About the exhibit


Alice Shaw
Alisa Golden
Betsy Davids
Bettina Pauly
Casey Gardner
Charles Hobson
Julie Chen
Karen Sjoholm
Kat Howard
Lucia Dill
Lucy Childs
Macy Chadwick
Mandie Rider
Michael Henninger
Nance O'Banion
Reiko Fujii
Thomas Rockwell


Betsy Davids

Berkeley, California


Rain Water and Red Earth

palm leaves, handmade ink, papers from India, Davey board, cords

1¼ x 13½ x1/2 (closed)

18 x 16 (displayed)

© 2013

edtion size: 5 variable

$ 1000

Betsy Davids began to learn traditional palm leaf engraving techniques in 2010 from artists in Raghurajpur, a Heritage Village in the state of Orissa, India. Lines are incised with a metal stylus on dried palm leaf pages. Handmade ink, smeared on with a finger, stays where the leaf has been cut and wipes clean elsewhere. In the traditional palm leaf book structure, the leaf pages were stacked and held together by a cord strung though a hole in each leaf. Here the leaves are left unbound as mandated by the Ideation card draw. The Tamil language of South India has a world-class ancient literature which includes this text, a celebrated love poem of a genre called “kurinci” after a mountain flower that blooms rarely. Kurinci poems are about erotic union. Mountains are the symbolic setting, and certain other natural-world phenomena are associated, such as rain, millet fields, parrots, peacocks, jack fruit trees, bamboo, tigers, and elephants.

Ideation Cards:

technique: low-tech (typewriter, rubber stamps,

stencils, hand lettering, transfers)

layout: minimal or restrained

paper: decorative

text: found

image: symbols

color: primary

structure: unbound

adjectives: serious, research-based,


Betsy Davids began making books in the 70s, when her Rebis Press editions of contemporary writing and art became widely recognized for their innovative materials and structures. Her handmade unique bookworks and mini-editions of recent years are sourced in travel experience and dream life. She taught book art and writing for 42 years at California College of the Arts, where she is now Professor Emerita. The San Francisco Center for the Book honored her with a Lifetime Achievement award.

to purchase any of the work in the exhibition, contact Alicia

click here to purchase print catalog