Sylvia Ptak takes very seriously the idea of the materiality of the written word; in fact, she has made it literally material. Ptak, a Toronto artist, spent countless hours in the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library poring over old manuscripts, scrutinizing not the meanings of the words but their shapes. These, she has replicated on gauzy fabric. Swirls of threads mimic cursive script, swaths of colour imitate illuminated letters, different threads reproduce layers of a palimpsest. None of it is readable as text, but all of it is disquietingly familiar – it is remarkable that, without a single identifiable letter, we are still able to discern French from Hebrew.Commentary is in full colour throughout and includes the artist's remarks and an essay by Kyo Maclear. It is a publication of the University of Toronto Library.