West Burke/Newark, VT: The Janus Press, 1988/2004. First editions. ;  pp. Bound concertina-style without the use of adhesives, printed letterpress and offset on various papers, laid into a diamond traycase within a clamshell box. Each book printed in an edition of 150 and 120 copies, respectively, the first volume signed by Kaufman and Van Vliet, the second by Van Vliet and the designers and binders. Fine copies.
Aunt Sallie’s Lament is a high point in the fifty-year-plus career of Claire Van Vliet and the Janus Press. The binding structure was inspired by the author Margaret Kaufman’s “poem that is the autobiography of a spinster quilter stitched with mutterings that accumulate as the cut pages are turned becoming a diamond quilt shape,” and the process by discussions with conservator and binder Hedi Kyle. As Ruth Fine notes, the “structure controls the reading as the reading inspired the structure. The text becomes additive: as one turns the pages, selected lines remain in view, layering their use and meanings…. Each opening presents a new color, shape, texture experience, literally unfolding as the lament is revealed…” A trade edition was published by Chronicle Books in 1993. “In her usual ‘waste-not want-not’ way, Van Vliet purchased a large number of the Chronicle Books edition and arrived at ways to convert Aunt Sallie to the (Altered) version, incorporating construction methods she had developed in subsequent quilt books.” She cut different shapes into the interior structures, folded back cut shapes, added patterned papers, “using collage and weaving techniques to create a colorful and complicated format in great contrast to the spare and delicate original Aunt Sallie’s Lament.” Fine, The Janus Press 1981-90, pp. 41-42; The Janus Press- Fifty Years, pp. 59-60. Item #2353