A bookplate = a crossword puzzle

A bookplate = a crossword puzzle.

Both have their own histories.

The very beginnings of a bookplate look like a psychotherapy session.

The individual to whose order the bookplate is made is asked to tell about his / her personal life or the life of the end-recipient of the bookplate.

When speaking he/she “discovers” a lot of long-forgotten details in his/her life, remembers amazing things about his/her person or his/her forgotten desires, wishes, anguishes, and dreams. It is not easy to “pick” out of thousands of details the particular ones which will become the essential matter of a bookplate – its basic symbol. Over the bookplate creation period many such details “get lost”, however, some become the basis of a drawing.

Bookplates are actually small puzzles containing much information about a definite individual, his/her profession, inclinations, and personality. In my drawings I often use various texts – a fragment of bookplate owner’s favourite poem, or a Latin phrase, or a wish.

My bookplates are crossword puzzles. They can be solved by those who have “a key”, I mean by those who know the “language” of symbols and details contained in the picture. To a casual viewer my bookplates look like a maze of details. My drawings really contain a huge number of them.

Maybe for this reason the following phrases by architect Ludwig Lies van der Rohe (1886-1969) have special appeal to me: “God is (lives) in details” and ,,The more is the less”.

I think that a bookplate must be “employed”, i.e. it must be used. Employment is the bookplate’s mission. So, I always create not only a bookplate proper as a drawing (a work of art). I also issue a number of its copies on the sheets of stick-on paper, I print out letter-paper marked by a drawing or some detail, I produce envelopes decorated with a bookplate image, and even a small seal for sealing personal letters - a full bookplate “set”. I want the bookplate not just hang idly pressed into a frame above the owner’s desk but to live its own full-blooded life – be visible on the books, or the sheets of paper on which real (that is paper) letters are written and put into real envelopes, and sealed with their author’s personal seal.

To those who happen to look at the bookplates I’d like to give the following piece of advice: solve them as you solve your crossword puzzles .