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Local sculptor publishes first book

Bound Secret reveals techniques of Douglas McIlvain

Created date

June 21st, 2011

Renowned sculptor Douglas McIlvain recently published his first book, Bound Secret the title a double entendre referring to the sculpture pictured on its cover as well as the secrets of creating his artwork held within its pages. Inspired in part by his fellow neighbors at Seabrook, an Erickson Living community in Tinton Falls, N.J., where he lives and displays much of his sculpture, Douglas spent more than two years compiling and writing the book with help from some of his neighbors. It contains a brief biography of his life as a sculptor and teacher; 250 photographs illustrating his artwork in wood, stone, bronze, and experimental materials; and the processes he used to create each piece. As an artist, Douglas views his book as a continuation of his artwork, and like many authors, he sees it as a way to share his knowledge with other students and teachers, his family, and his friends. The Erickson Tribune had the chance recently to ask the well-known artist about the process of compiling and writing his first book. Why did you decide to write this book, and what inspired you? I decided to write this book for several reasons: to pass on knowledge to future students and teachers, to pass on information about my life and sculptures to my children and grandchildren as a legacy to them, and to answer many of the questions from residents here at Seabook about my sculptures and how they were made. How long did the process of preparing and writing the book take you? I have completed 370 sculptures in various media; I do not have photographs of all of them because I never contemplated using them in a book. Hundreds of photos had to be sorted to find the 250 depicted in this book; some pieces were sold before they were even photographed. Fortunately, I had an accurate record of when the sculptures were completed, where they were shown, and how many prizes they won all on file cards. It took about a year and a half to compile all of this into book form. Starting first with an outline of what I wanted to cover, I sorted through hundreds of photos to fit into the various divisions of the outline. I then contacted a graphic artist, Kim Sing, a recent graduate of Georgian Court University where I was a former professor. She helped arrange and design the layout of the book. Next came writing the text. With the use of speech recognition Dragon software, I was able to speak into a microphone, and the computer typed what I dictated. Not being an experienced writer, I had a fellow resident at Seabrook, Pat Driscoll, rewrite and smooth out the text for me. Regina Thomas, also a fellow resident and experienced author, made many of the technical corrections for the publication. Have you written other books? This is my first book, but I ve been thinking of writing another book entitled My Mystic Moments. How did your wife Frances also an artist contribute to the book? I dedicated the book to my wife who helped me through the many processes of being an artist. We met at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She is an accomplished watercolorist and art teacher. We taught art classes together at Seabrook when we first moved here in 2001. Our classes included oil paintings, water color, and the course Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. My wife continues with her painting to this day. Where can people purchase Bound Secret? The book was published and printed by Blurb, an Internet publisher that prints limited edition books: And I ve sold 20 copies here at Seabrook so far.