Day 27 of #100daysofprototypa

UBC Library’s Open Collections are often used for research, which is why we were intrigued to discover that designer and artist Jean-Charles Amey uses images found in open source collections to create original artwork.
Based in Reims, France, Amey uses images found in open source collections such as the New York Public Library’s digital collections, Unsplash, and UBC Library’s Open Collections in a design challenge on instagram called #100daysofprototypa. The images are a beautiful marriage of collage and photography reminiscent of Matisse’s cut-outs.
We chatted with Amey about the inspiration behind the project, his artistic process, and how he discovered our Open Collections.
How long have you been an artist? What kind of projects do you work on?
I have been working on various design experiences and projects for nine years. After a Master’s in Product Design, I started to work as assistant with Pierre Charpin and Robert Stadler. Both work on the border where art and design meet. I had the chance to work on various projects from limited editions to larger scale production and have been thrilled by these experiences of creating and thinking in small studios. Since 2013, I have been concentrating on my own practice and studio in Reims, France. 

Jean-Charles Amey

What is the 100-Day Project ?
The 100-Day Project was relaunched on the internet, mainly through instragram, by the artist and illustator Elle Luna in 2014, but it goes back to a Yale School of Art Workshop lead by Michael Bierut, where students are asked to choose an action and repeat it for 100 days.
Last year, with #100daysofpois I joined the experience for the first time. Today, after undertaking it a second time, I feel the 100-Day Project is a sort of medium — producing small personal things everyday changes you. I like to compare the 100-Day project to a meditation; you enter into a creative challenge with yourself and explore it. Personally, it has been a way to connect some serious reflections with more lightness. Creativity is an everyday challenge.
What inspired you to launch your #100daysofprototypa project?
My quest is to create objects with spirit while reducing my computer work time and regain creative autonomy. I am exploring a way to imagine new experiences with objects, furniture and space using nothing but scissors, paper and a camera.

Day 34 of #100daysofprototypa

Can you tell us a little about the medium you use for  #100daysofprototypa?
By creating these colorful collages, I feel like I’m on a walk with Kurt Schwitters, Paul Rand and Matisse but also with contemporary artist like George Byrne, Takuro Kishibe or Julie Hamilton. It’s such a pleasing moment to take scissors, colors and create a first impression of reality. 
How do you create your prototypa?
First, I collect colours. They arrive at my atelier through magazines, old books, ads, catalogs. They are so diverse that they need to be collected and arranged by size and pattern. Next, I collect images of strong or ambigous gestures that could tell a story. They mostly come from open source collections like UBC Library’s. Unlike the colours, I don’t put the gestures in any kind of order. I put them in a box and stare at them when I start a new prototypa. And so everyday, I pick the one that inspires me the most.

Day 24 of #100daysofprototypa

How did you discover UBC Library’s Open Collections?
I discovered UBC Library’s Open Collections when I was doing a project on ex-libris (bookplates). I was curious about the past of bookplates and a search on Flickr led me to various digitized collections. I was amazed that libraries were considering bookplates as interesting as the others visual elements of a book. They tend to be created after the book is made and symbolize the meeting of a reader and a book at a certain time and space. Perhaps that’s why there is such diversity of forms and story in them.
Explore more than 210,000 digital objects on UBC’s Open Collections.
Are you using materials from our Open Collections in your work, research or art? Let us know! Get in touch at




2017 marks the bicentennial of Jane Austen’s death, an author who has left an ever-lasting literary legacy that continually influences popular culture across time. In celebration of this legacy, Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is delighted to present “Ever Austen: Literary Timelessness in the Regency Period.” This exhibition not only honours Austen, but also illuminates the social and material history of her works in the context of the Regency era.
Featuring RBSC’s newly-acquired first editions of Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, as well as thematically-diverse displays, “Ever Austen” invites Austen fans old and new to experience a literary journey through the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In addition to RBSC’s new Austen acquisitions, first editions of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility will also be displayed and accompanied by several lavish illustrated editions. Austen’s juvenilia, as well as some titles that she kept on her personal shelves, will likewise provide insights into Austen’s formative years. Conduct books and Fordyce’s sermons will be shown as the prescriptions of female virtue, morality, and accomplishment, which Austen instilled in her heroines.

