When Sarah FitzSimons first heard of the Wisconsin Water Library, she was inspired. “It was just so poetic and lovely” says the artist. Sarah, who is a faculty member in the UW-Madison Art Department, began thinking about the ways in which various bodies of water have impacted her life. This led her to the creation of her own personal Water Library.
Sarah’s water biography is comprised of bodies of water that she has lived near that have become important and meaningful to her. She has built individual water books that are filled with a sample of the water from these locations which she holds dearly. Currently, there are 10 water books from the following bodies of water: Lake Erie, Euclid Creek, Cuyahoga River, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Tejo River, Douro River, Tuela River, Lake Michigan, and Dugway Brook. Sarah plans to add an additional 5 books to her water biography.
As with any type of biography, there are personal stories attached to these books. Sarah said that her strongest connection is to Lake Erie, as she grew up in Cleveland. Sarah recalls childhood memories of swimming in Lake Erie, having bonfires on the beach, and watching sunsets. She also remembers bringing a water bottle filled with water from the Pacific Ocean back to Wisconsin, to remind her of her time living in Los Angeles and living just moments away from the ocean.
The Wisconsin Water Library is thrilled to have received a volume of the Lake Michigan book as a donation from Sarah to have as a part of our collection. Sarah has also donated the Atlantic Ocean book to the Kohler Art Library. The remaining volumes are available for viewing at the Faculty Exhibition at the Chazen Museum of Art, which runs from February 1st through May 10th. Sarah will also be giving a presentation at the Chazen about this collection on Tuesday, April 21st at 5:30.