List of Figures from the Biography of an Unknown Female

Based on the Borges-inspired prose piece that I posted a few weeks ago, I created this book/portfolio piece as my final project for my silkscreen class. I based the matter-of-fact writing style on Borges’ fictions. Although written in 3rd person, they are actually paradoxical statements based on a personal assessment of my own state of mind. According to the comments in my portfolio review, this forms a sort of “psychological self-portrait.” To make this work as a print project, I thought of the idea of creating “paradoxical shapes” to go with the paradoxical statements. Then I realised that the motif of optical illusions/impossible objects fit in well. Just as when is invariably confused when confronted with these images for the nth time, I am confused by my own contradictory mindsets that are at the same time very familiar to me.

With the help of my senior Shannon (she makes pillows!), I managed to letterpress all the words. Instead of doing it the traditional way with handset type, she helped me make a polymer plate version based on my digital file (the process is too complicated to explain here – I don’t think I understand it well enough). All you have to know is each individual letter is actually embossed into the paper. 

The images are hand-traced off of images from the internet, and then silkscreened. The printing mistakes were not deliberate, but they actually worked with the feel of the entire piece. As for the portfolio, I made it from scratch using fabric and cardboard and a lot of help from my instructors. The first book/portfolio that I’ve ever made! I screwed up the printing, but I can easily make a new one to contain the prints, which are in loose sheets.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem the adjust the colour of the scans properly, so they all look somewhat faded… And I forgot to get photos of the inside of the portfolio and I left it in New York. Anyway, click on the first image and a gallery should pop up that allows you to go through the pages quite easily!


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