This afternoon my daughter Pip, who is visiting from Sydney for a couple of days, and I visited Fiona to bring our books together for their photo shoot. Fiona and I have created two magical books this week to celebrate World Book Day. Not perfect books, but magical. I chose this word quite carefully as there has been a sense of wonder and unexpected surprise, a gorgeous alchemy of our thoughts, words, marks and effort as our books began, merged and finally unveiled.
The light in the studio was luminous and even so, it was quite difficult to capture the books together . Fiona's long and lean, crisp and rigid, mine rectangular and softly bound, mellow, not wanting to stand.
Of the many taken, a few images stood out for me - these really just show the structure of our books and not the content. They actually blend together tenderly with their threads and markings, tracemarks and images echoing each other's and yet they remain simultaneously individual.
My completed book although this photo was taken before I titled it 'In Between the Mountains'. There is a story about this which I will share at the end of this blog.
|Fiona's words concealed through scratched transparencies|
|etchings and pierced translucent paper|
|hidden etchings - the transparent layer lifts to reveal these in detail|
Fiona's white pages and thread from our day working together
|My last page bringing all the ideas I had together|
|Fiona's delicious threads|
This shared collaborative experience has been both intriguing and absorbing. Throughout, our sensibilities have been in tune with each other and I think this remained so right until the finishing touches were being made on the books.
I must share this story with you ...........
I brought along my book, with eight pages, to be worked into by Fiona. All I had done was make two of those pages from some of my etchings and suggested was that I was doing a soft cover book which I wanted to be read in landscape format which meant that the binding was on the top of the pages, not left or right. Fiona introduced her beautiful words to my book, though did so on tracing paper in order that I could conceal them in my mountains, or let them peek in between. She also worked two of my pages with smaller white pages secured under thread lines. Beautiful. Once I began to work back into the book I decided I really wanted to have Fiona's words visible between the mountains and I pondered hard over whether I should just copy them or trace them onto the page. Somehow it didn't seem right so I asked Fiona if I could bring my pages back for her to rewrite the words onto the page ..... and of course she was more than happy to oblige.
It was not until I was home again, fiddling with the last touches, that I realised that Fiona had actually written a second verse instead of using her initial verse twice. She had absorbed what I had worked into my pages, into the story I was telling, and I think tied it all together in the second verse. By so doing she had supplied my book with the cohesion it needed.
Here are the two verses that Fiona has written in my book (the first verse written by Aaron Siskind and lent to me!) because you can't read them without holding the book, taking back the transparent layer and looking closely 'In Between the Mountains' ...
'if you look very intensely
things will happen
that you never dreamed of before'
'in the hollows
and the voids
between the mountains
quiet dreams of beauty are born.'
That says it all.