CATALOG NO. B97-2019-2020
Transmutation Transfiguration

Transmutation Transfiguration box open

Transmutation Transfiguration book closed

Specifications - Edition of 10
Book – 8.75” x 8.5 x .875” closed, 11 original etchings from zinc plates on Twinrocker hand-made paper, 12 letterpress printed pages from polymer plates with alcohol based stains on Mohawk text weight paper, marbled endpapers. Covers are bound with paper over binders board. Front cover has onlays of thin steel and copper with metal pigment coatings and patina as well as silver leaf and gold leaf. Rear cover has an onlay of embossed aluminium foil from an engraved polycarbonate plate. Custom case - 9.5" x 8.75" x 1.5" closed, with three flaps and magnet closure bound with book cloth over binders board with Tyvek hinges.
Thomas Parker Williams – Design, illustrations, text, printing, binding

Transmutation Transfiguration is a book about two forms of transformation: alchemy, a physical process, and written scripture, a codification of religious beliefs. Alchemists believed that a method could be found to transmute base metals into gold. After centuries of trying, they never discovered such a method. The beliefs of some early societies were transformed from pantheistic to a concept of a single god figure, whose stories were collected in written form and used to codify new faiths. This book looks at the failure of alchemy and also how early faiths were corrupted and then used by dominant groups to subjugate and harm those who differed.

The front cover is a pentagram with five triangles. The pentagram symbolized both good and evil and had many interpretations. For example, the single point up indicated the five wounds of Christ; both points up had an occult meaning. The triangles represent the base metals of alchemy. From top left in a clockwise rotation they are: silver, lead, tin, iron and copper with the sixth metal, mercury, represented by the silver dust surrounding the pentagram. Gold, the primary objective of alchemy, is at the center. The rear cover represents the four elements identified in antiquity: air, fire, earth and water.

Each base metal has been associated with a planet in our solar system. Lead with Saturn, tin with Jupiter, iron with Mars, copper with Venus, silver with the moon, and mercury with its namesake planet. As the book progresses, each etching is aligned with one of the metals. The symbol for each metal, or planet associated with it, is found on the text page.

It is my hope that in time humanity will move toward an equitable society for all inhabitants and fully abandon destructive beliefs, just as alchemy was abandoned by modern chemistry.

Transmutation Transfiguration box closed

Transmutation Transfiguration case closed

Transmutation Transfiguration box open

Transmutation Transfiguration book with case open

Transmutation Transfiguration cover

Transmutation Transfiguration front and rear cover

Transmutation Transfiguration book open

Transmutation Transfiguration book open

Transmutation Transfiguration title page

Title page