This is a twenty-minute video talk about the life and work of American artist Walter SH Hamady (1940-2019), who was an internationally-known book artist, letterpress printer, papermaker, collagist and assemblagist. He was also well-known as a teacher of book arts and papermaking at the University of Wisconsin at Madison for more than thirty years.
As founder and proprietor of The Perishable Press Limited and the Shadwell Papermill, over a span of four decades, Hamady published 131 handmade limited edition books, in addition to various pamphlets, broadsides and ephemera. The things he made—whether printed works, collages, or box-like assemblages—were invariably inventive. His work is admired and widely known.
Among numerous honors, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and three research awards from the National Endowment for the Arts. On thirteen occasions, his handmade books were chosen by the American Institute of Graphic Arts as among the AIGA Fifty Books of the Year, and, in one case, twice in the same year. His work is in collections throughout the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, Newberry Library, Grolier Club, National Gallery of Art, and a lengthy list of others.
This video was designed, produced, and narrated by Hamady's longtime friend and fellow artist, graphic designer Roy R. Behrens, UNI Emeritus Art Professor, with whom he corresponded frequently for more than a decade.
As Behrens recalls, “Having earlier taught in Milwaukee for ten years, I had become aware of Hamady’s work in the 1970s. Because of his liking for Ballast Quarterly Review (a small magazine I founded in 1985), he and I began to exchange spirited letters (along with a mix of enclosures), once or twice or more a month. This led to collaborations of one kind or another, eventually resulting in exhibitions, published essays, and an archive of his artist’s books. I saved everything, even all the envelopes and mailing containers, in part because they were always addressed to mutilations of my name, such as Corps du Roy, Rhoidamoto, Trompe L’Roi at Labbast, Royatolla, and so on. This continued for more than a decade, perhaps to the mailman’s amusement.”
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Behrens, Roy R., "Book Art: Walter Hamady's Books, Collages and Assemblages" (2023). Behrens Video Archive. 16.