Laura Wait’s “Volute” and Process Materials

Cover of “Volute” (2008) by Laura Wait. Photographer: Laura Wait.

Volute (2008) is a unique artists’ book in a series of 9 by book artist Laura Wait. Volute uses solar plate intaglio, collograph, handwriting, and painting. In 2010, Wait agreed to donate process materials related to her works in book arts to the University of Denver Special Collections and Archives’ Fine Press and Artists’ Book Collection so that students, faculty, and researchers outside the university could better understand her process as an artist.


Solar plate intaglio plate, proof, and transparency used during the making of “Volute” (2008) by Laura Wait.

According to Wait, Volute “celebrates the essential cyclical nature of art, agriculture, and the universe.” To make the book, she first printed with intaglio plates on an etching press, then used collographs and woodcuts of spirals and labyrinths to print in color with Akua ink on top of the black.


Woodcuts with proofs used in the making of “Volute” (2008) by Laura Wait.

She completed the pages with acrylic paste painting and ink writing, and the book was bound in a drum leaf style with woodcut stamped on the calf leather spine. The book was then housed in a clamshell box with paste paper liners. Book artist Jill Bergman assisted with the printing, binding, and box-making.

Laura Wait on Volute:”Symbolism, mythology, and abstract geometry are the main intellectual content of my abstract paintings, prints and books. Words as image play an important part in all my work, acting as pattern, texture, and occasionally content. The diverse media I use is incorporated into my unique artist books, including prints which are often cut up and reformatted into parts of books. The books act as inspiration for the paintings and prints. The book pages sometimes act as studies for larger paintings….Recently, I have been inspired by nature, and the geometric forms man creates in the fields, as well as the detail and tangle of the grasses which remind me of writing and drawing. Time repeats itself in the rituals associated with spirals and labyrinths. These universal symbols of the earth and its cyclical seasons are found throughout history. Nature and mathematics also form many spiral shapes. We are reminded of the walls of Troy, Greek labyrinths, the Fibonacci sequence, Troy, Jericho, the rock carvings of Val Carmonica. The book inspires hyperbolic comparisons: If Blake could see the world in a grain of sand, Volute is like holding the time in your hand.”

Learn more about Laura Wait and our Fine Press and Artists’ Book Collection:



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