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Gallery of Artists

Tara Bryan and Walking Bird Press

I am a voyeur in the original sense of the word: one who watches. Intrigued by things unexpected, I try to incorporate this sense of quiet observation in my paintings as well as my bookworks.

I have always loved books. As a child, I made weekly visits with my mother to the Bookmobile, a cramped but magical bus that brought library books to the neighbourhood every week. I loved the packed shelves, and getting to browse for treasures to borrow.

I make books to create objects the viewer can touch and to use parts of my brain unexercised in painting. I love the tactile experience of holding and reading a book—the intimacy inherent in exploring the object. The creative process in making books is one of multi-faceted problem-solving that combines writing, engineering, research and exploration in the endeavour to create objects in which the materials and content support and enhance one another. I like to include surprises for the intrepid viewer, hidden images and unexpected moments to reward a person who really looks.

—Tara Bryan

Tara Bryan invites readers to share in these early memories of a magical, wonderful introduction to books. Through its exceptional publications, Walking Bird Press brings to life the childhood images and pop-up books of yesteryear.

A native of Texas, Tara Bryan completed her musical training in 1975 at the University of New Mexico and began a master's degree in visual arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which she finished in 1987. During that time, she began to experiment with bookbinding and typography in addition to studying painting. Her early works were published by Pterodactyl Press, a name Bryan changed to Walking Bird Press in 1987 when she moved to New York to hone her skills and work at the Center for Book Arts. In 1992, she moved to Newfoundland, bringing along a Vandercook press and six cabinets full of type. And that is where Walking Bird Press really took off.

Unfolded accordion book is standing upright. On the left, blue slipcase with a bright green ribbon. On the right, a single fanned out accordion-folded white page and green covers with black print at either end. A black and white depiction of an arctic landscape is spanning the entire page.

Bonne Bay


Unfolded book in front of the box

Gros Morne Time Lines, by Anne Meredith Barry.


The distinctive contours of the Newfoundland countryside are an integral part of Bryan's paintings, and as a publisher, she has evoked this landscape for some of her most beautiful artists' books, including Bonne Bay, Tablelands and Gros Morne Time Lines. Created in the purest tradition of the illustrated book, these fold-out books depict the full majesty of the landscape. In Gros Morne Time Lines, the meticulous typography is juxtaposed by images of local flora and fauna, and linocuts showing the countryside and topography.

A is for Accordion takes both a humorous and literal approach. The book's "bellows" use the 26 letters of the alphabet to express the author's desire to play the accordion, a traditional Newfoundland instrument. The new millennium is the pretext for World Without End, a tunnel book that takes a thoughtful look back over some of the major events in history.

Unfolded tunnel-book is standing upright in a progression of colours from yellow, to orange, red, and black. Each page has a large slightly tilted square hole in the middle of it, with black print on the top and bottom sides, and is attached to the following one on both sides with a folded piece of paper. Brown paper front cover shows black print on the top and bottom of the tilted square cutout. Hanging on at the left and right sides is a thick brown string-like handle, with yellow string trim at either end and a tan nametag attached in the middle showing black print.

Down the Rabbit Hole


Another tunnel book, Down the Rabbit Hole, leads readers down the same path that Alice took at the beginning of the Lewis Carroll book. In the opening lines of Alice in Wonderland, Alice wonders about this strange book "without pictures or conversation" that her sister is reading. Perhaps readers will find the answer as they explore a book by Walking Bird Press and go through the looking glass.