This very special thing is another at the top of my list for all time favorite finds. Pristinely preserved, it is the album of a Jennie Rumbold, dating to the 1890s or so, filled front to back with striking cut paper works, folded paper works, and yarn drawings, which were exercises taught to young school girls (in kindergarten!) at the time. Based on quality of the handwriting on the front of the notebook it seems possible that this could be the album of a teacher rather than a student, but it is hard to know.
Collector Jim Lindeman posted a few examples of woven paper works similar to the ones in this notebook on his blog, "Dull Tool Dim Bulb" and writes about them wonderfully:
Did Josef Albers go to Kindergarten? [these woven paper works] illustrate Albers "interaction of color" in remarkable prescient form. Once fairly common, but increasingly hard to find, these 19th century schoolgirl craft pieces are among the most underrated forms of early folk art. They often turn up as love tokens or valentines in the shape of hearts and under many different names (folded paper, woven paper, paper weaving, paper cuts and more)...but all are extraordinary miniature works of serious art despite being made for the most part by children. In fact, this technique, now seemingly forgotten except among enlightened educational organizations, was developed by Fredrich Froebel, not only the fellow who did invent kindergarten, but also became an unheralded artistic influence to many. If you are an adult and like art, you should collect the antique originals, they're precious.
Indeed, it is hard to look at these and not think of both Joseph and Anni Albers as well as Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, Fred Sandback, and many others. The compositions, the color combinations, and the processes for making them all feel so very modern, and the fact that these are so remarkably well preserved makes them feel all the more so.
I purchased this album online and thought I would take it apart and list the pieces individually (each one is frame-worthy), but now that I've held it in my hands and experienced it as a whole, I am not sure I have the heart to break it up. So I am hoping to sell it as is, with the notion that its ultimate owner could take it apart and frame the whole series of pieces.
NOTE ON PHOTOS: Photos document each page, then each two-page spread of the book in order, followed by details of individual pieces. There are a total of 19 pieces on 10 pages with all of the pages except one having a work on each side. A piece of bound onion skin paper separates each page.
The notebook measures 9 7/8" t x 8" w. Most works measure about 7 1/4" x 5" or so. The cover has a minor fold on the bottom right hand corner but that is the only real flaw. Really a marvelous thing that is all the more wonderful in person.