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  • Fairbury News staff

Book features Weston Cemetery

Images of a new book from Ken Kashian showcasing the Weston Cemetery Nature Preserve (via Ken Kashian).

Illinois’ original landscape can be viewed a few miles west of Fairbury at the Weston Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve.

The 3.5-acre high-quality prairie represents what Illinois looked like at one time. In addition to grave sites, it contains at least 71 native prairie plants.

Bloomington-Normal professional photographer Ken Kashian and poet Kathleen Kirk created a limited-edition handmade artist book, Fugue, which features a portfolio of photographs. The project includes multiple kinds of materials and structures. A custom made clamshell houses a book containing small cards illustrating wildflowers on the front and a poem referencing each photograph on the back.

A small booklet is included in the clamshell containing an essay by Bill Kemp, McLean County Museum of History librarian. Kemp gives a brief history of the cemetery and prairie along with the status of other prairies in the state. Another component of the project is a portfolio of art prints of wildflowers.

“I got captivated by it because of the parade of wildflowers that appear there from May all the way to November,” explained Kashian.

Kashian said he had passed by the sign along U.S. Route 24 that says Weston Cemetery several times but never drove in there since it looks like nothing is back there from the highway.

Kashian refers to the project as fun and challenging as he would return every two weeks to catch different wildflowers which were emerging. Weston Cemetery Nature Preserve is a unique prairie since it has never been plowed which allowed the seeds and flowers to stay there for hundreds of years.

“This has always been there and that’s very unique to what they call the Prairie State,” added Kashian.

Kirk admits it took some research to come up with the poetry for the photos.

“He’ll take his photos. I’ll look at them and write a poem in response,” she said.

Contemporary artist books range from fine craft letterpress to one-of-a-kind or limited-edition art objects presented in a wide variety of materials and book formats. According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, artists incorporate typography, papermaking, paper engineering, bookmaking, design, creative writing and digital media into their book works.

Fugue launches this Thursday, Dec. 8. For information on obtaining a copy of the book, contact Kashian at or visit

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