Photographs courtesy of Quarantine Public Library
In A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose Eckhart Tolle points out that the human compulsion to identify and label objects hinders our ability to be present. Often we are objectifying lifeforms instead of noticing the life within them. Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass similarly questions the inherent hierarchies built into the English language and how it positions humans above, as well as removed, from nature. She asks what names plants would give themselves. Although my wife and I had these books fresh in our minds, we spent the summer identifying all the wildflowers in a field where we hike. When Quarantine Public Library asked me to design a book for their project I decided to probe this impulse further, creating a field guide that reflects this dichotomy.
Quarantine Public Library, created by Katie Garth and Tracy Honn, is a website hosting around 200 free one-page artist books that are easily downloaded, printed, and folded at home. The book designs are donated by artists, and the project aims to provide access to art and publications in spite of the disconnected reality created by the pandemic. In that spirit all monetary donations generated by QPL go to EveryoneOn, a non-profit that connects low-income families to affordable internet service and computers.