|The Art of the Book
Sixth Annual Exhibition of Handmade Books,
Altered Books and Book Related Works
Roslyn Ritter began her life in Brooklyn on January 25, 1942, the first born to Jewish, upwardly mobile parents. Her grandparents had immigrated to America from Hungary and Poland at the turn of the 20th Century. They came for a new life, free from persecution. In order to begin anew, they had to leave behind their stories. The past became the past, as the future was the only thing, which mattered. Yet, as much as they suppressed their past, it was always manifest in their behavior. A curious child, Ritter remembers searching through her grandparent’s closets and drawers…not really knowing what she was looking for…treasures, secrets? She yearned for family stories. As a teen, she enjoyed making photo albums and scrapbooks about her life.
After her mother passed away in 2001, she inherited boxes of photos, letters and memorabilia and in the summer of 2002, she took a trip to my paternal grandparent’s ancestral village of Huumane, which is now in the Eastern corner of Slovakia.
In her current body of work, she pieces together their stories, using hand embroidery, stitching, appliqué, photo transfer & mixed media on vintage books & clothing, some of which she inherited. She draws inspiration from her maternal grandmother, Julia, who was a seamstress in the summer palace of Franz Joseph during the Ottoman Empire, and her father, Lew, who was a haberdasher to the stars in Beverly Hills. The Bayeaux Tapestry, as well as historical American samplers also influence her work.
Her purpose is to explore and pay homage to her ancestors through visual storytelling, documenting the power they have had on her life. Roslyn Ritter currently lives in Berkeley, CA
Upwardly Mobile, 2010, Vintage photo album, paper, felt, photo transfer on organza & linen, hand embroidery, stitching. Closed, 7”x10”x3”, Open 7”x64”
My Father was the black sheep of his family, a scoundrel and a Vaudevillian. When he fell in love with my mother, her family was appalled. They wanted her to marry a doctor. After they married, he defied them by spending the rest of his life becoming Upwardly Mobile. My book defines his journey by his automobiles and the places he lived on that journey.