The Exhibition:

Illustrating the rise of a new literary genre, the exhibition will also feature an early Gothic section, a style which prominently impacted characterizations in Austen’s Northanger Abbey. This section’s haunts will loom in the newly-acquired first edition prints of Ann Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho, as well as in her romance The Italian. Juxtaposed with volumes of Horace Walpole’s complete literary works, a model of the Gothic villa Strawberry Hill will present an authentic view of these stories’ architectural descriptions. The sly caricatures in George Cruikshank’s illustrations will provide a comic relief for these darker pages, charming the viewer with their implicit social commentary and political satire.
Delicate articles of clothing from the early nineteenth century, kindly on loan from the Vancouver-based Society for the Museum of Original Costume (SMOC), will also be on display.

Finally, the breadth of Austen’s legacy will be exhibited in the many remediations that her narratives have taken in recent decades, ranging from graphic novels to the big screen. In the exhibition’s multimedia display, pop culture will meet period texts with an array of transmutations into diverse forms of media, languages, and images.

As a means to offer further information and insights about the period, a panel discussion organized in conjunction with the exhibition will take place on February 3rd. The discussion will feature talks from professors Tiffany Potter, Miranda Burgess, and Scott MacKenzie of UBC’s Department of English, and will be moderated by SFU’s Professor Michelle Levy, an authority on print culture during Austen’s era.

The exhibition, “Ever Austen: Literary Timelessness in the Regency Period “, will be displayed in the IKBLC’s main foyer from January 4 to February 28, 2017.

The Fall 2016 issue of Trek looks at the Library's purchase of the Kelmscott Chaucer.


The Westcoast Calligraphy Society’s exhibition “Things That Go Bump in the Night” features a collection of spooky lettering displays that will be at the IKBLC from September 30th to October 27th. This exhibition theme is part of the society’s meeting about “Words on the Dark Side“. The exhibition shows framed pieces with spooky phrases written in different ways and many other smaller works written in colored pencils against black paper.


The Westcoast Calligraphy Society consists of an enthusiastic group of people who continue to share their knowledge of design, color, illustration, bookbinding, paper making and other talents with everyone interested in the art of letters. Many of their members also teach beginning and more advanced calligraphy throughout the Lower Mainland.img_6694

What is Calligraphy – Watch an interactive video on Old English Calligraphy Style Lettering

The society was first established in September 1978 as the Society for Italic Handwriting, B. C. Branch. As it continued to grow and its members’ interests expanded, the focus broadened to all types of calligraphy and in June 1986, the name was changed to Westcoast Calligraphy Society. Some of the society’s previous exhibitions at the IKBLC include “Letters to the Garden“, “The Lyrical World“, and “Snow, Ice and Gold“.

Recommended Resources for more information:

Koerner Library | PG3487.I7525 C35 2015

Knight, Stan. Historical scripts: A handbook for calligraphers. Taplinger Publishing Company, 1986.
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre | NK3600 .K55 1984

Whalley, Joyce Irene. The Student’s Guide to Western Calligraphy: An Illustrated Survey. Shambhala, 1984.
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre | Z43 .W53 1984






The September 18, 2016 episode features a visit to Rare Books and Special Collections to see the extraordinary Kelmscott Chaucer. Segment runs from 32:42-47:20.
CBC News explores how the Kelmscott Chaucer gives unique insight into both old and new printing technologies.
CTV's evening news covered the Library's purchase of this rare book on August 25, 2016.
UBC Library's Chung Collection is cited by Lonely Planet as one of the top attractions to visit in Vancouver.
Canadian Art covers UBC Library's newest acquisition, which is an example of Morris’s arts-and-crafts approach to illustration, featuring unusual typeface and intricate decoration.
"As a public university, these are British Columbians’ books," Katherine Kalsbeek, Head of Rare Books and Special Collections tells Montecristo Magazine.

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