Bea Nettles | The Imaginary Blowtorch

Bea Nettles, with poetry by Grace Nettles, The Imaginary Blowtorch, 1973. Self-published. Edition of 100. George Eastman Museum, Richard and Ronay Menschel Library. Video courtesy George Eastman Museum.

The Imaginary Blowtorch is a bound book featuring poems by Nettles’s mother, Grace, with offset lithographs, screen prints, polyester film, tissue paper, applied color, and a vinyl cover. Nettles combined self-portraits and images of her family, incorporating transparent plastic pages with pictures printed on them. As the reader moves through the book, the images overlay subsequent pages for a heavily layered texture.