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The Golden Child

Artist book by Marilyn Goodrich
and Daniel E. Kelm
unique copy


The Golden Child was conceived by artist Marilyn Goodrich as a meditation on memorable, yet commonplace moments with her recently deceased lover. Distilled singular recollections, written in hard pencil so that they are barely visible, alternate with large gestural swaths of brilliant gold, creating a quiet rumination on love and the power of human relationships. Goodrich asked Daniel Kelm to create a binding that would support the intent of the book. Kelm’s gilded glass box, which he describes as “both cradle and reliquary,” holds the book, which is bound in a length of cream-colored silk. Kelm refers to this object as the “golden child,” referring to the untouched innocence of birth that remains at the core of human beings even as they outwardly age and become corrupted by daily life. As Kelm wrote to Goodrich at the end of the project:

The Golden Child is such a beautiful expression of that incorruptible core of love. The sweet conversation between you and your lover is so open, vulnerable, and quiet. This tenderness is perfectly swaddled in soft silk. Held lovingly, but able to open and be shared. . . . [The] protective case cloaked in gold represents the enduring, incorruptible nature of the love within.

—Aprile Gallant, Curator, Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, Smith College Museum of Art

Text and calligraphy with gilding by Marilyn Goodrich.

Silk binding and enclosure by Daniel E. Kelm assisted by Kylin Lee and Lynn Latimer.

Woodworking by Glenn Leonard.

Paper, silk, hair, and gold leaf, encased in a reliquary of iridized glass and gilt wood.


The cover lifts, revealing the book swaddled in silk.