Forgotten Works is a collaborative project between Ann Altstatt and Bridget Henry. Ann is a printmaker and illustrator and Bridget is a woodcut artist. They met at the UCSC print studio 20 years ago when Ann was a student wearing her grandmother’s clothing and Bridget was a studio technician getting into everyone’s business.
The basis for this project is a book of woodcut images and accompanying text from the 1500s titled The Heroical Devises of M. Claudius Paradin. Known as emblems, these images were originally meant to convey a mixture of political, religious, and classical teachings. Each image has a title in Latin and antiquated English that gives a clue as to what the author’s intended meaning was.
We were drawn to use these emblems because of the evocative, whimsical nature of their symbolic imagery, which hints of stories that have been lost to time. Rather then research the original context of these images, however, we used them as a point of entry to explore stories of our own invention.
The found emblems have been altered with layers of paint, tea, pencil and collaged prints, and overlain with themes of cultural amnesia, geological memory, loss of species, and climate change.