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David’s Ankles

First Prize!

2021 Marin Moca Altered Book Exhibition

Insiya Dhatt and I worked on this piece in March and April. I broke the rules and added an ampersand as a 26th word when we were limited to to 25-word description for the catalog.

“This laser-cut accordion structure, a collaboration between Insiya & Bridget, was inspired by a desire to balance the longing for perfection and the reality of imperfection.”

It was a productive and enjoyable collaboration. When Mary Austin, cofounder of the San Francisco Center for the Book, and Donna Seager, cofounder of the Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, awarded David’s Ankles the top award, I whooped with delight.

The colophon and references

Insiya Dhatt and Bridget McGraw co-created this book on an Epilog Fusion laser cutter at Humanmade in San Francisco in March 2021.

Bridget listened to the audio version of this essay after reading Rebecca Newberger Goldstein’s (@platobooktour) tweet in October 2020: “Gobsmacked by oral reading of @shamblanderson ‘David’s Ankles,’ a meditation on our longing for the ideal (aka Platonism). He comes down hard on the longing, but if had never known it would never have been able to write this astounding piece.”


I submitted the piece to an exhibition that coincided with the Guild of Book Workers’ annual seminar, Standards of Excellence, which took place in Decatur, GA this year. 

The juried exhibition, organized by the Decatur Arts Alliance, Book As Art, Vol.10: TRANSFORMATION was displayed on the 4th Floor of the Decatur Library. David’s Ankles took its place among “beautifully made volumes, sculptural and conceptual interpretations, and one-of-a-kind approaches to the book format.”

This brief video describes the birth of David’s Ankles.