A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend a few days collaborating on a book with Leah Mackin, who's work I've admired for a long time. That book is Ultrices, an artist's book about place, systems, and chance. Each book is unique, this is a selection of page spreads from the edition. The book is available for sale, details in the link if you're interested.

Colophon: Ultrices is a collaboration about place, systems, and chance by Marianne Dages and Leah Mackin. Conceived, drawn, printed, and bound by the artists at Huldra Press in Philadelphia. 2016. Variable Edition of 40 books.

The text was generated using the pdf and Google Translate as chance operations. Its source is Sigmund Freud's essay, "The Mystic Writing Pad."

Available for $140, please contact if interested.
Each book is unique, this is a selection of images from the edition. There is a gallery of more images at my website HERE.

Preparing for the Philadelphia Art Book Fair

:: a display portfolio for prints ::

I've been working long days and evenings getting ready for the Philadelphia Art Book Fair. All the little details for display, like pricing, packaging, etc. always take longer than I think they will, but it's starting to come together.

Mark Cohen will be speaking on Friday. He's one of my favorite artists. Seriously, you have to be pretty important to me and my practice to have made this little list below. There's some pretty heavy hitting programming scheduled, I suggest you take a look.

:: sketchbook drawings and list of influences ::

Reading Variations

 :: gouache on paper ::

I'm working on a piece for an upcoming show titled Reading Variations. It's actually a collaboration with my father. We are both looking at the same piece of writing and responding to it. This drawing is part of my side of the project. 

Now I'm working on turning it into a print.

 :: hand-cut printing matrices on boxcar base ::

:: first layer, letterpress print in process ::

Show is up...

The show is up, Distant Operator opens tomorrow, at Napoleon Gallery. Thank you so much to everyone who helped make this happen, I hope to see you tomorrow night.

Opening Reception
Friday, January 9th
6pm – 10pm


319 N 11th Street, 2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA

Exhibition Dates: 1.9.2015 – 1.30.2015
Gallery Hours: Saturdays and Sundays 2pm – 6pm or by appointment


 :: Marianne Dages, Grid, 2 color letterpress print, 2014 ::

Maybe it was the influence of the construction outside my studio window that compelled me to print a grid. I've been watching the steel skeleton go up for months, now the structure is an impossible looking facade of glowing yellow repeat pattern and crossing lines.

:: detail ::

Learning Processes

I had a studio visit yesterday, a process that is at once terrifying, exciting, relieving, and question forming. It's terrifying to expose new work to criticism, but it's exciting to talk about it out loud to someone who cares. It's a relief to realize you have a place in the room, to ask questions and participate, to be seen and heard, but it's a process, at least when done right, that brings many new questions and challenges to the table. I feel grateful to have the opportunity to do this, and thankful to the people that gave me their time. It's a good thing, to have all these new things I have to think about.

:: Sea Grass and Storm ::

 :: Watching :: 

:: Studio Wall ::

Paper Book Intensive : Part Two

Part two of my time at PBI...

I took a Relief Printing class with Ryan O'Malley, where we learned to carve MDF boards, and a hand papermaking class with Ann Marie Kennedy. The theme of that class was "Paper and Place" and we experimented with fibers found around the area and adding inclusions to the paper.

 :: relief print on japanese paper ::

 :: handmade abaca paper with thread, newsprint, and deer fur ::

 :: handmade hemp paper with thread and elk bone ::

  :: handmade hemp paper with thread and elk bone ::

:: handmade flax paper with brazilwood and walnut dye ::

Paper Book Intensive: Part One

I just got back from the Paper Book Intensive, a two-week series of workshops in book arts, printmaking, and papermaking. It was amazing. Here are a few images of the books I made in one of the workshops, Leather Embossing with Bonnie Stahlecker.

 :: two books debossed with plastic cordage I brought back from Iceland ::

 :: front cover of book with symbols ::

  :: back cover of book with symbols ::

:: spine with tacket binding ::

:: close up of back cover ::

The Great Expanses

:: The Great Expanses, Detail ::
 Painted and natural wood 

:: The Great Expanses, Process Detail ::
Ceramic, bone dust and volcanic ash on black paper

:: The Great Expanses, Detail ::
Ceramic, bone dust and volcanic ash on black paper

:: Marianne Dages, The Great Expanses, 2014, 50" x 60" ::
Paper, wood, ceramic, bone dust, volcanic ash, ink, animal fur, found hooks and cords


Today I spent my time in the studio cleaning up, photographing work, making envelopes to hold prints and drawings, and finding places to store them.


In college, I turned a Bolex film camera on its side thinking I could film a vertical image that way. It didn't work. 

Marianne Dages, Dictionary Drawings, 2013
June, Collaboration with Amze Emmons 
for the 2013 SP Weather Station Portfolio

In The Studio

I've had the chance to spend a lot of time in the studio this week thanks to the holiday break. It's been a good opportunity to catch up, to spend time looking and thinking. 

A reminder that I've been posting many many images on my Tumblr, Tiger Feathers. It's a catalogue of what I'm looking and find interesting. Please take a look and follow if you are on Tumblr as well.

 :: Marianne Dages, Small Fires No. 4, Letterpress ::

The last print of 2013!

I made some updates to the website, a selection of work from my residency in Iceland is now included. You can see it HERE.

 :: Marianne Dages, Dictionary I, 2013 ::

This January if you are in Philadelphia, I will have some print pieces in Due North, it promises to be an interesting and varied exhibition of work by American and Icelandic artists.

:: Due North Opening, Thursday January 9th ::

Hope to see you there!


:: Home, walking in Tinicum ::

Back home, back in my studio, I'm processing the my experiences from Iceland and the drawings I made, and translating that into print.

:: Marianne Dages, Fragmented I, pencil and watercolor, 2013 ::

Working with fragments, pieces of rope and charcoal I brought home with me, memories of the landscape, spare at first, but bursting with detail under close inspection. Herringbone, the lines of geological time. Layers.


Studio Visits & Iceland Work Part Two

This week a couple studio visits of note. One from Amze Emmons, a founder of Printeresting, and all around delightful printmaker, painter, collaborator, and person. His visit was posted on the site, you can read the article and see pictures here.

And yesterday, I had a visit from Amanda D'Amico and students from The University of the Arts MFA Book Arts and Printmaking Program, great people with a great Tumblr (go there to meet them and see their work). As usual, I forgot to take a picture in the moment and only have the spread of work I put out to show. I had a wonderful time talking with them and hope they stay in touch. 

:: the spread of work ::

And I continue to unpack my work from my residency and look at it, starting to think about what it means and where it will take me. I recently had a breakthrough regarding themes in my work, that much of it has to do with translation/mistranslation, and the connection between language and culture. 

I had a strange experience while in Iceland. On the way to the residency, I took a long bus ride, exhausted and lacking sleep. In those moments of dozing, I would hear the Icelandic passengers talking to each other and for brief moments, I thought I understood them, and then it would disappear.

I grew up in a bilingual home and I've been losing my second language for years. With the loss of language, I gained the uncanny feeling of distance from parts of myself. In a way, I'm performing a personal archaeology, a unearthing and cataloguing of idiosyncratic symbols, sometimes fragmented, meanings lost. I'm making my dictionary.

:: Dictionary ::