Practical Navigator

Pattie Belle Hastings

Practical Navigator was based on the first American navigation textbook, Nathaniel Bowditch’s The New American Practical Navigator from 1802. Photocopies of plates, spreads and pages were made from the original book in the Georgia Tech collection. Film negatives of these images were made and then cut up, rearranged and taped together. Photopolymer plates of the film were made by sun exposure and hand scrubbing. These plates were then used to create the deeply embossed pages of the book that evoke old maps, ancient manuscripts, topography, etc. Slices of these embossings were stitched into place on occasion to represent a permanent sort of “bookmark.”

Monoprints that evoke the cosmos or night sky were interspersed with hand-illuminated sections of the text and celestial images, which were then positioned across the folio from a machine language translation of the original text. The machine language pages were further embellished with a thermographic icon of some form of travel. The books were bound as a semi-hardcover using a form of the medieval long-stitch.

The total edition numbers 5. This copy was the first to be completed and was exhibited in the Smithsonian’s “Science and the Artists’ Book”. The cover on this book varies slightly from the other 4 copies, because the final design was changed a bit after the first book had been sent to the Smithsonian for exhibition.

Photocopies, computer prints, blind embossing, monoprints, water colors, hand bound, medieval long stitch, edition of 5, 1995

Science and the Artists’ Book

Exhibition Image

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