Michael Harford's Book of Many Wonders

Imagine for a moment Michael Harford's joy when he came across this wonderful book in some dank, cockroach infested cellar at an estate sale (some details may be inflated for purposes of drama). The cover alone, without the strangely modern title, would be worth the price of many sighs. But this, as it turns out, was a popular self-improvement book of its time. (1910). In other words, it has value on many levels. 

How To Live on 24 Hours a Day

This altered book is the first of Michael's forays into bookmaking and so, of course, there were some minor glitches. For example, some of the pages were stuck together. (Please...no snickering from the peanut gallery, Mod Podge addiction, much like Athlete's Foot or Achille's Heel, can be a serious problem).

This book is a like a boxed set of Michael's collages. And it has amazing surprises.

As always, with Michael's work, there is a subtle undercurrent of world weariness, fin de siecle exhaustion and political anger. In short, the residue we accrue by virtue of starting our adulthood at the Apogee of Aquarius and finishing with the million question marks of our age. Will the species survive? And more importantly, Do we even care?

"Fortunately the financial side of existence does not interest us here; for our present purpose {is to} remember human nature…" Once fixed, now mutable, human nature is subject to a full frontal assault from the digital age. Will our hearts shrink as we draw closer to the digital bonfire and farther away from one that gives off real heat? Will the insect-like attentiveness to our cell-phones presage the arrival of the ant-troids? Will the shallow outlive us all because depth is not what the times require?

Some Mod Podge damage here. But it doesn't necessarily subtract from the piece. Observe, if you will, the pocket on the right. In the pocket we find this...(some assembly may have occurred during shipping.)

The first Michael Harford jigsaw puzzle. Simple in design yet with fewer pieces for baby to swallow, the Harford Puzzle could be his ticket outta this one horse town. I feel a CEO comin' on.

And finally the back cover. Thank you, Michael. I'm honored that I was the first to receive one of these.

But wait! There's more...here's what kind of a guy Michael is...he wrote a note to me on the back of the Bread & Puppet Art Manifesto circa 1984. This is like gold on eBay. But wait! There's more: the book came with a CD filled with aural ephemera including but not limited to The Amboy Dukes' (with ted nugent) playing "Journey to the Center of your Mind" and something by It's a Beautiful Day whom doctors say I must avoid because of my tendency to diabetes. So....finally....thank you again, Michael. Over and Out

Views: 51


You need to be a member of International Union of Mail-Artists to add comments!

Join International Union of Mail-Artists

Comment by on June 30, 2014 at 11:58am

What a treasure!

Comment by Dean aka Artist in Seine on June 30, 2014 at 8:32am

Very funny and what a blog!  I enjoyed seeing this master piece.



Want to support the IUOMA with a financial gift via PayPal?

The money will be used to keep the IUOMA-platform alive. Current donations keep platform online till 1-june-2021.   If you want to donate to get IUOMA-publications into archives and museums please mention this with your donation. It will then be used to send some hardcopy books into museums and archives. You can order books yourself too at the IUOMA-Bookshop. That will sponsor the IUOMA as well.










© 2020   Created by Ruud Janssen.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service