We have long known that the daily blotter compiled by the Durango Police Department and excerpted in The Durango Herald is a work of art. It's the people's poetry.When we send the Blotter to our friends around the country, we arouse their envy.
Now a Portland, Ore., artist has crystallized that vision of the blotter's poetic potential into a single copy of a fine-art book.
Cherry Britton said during a telephone interview on Thursday that she came to Durango early in November to visit her childhood friend Kathleen Adams, who recently moved to Durango. Britton was so taken with the charm of the Blotter that Adams sent her later editions. She put the material she'd discovered into a exquisitely handmade and bound book of about 18 pages. She titled it Pray for Durango after a sign she saw outside a local church.
Britton has been making books as art for four or five years, she said. "It's an avocation."
She plans to collect her art books for a gallery show, but she keeps giving them away. She's trying to curb her generous impulses or call in existing books on loan so she'll have enough to exhibit. She has made a few books with multiple copies, but generally each book is a one of a kind.
When asked to describe her technique, Britton said, "I think about it, gather material and fuss a lot."
In Pray for Durango, Britton reproduced a section of the blotter, as it appears in the Herald, on each left hand page. She highlighted an item and then drew an accompanying illustration on the right hand page.
The result is a beautiful and funny historical record. The Animas Museum could do worse than to bid on the result. It's a document that will please generations of Durangoans and visitors.
Britton studied at Oregon State University.
"I got the infamous art-history degree," she said. She then went on to another degree in technical illustration from a community college in Portland.
That led to a career in technical illustration and to many years as the vice president of an ad agency. Now she works in a four-woman firm doing environmental graphic design, research and signage for hospitals and libraries.
"All that's quite anal," Britton said. "The books are my passion."