Thursday, 15 March 2018

11/52 'with crows' .....

We live on a hill
with crows.

Steve calls me the 'mother of crows'
and I love that they call out to me for attention.

I am much happier with crows around the house than with the magpies 
who dominated the house acreage.  Crows seem happy to live with all the other birds
around them and the small birds
the magpies chased away
have come back.

Living high on a hill means we are often looking down on birds soaring high above Palmwoods,
or flying through the tall trees below us.

We have watched crows' nests being built and the young mimicking their parents.
I am pretty sure we have at least three generations of crows here on our bush block.

Of course there are countless other birds too!

This is a small book of etching, aquatint and chine colle worked into concertina format and folding back into a solid cover with a spine of black leather.  I have worked quite a bit on the back of the paper as well and like the way I get glimpses of that work when I am looking through the book.

 I had a little bit of fun with some old wooden type I have sitting on studio shelves.  

 The dry point print I have used as some of my hills looks like birdsong music ...... may be a stretch of the imagination but I can see it!

I find it hard to believe eleven weeks of this year have passed already and I am still ticking away with the 52 book project.  Already the discipline is having the desired affect - making me spend time in the studio, getting my creative juices flowing again providing inspiration for future work.  What I am longing to do after working with all these small books, is some LARGE drawings.  Large, bold, black .....  hmmmm.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

10/ 52 'she wanted words' .....

'she had always wanted words,
she loved them:
grew up on them.  Words gave her clarity,
brought reason, shape'

Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje has been one of my favourite writers for many years - you can read and re read his books as the language is so exquisite.  Such a way with words - I am totally envious.  As I am of many writers in fact.

With this project - 52 books this year, one a week - I do not have much time in-between to plot and plan but every now and then I find my stride with something and enjoy fiddling and thinking - making plans to return when time allows.  One of the things I have been enjoying has been using some of my fathers old letraset as you will have seen in one of my earlier weekly books.  I am also enjoying using words and not just imagery hoping people will sense all I am trying to way with my work.  Words help in translation and add meaning, sometimes even guidance in appreciating a work.  I think I have learnt this from my collaboration with Fiona Dempster over the years.

This week I actually made two of these books - one, I posted on Instagram and it is my least favourite.  This book has a couple more pages and less busy embossing and is far more gentle and quiet.  

To complete this book I made it a cover out of a lovely grey Magnani paper - can't remember what it was called!   The books slips in from the left side.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

8/52 'australian' and 9/52 'flotsam' .....

8/52     'australian'

I love leather and enjoyed making this soft leather cover for my eighth book of the year.  As I work through this project making a book each week I realise that I am making some complete artist's books, and some books which will have drawings in them but will be added into as the year, or years, pass by.  This is one of those books.  I have called it 'australian' because it will be comprised of a series of drawing from the Australian bush through which I wander many a time though rarely sit down long enough to draw.  Hopefully this book will inspired me to sit and draw, or at least to 'collect' on walks and draw at home.

I have done a number of drawings already but have many blank pages.  The soft wrap around leather cover will adapt to whatever thickness of book I settle upon.  It is made from kangaroo skin and I have used the rough edges of the piece of leather to give interest to the cover.

9/52    'flotsam'

This little book reminds me of how much I am a printmaker at heart.  I am enthralled with the lines and marks one makes serendipitously on the plate.  Of course the maker guides the marks but much of what happens seems to just happen.  Of all the techniques I use with etching, my favourite would have to be using sugar lift and aquatint.  With it, the finest and the most bold lines can be achieved.

I have made this book from left over etchings (part of my 'hunting and gathering' book) but remade like this, it called to mind beach markings and though it is not yet housing drawings made while beach walking, it soon will.  Again it is lovely to have a book ready to go for that sojourn by the shore.

I have made a wrap around end on this coptically bound book and have two sleeves which slip on and hold the book firm.  The book is called 'flotsam' as I will be drawing things found lying along the shore - beach debris, and beach marks no doubt!

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

7/52 'yellow language' .....

