Handling a puppet book

Watch and listen as Assistant Curator Catriona Gourlay handles and prepares a puppet book for photography in this ASMR video.

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response – a pleasant tingling sensation beginning on the scalp and moving down the neck, which can be triggered by a delicate or satisfying auditory or visual experience.

Join Catriona inside the National Art Library as she walks us through the steps involved in having the artist's book Anansi Company photographed. Artist's books can take many forms, from luxury letterpress volumes with original prints to duplicated pamphlets, 3D constructions and 'altered' existing books.

The book consists of 13 delicate handmade wire and card rod-puppets. Watch as Catriona gently slides the puppets out of their paper slots, and shows us how they can be manoeuvred, wearing gloves to avoid getting fingerprints on the metal.

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The book is based on the tales of Anansi, which spread from West Africa into Caribbean folklore as stories shared orally by enslaved people. Commonly known as a spider, Anansi can take on many different forms, adding to his reputation as trickster, helper and everything in between. This version of Anansi's stories has been created by artist Ronald King, and was published by Circle Press in 1992. It features poetry by Roy Fisher, based on material from Jamaican Song and Story, 1907.