Fibre Libre

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Open Edition is an attempt to extend the Free Software Foundation’s four essential freedoms to the users of the artist’s book: the freedom to use the book, for any purpose (freedom 0); the freedom to study how the book works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1); the freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2); the freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). From this original intention, many derivative works have grown.

First, an event, Fibre Libre: Open Source Papermaking, which took place at Asheville BookWorks in the summer of 2009. At the event, a variable edition of paper was handmade by a community of participants. The paper was made from natural fibers, pulped from the clothing of community members. After the event, the fiber content of the paper was quantified and imported as numerical data into a computer program written by the project’s moderator in Processing, an open source programming language. Using several simple commands, the program draws a series of Bezier curves, based on the fiber content of each sheet of handmade paper. Before finalizing the program, the code was sent to all Fibre Libre participants, who were each invited to generate a Bezier curve to represent themselves. The resulting images and their code were then made into photopolymer printing plates. The files for the plates were digitally prepared using Processing and Scribus, an open source desktop publishing program, and output as Press Quality PDFs. The PDFs were then sent to our local service bureau, Tallahassee Litho Prep, where they were made into high density negatives using an Imagesetter. The negatives were then used to produce photopolymer plates, using an Orbital X platemaker. The plates were printed on a Vandercook Universal I letterpress at Florida State University’s Small Craft Advisory Press. The prints and handmade paper were then bound by hand into an artist’s book, completed by the project’s moderator in an edition of 50 handmade copies. The artist’s book was then scanned, opening by opening, for viewing as a PDF, which is freely available for download on this site. A copy of the artist’s book will be given to each project participant, and the remaining copies will be donated to a series of public libraries, strategically chosen for their locations, in order to make the finished artist’s book accessible to the largest possible population of users.

Copyleft: Fibre Libre is a free work, you can copy, distribute, and modify it under the terms of the Free Art License.

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