Sometimes the photographs we take of the 'thing' we make are far more interesting than the actual book or object.  That is the case here.  I love some of the photographs but the little books was one made whilst away as a 'must do' rather than I wish to make a book about this or for this.

The small yellow etchings are cut down from an etching I printed for part of the series I worked on called 'the art of language'.  I was experimenting with colour, which I very rarely do.  The beautiful marbled paper was bought in New Zealand and I have been waiting to use it in some manner.  The main reason I made this book was that I had just finished a large project designing and making a wedding album/artists' book and had sewn it with this single section coptic binding.  It had been ages since I had sewn a book this way - especially using ten needles, and half the way through I realised that I was not going to have enough thread to finish the binding.  Frustrating.  For those who know this binding, you will remember that there is nowhere to add in any thread.  Not so with this smaller version where I made absolutely sure I had enough thread and I was only using five needles with a small book so it was not nearly as complicated.  

Sunday, 11 February 2018

6/52 'snow on the mountains' .....

This is the smallest of the books I have made thus far , only about 8 x 10cms.  I have had a fairly busy week but as I have committed to making a book a week I am allowing myself latitude with complexity, or lack thereof, when I only have time to do something simple.  So this little concertina book was born, made from a pen and ink drawing of mine from a few years back which has just been sitting around in one of my many 'desk piles'.  You can see a few 'snow' marks here on the page above.  I think I stopped at that page envisioning that I would do an overlay of snow fall though never did.  One day I may include that in the book but I am already having to think about a book for next week!

Nothing precious about this little book other than I think it works quite neatly folded and only revealing snippets of the drawing at a time.  That quintessential element we love about the book format where only a little is revealed with any one glimpse.

Monday, 5 February 2018

5/52 'hard to read' .....

I had fun with this book - my fifth for the year.  It is a very simple concertina book where I have sewn into the valleys on both sides.  What makes it special for me is that I am using the letraset which my father had used when he practised architecture.  Long before the time of computers.  Many pages in the bundle I have are stuck together, many of the letters have been used and only their rubout marks are left on the papers - all this making it 'hard to read'.

Here you can see more easily how I have sewn into the valleys.  I particularly like the few pages I found with the large block script though not much of it was in the bundle.  It adds weight to the design of the book I think.

Where I joined papers to give  myself a longer concertina, I have used some of  the letraset as a spine.
Sometimes I think the simplest books can be the most interesting.  I am not making a cover for this though I will make a perspex slip case for it at some stage.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

4/52 'remembering moeraki'

This book was made from drawings I had done whilst staying at Moeraki in New Zealand with fellow artist Steph McLennan.  What a trip we had - 8 or 9 days visiting the boulders at various times of day and tide, hundreds of photographs taken, work done en plain air which was fun as a number of people  came up to see what we were doing and look at our work.  One lady, an author visiting from America asked if she could buy the sketch I was working on!  I ended up giving her the sketch and just asking that she 'pay it forward' in some way.  She wrote back a couple of times and said she had had it framed and continued to love the drawing.  How lovely was that.

I know I have blogged once or twice about the Moeraki Boulders so will not ramble on about them much more other than to say that my drawings do not do them justice.  These drawings were purposely matched with the rusted paper as it was so strongly suggestive of the concretions at Moeraki.  Their underlay to my drawings on film suits my purpose here.  

In reality the boulders are dark and majestic and mysterious, and not like these drawings at all though the shapes are there and the passage of water around the boulders as the tide came in.

I could draw for a year at Moeraki, quite happily watching the different light and moods of the day affect the boulders.  There are many details to get lost in as well which are not shown here at all.  I believe that as time passes the shore line is eroding and more of these concretions/boulders are appearing.  Must mean I have to go back at some point ....

The book is about 40 cms in width and reads horizontally (making it very difficult to open and photograph.  I laminated two thicknesses of grey board for both covers which meant that on the front I could cut a window and insert this image.  It was great fun juggling ten needles to sew the book.  The photo above looks as though I have cleverly created an image of a boulder on the spine - though this is just a serendipitious shadow.