Hortus Conclusus


Hortus Conclusus is a collaborative project by book artist Leslie Smith and Portuguese author Patrícia Portela. Using fragments from Patricía’s novel, the collaborators arranged them into a bi­lingual prose poem. To achieve a close collaboration it was important to work together closely on ev­ery aspect of the project. The Portuguese text is printed in a robust black and the English translation is like a shadow printed beneath in grey. The book is a wandering through a strange garden. The narrator advances with trepidation asking,“If words were a physical substance…recorded in the mouth like the rings of the saliva tree. Would we be able to know what is left unsaid?”The answer is a scene of dense overgrowth that the narrator and reader enter, discovering for themselves what is still left unsaid.

Materials: The bilingual text is printed from hand-set Joanna & Gill Sans types. Images are printed from linoleum blocks, hand-pro­cessed photopolymer plates and flexible printing plates. The papers are Zerkall Book and Canson. The book is bound in a Japanese Multisection binding.

Dimensions: 8 x 4.5 in. closed

Editions size: 30