Intuitive Alphabet - Collector's Edition


by Michele Oka Doner


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Intuitive Alphabet is, literally, a gift from the sea, like life itself. Michele Oka Doner grew up in Miami Beach combing the sand for treasures—shells, stones, coral—that formed her own alphabet well before she knew how to read. In this book, an homage to that world of discovery, the renowned artist shows us the glyphic forms embedded in the treasures she has collected during a lifetime of walks on the beach. Intuitive Alphabet is both an artist’s book and, yes, an alphabet book, one which conveys a profound message about looking and seeing. On an even deeper level, Intuitive Alphabet offers insights into the way in which language has evolved and is learned. 

Minimal text, handwritten by the artist, is paired with photographs of sea objects that represent forms, such as “A is for Animal," and "S is for Spiral.” The result is a thoroughly original, evocative, and thought-provoking work that underscores the connection between humans and nature

The Collector's Edition features a cover fabricated from handmade paper with a naturally deckled edge, with the title handwritten by the artist on every copy; velum and recycled paper pages; and sewn-together pages. A custom-made bookstand is available for the Collector's Edition.


“Although Oka Doner’s practice is about the physical power and material potential of objects, she’s fascinated with something wholly abstract and intangible: language. Or, perhaps more precisely, how we communicate with each other and the world around us.”—Observer

“Best known for her public installations…Michele Oka Doner is also a prolific and inventive maker of sculpture, jewelry, furniture, functional objects and handmade books. Her work celebrates organic forms, particularly seashore life, but also seeds, trees, the body and other natural growths.”—New York Times

“Sublime.”—New York Daily News

“Among the most versatile artists working today…The source of Oka Doner’s governing passion emanates from the spiritual nature that forms around us.”—Art Daily

“Oka Doner’s studio is essentially one giant, fantastical and tastefully decorated wunderkammer…But her collections are much more than elegant clutter. They serve as the spark for her work.”—Wall Street Journal

“A delicate sensitivity and surprising force of expression.”—Vogue Italia

“Oka Doner tells us a story of how our minds make meaning…And that is the delightful point of it all: to make us aware, at each turn of the page, of the remarkable plasticity of our imaginations, that reading and seeing are not passive experiences; they are ways we, quite literally, make the world.”—The Miami Rail

“Luminous and absorbing…Oka Doner reminds us of the interconnectedness of all things—that everything is alive.”—Susan Brind Morrow, Guggenheim Fellow and author of The Names of Things

“Immersing herself in the natural world… Michele Oka Doner creates evocative spaces and places.”—Metropolis

“Her studio is itself a work of art.”—Washington Independent

“[Intuitive Alphabet] is spectacular. It will make a tremendous addition to our collection of artist’s books and I predict it will be a very popular item in our classrooms and reading room.” —Tom Hyry, Houghton Library of the Harvard College Library

“A deep understanding of light is at the core of Oka Doner’s work.”—Modern Magazine

“I can’t think of another artist who is so remarkably versatile but always hews to her singular aesthetic.”—David Gill of David Gill Gallery

“The book’s un-spectacularity makes it so spectacular. It is soul food that will be sitting on my night stand next to Rainer Maria Rilke’s Die Gedichte.”—Juergen Fischer, cultural critic

The Collector’s Edition of Intuitive Alphabet is a meticulously crafted, large-scale art book designed to celebrate the traditional form of bookmaking in its purest sense. Each book is numbered and signed by Michele Oka Doner and includes an original drawing by the artist. 

Michele Oka Doner is an internationally renowned artist whose production encompasses sculpture, prints, drawings, furniture, jewelry, public art, functional objects, video, costume and set design, and artist’s books. She is well known for such permanent art installations as Flight at Reagan International Airport and A Walk on the Beach at Miami International Airport. Oka Doner’s work is found in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.


Publication Date | November 15, 2017 | Collector's Edition No. 1-150

Handmade Paper Cover 

Smyth Sewn Binding

134 Pages, Vellum Uncoated

56 Color Photographs

Textured and Recycled Paper

Original Drawing Signed by the Artist

10.75 x 16.25 in.

$1,400.00 ($1,908.00 CAN)


Proceeds benefit