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Sarah H. Paulson

Altered Book:

Ledger Lines

Vermont General Store Ledger (1829-1830)

Unbound ledger in velvet box; each page marked with indigo ink lines. 
Includes front cover, back cover, 154 pages. 

Artist Statement

This Vermont General Store Ledger (1829-1830) is full of names, prices, and sundries, recording various purchases by local townspeople. Ruth Antoinette Rodriguez, poet and bookstore owner of Antidote Books (Brattleboro, VT), gifted this book to me. She knew I used ledgers in my artwork. Immediately, I was inspired by the exquisite handwriting and meticulous record-keeping found throughout the ledger’s 400+ original pages. However, the book sat in my studio for nearly two years before I knew how I would use it. RE-covery II provided the perfect opportunity to work with the book, rescuing it from being kept as just another artifact in my collection.

I used natural indigo ink (and some gold mica ink), writing vertically from right to left, creating a woven overlap between the two languages. The unbound pages, in their weathered beauty and once-mundane practicality, serve as the perfect backdrop for each drawing. Each page is unique. Some pages contain hundreds of lines. Others contain one line. While others contain shapes that began with the gesture of a line. As the book transformed, the form of the line transformed.

Ledger Lines is both a complete artwork and an artwork that contains many pieces of artwork within it. The process was performative, an act of repetition that was meditative. On the cover, I painted an imaginal landscape, focused around a burn mark that was present when I received the book. The burn mark reminded me of a sacred symbol or a punctuating gesture. It hints at the power of a single mark amidst a vast landscape, like a punctuation mark that impacts the expression of a series of words.

Viewers may purchase individual pages in the order that the pages appear. Once purchased, the buyer must sign their name on the corresponding line behind the front cover. By purchasing a page, the buyer is a participant in the performative nature of the project.

There will be a related performance entitled Burn Line on October 22nd at the Big Barn Concert Hall in Putney, Vermont. For more information email Sarah at or go to


Individual pages: $11 each

Pages must be purchased in order. You can only purchase the top page(s).

Once purchased, sign your name on the cover accordion alongside the corresponding page number(s).

Front and back cover paintings: $2700, plus $11 for each remaining page.

(All remaining pages must be purchased with the front and back cover.)

Short Bio

Sarah H. Paulson’s work, including her paintings and drawings, are rooted in the performative. She believes that performance, in its sacred form, is connected to the mystery of what it is to be human.  In addition to living and working as an artist, Sarah studies alchemical Taoist medicine; practices acupuncture at Sword Hands Acupuncture & Qigong; and recently wrote To My Companion: within the room within the room, a book of poems.

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