Bennet Street School while in Boston.
“Something just clicked in me,” Rogers said. “I started to take lots of different classes at the North Bennet School. I got kind of obsessed with making books.”
Dedicated to quality, Rogers’ journals are hand-sewn, often employing the Coptic stitch. In addition to creating a decorative spine, Coptic binding offers practicality to Rogers’ journals.
“You can open the book completely flat,” she explained. “So, it’s easy to put in your diary entries or sketches.”
When working with traditional books, Rogers enjoys figuring out all the artistic components of the book, such as picking out papers and playing with styles. With artist books, there is a bit less planning and more experimenting.
“I usually get just a kernel of an idea and just start working on it, and it evolves,” Rogers said.
“Sometimes they turn out great, sometimes they end up in the recycle bin,” she laughed.
Rogers is also always learning. With many institutions moving online during the pandemic, Rogers was able to attend many online classes.
“I’m constantly trying to improve my skills,” she said. “I get to try something new every month and display techniques from that class.”
After a recent class, Rogers implemented new ways of displaying photographs for an Instagram challenge she participated in. Monthly, one-word prompts are given to artists who are then encouraged to get creative and make something based on the prompt. Rogers plans on posting more challenges to her Instagram.
In addition to Instagram, Etsy, and her website, Rogers also has a paper sculpture on display for the Rochester Public Library. “BOOK LOVERS” was made from the pages of a collection of Walt Whitman poems the library was going to throw away.
Laurel Rogers and her works will also be present at Northampton Book Fair in the Northampton Community Arts Trust at 33 Haley Street, Northampton, Massachusetts during the first weekend of December.