Branch Library

E-reader Library Series #3

Hornet nest, Maine handmade paper, found tree branch, wood

Private Collection

The emergence of electronic books and our increased emphasis on digital displays of information has inspired me to look more closely at the natural world. This piece was influenced by a hornet’s nest on our woodshed – it’s a fanciful take on what a hornet library might look like. Watching the nest grow made me think about the importance of paper, which is essentially what hornets build their homes out of. Much of our society has been built around paper and, like hornets; many of us have a place to call home because of paper; a rental agreement, a mortgage contract, a deed to a property. Paper as an information carrier has been central to Western society for the past 500 years.

Formed out of natural materials, the books have a handmade paper text from Maine papermaker Katie MacGregor covered in paper from a Maine hornet nest (hornets abandon the nest at the end of each year and don’t return the following spring). This juxtaposition of the natural and manmade is echoed in the wood support that the books hang from. The tree branch is used as it grew and weathered in nature, while the stand was transformed by human intervention. The books show an order and a progression; a lining up as one would typically see in an organized and structured collection like a library. In some ways, this mimics the organization displayed in the natural world by insects like the hornet.