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Margo Klass

Reflecting her training in art history, Margo’s earliest artist books were inspired by the structure of medieval altarpieces.  These pieces focus on the aesthetic forms of found objects to create images that emphasize light and space as the structures open layer by layer.  More traditional books followed, many of them inspired by her Alaskan surroundings.

Margo teaches bookmaking workshops at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Osher Life Long Learning, and Northwoods Book Arts Guild, a group she was instrumental in forming to promote book arts in Alaska.

Margo is recipient of awards from the Rasmuson Foundation and Alaska State Council for the Arts, and is recipient of the 2015 Governor’s Individual Artist Award. She is represented in the collections of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, Anchorage Museum, Pratt Museum, Denali Park and Preserve, Wrangell Mountain Center, and the Rasmuson Library of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. 

She maintains studios in Fairbanks, Alaska and Corea, Maine.


Flitch Book with Three Fish
Coptic binding, birch flitches, twigs, vintage fish lures, mica, various papers
Approx. 5 x 4.5 x 3.5 in.

The birch trees of Alaska’s boreal forest are the inspiration for a long running series of Coptic-bound books.  Their covers are made of birch flitches – vertical slices of trunk or branch – some of them including the outer bark; others are clear pieces of the finely grained inner wood.

Concertina binding, pochoir images on Somerset paper, book cloth
10 x 30 in. (variable)
Casement (not shown) 11 x 5 x 2 in.
Edition of 3

Created for an exhibition sponsored by Long Term Ecological Research, Glacier focuses on the glacier as poster child of climate change. Images reflect the cycle of a glacier from its formation at high altitude, to its travel over time to sea level where it calves and pieces fall away and float out to sea as melting icebergs. 

FEAST: Predators and Prey at the Table of Interior Alaska
Various papers, including page fragments from Doug Lindstrand’s Sketchbooks (used with permission), twigs, waxed linen, bones
8 x 29 x 7 in.

During a seminar in Denali Park, I received a diagram of animals grouped according to predators and prey, with lines connecting the groups that depend on one another for food.  Using the colors of fresh blood and decaying bones, and images of wildlife found in Interior Alaska, this book acknowledges the natural cycle of animals killing and eating other animals to support survival and bio-diversity. 

An Alaskan Book of Hours: Prime – Spring 
Found objects, Japanese papers, mica, other mixed media
27 x 13.5 x 6 in.

Based on a medieval Book of Hours, An Alaskan Book of Hours is a series of visual meditations inspired by Alaskan landscape. The book is composed of eight box constructions installed on a wall in the order that reflects both the hours of the day and seasons of the year: we pass from winter’s dawn of light (Matins), to rebirth at green-up (Lauds), arrival of spring (Prime), ever-present light of Summer Solstice (Terce), fullness of summer growth (Sext), harvest time (None), diminishing light of late fall (Vespers), and finally the darkness of Winter Solstice (Compline). 

Skull, manipulated photographs, glass, mirrors, Japanese paper, other mixed media
19 x 28 x 17 in.

The structure of Reliquary is derived from the architecture of medieval altarpieces whose panels are positioned according to the liturgical season. Reliquary unfolds similarly to reveal a skull inscribed with the female symbol and inventory number next to a round bullet hole. Surrounding the skull are images of wolves running free in a spruce forest, reflecting the emotional and political history that surrounds the wolf in Alaska and elsewhere. 

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