Roni Gross revolutionized my idea of what a book can be. I still remember my first encounter with Roni’s work in New York City in 2004: Radiance and Repose, a setting of two poems by Gerry Gomez Pearlberg. This is a book not just to be held in the hand, but displayed as a table-top sculpture and hung on the wall. Roni explores the expressive possibilities of letterpress printing and the tactile elements of paper and binding, in order to bring out the essence of a writers' words. (Many of her editions are produced in collaboration with her husband, the sculptor Peter Schell.)
These books are beautiful and created with such skill – as well as often fun and surprising. Roni was a choreographer and dancer before she began making books, and movement is at the centre of her work – the simple swivel of a volvelle or the way a pop-up pops. She has welcomed this theatricality into her work: ‘I am very conscious about how and when information is revealed – the rhythm of the visual alongside the language.’ These are definitely books to take your time with.
But what inspires me most of all is Roni’s enthusiasm for life. I’ve been lucky to know her now for a decade, and she's inspired me to discover more about everything from ukuleles to ikebana, as well as books. Add to this that she’s also a generous and thoughtful teacher, with a commitment to encouraging the creativity of others. I’m sure I am not the only person who counts her as an inspiration.