Friday, 25 April 2014

my bird book .....

It is such a joy to share some photographs of my completed book ... well not quite as I have yet to name it and make its slip case.

Struggle though it has been, this book and I are now firm friends.  I wasn't sure that was going to be the case but once I let go of the fact that although I had done a number of etchings towards this book, I need not use them in an illustrative manner but find another way of relating this story.  After all, that is what these books are all about - narrative.  It doesn't mean one has to tell all, but certainly the imagery should prompt the viewer to discover their own story.  

There are thirteen pages to my book and the etchings have been done either on Japanese Tengujo paper or the lovely warm Fabriano Tiepolo.  After cutting down images, they were then mounted in an embossed frame onto a gorgeous Magnani paper almost 600 gsm thick. I decided on using a natural linen thread and left some of the stitching with length to emulate the twigs of a birds nest.  A number though not all of the eggs have been placed underneath the soft Japanese paper as I wanted the them suggested rather than dominant. Overall dimension of the page is 45cms x 7cms.  I will make an edition of 7 only as there is so much effort in making each book even with the etching plates completed.  The book is made up from seven separate etchings which need to be printed before I can even begin the process of designing and making the book. The etchings will be an open edition.

The completed book may be folded and read in any number of ways.
I like the way the thread hangs out from the book twig like.

The embossing I made for Fiona's book can be seen here in mine too.
I think the colour here in the nest and in other parts of the book suggests early morning sunshine.
Some of the details before the book was sewn.

Fiona's beautiful wording can be seen here very subtly.

rest your wings.
Here is a hollow
of silence,
a nest of stillness,
in which to hatch
your dreams.

These words by Joan Walsh Anglund were found by Fiona and very kindly shared with me in this book giving our works another point of collaboration.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

world book day 2014 and the books meet .....

World Book Day and exactly two years since Fiona and I started our collaboration.  We were celebrating that milestone today as well as celebrating the completion of our latest artists' books - birds, eggs, nests, feathers.

Not sure quite what we were thinking when we chose that title (and decided that our books would be collaborative in title only) but I do remember we thought it would challenge us.  And it did.  I have posted already on the struggles I encountered with finding a way to make a book out of the images I had etched.  Finally I found that my comfort zone was where my book took shape, revealing glimpses of the story rather than having everything divulged at once.  Bringing more of the mark making elements of suggestion, rather than using all the work I had done with the etchings.  I am pleased to have the etching plates, and to have done the work, but I am so very happy to have found a way to produce a book that felt like me, telling a story in the manner I would chose rather than having the work I did towards it dominate and dictate.  In the end our books are more collaborative than we had thought as we both worked into the others' book, I with a couple of images and Fiona with her beautiful calligraphy. Fiona - the words you found to help you express your book have given my book validation.  Thank you.

The results of our books will be shown more intimately in the next post.  As is our custom, we brought the books together today for their first meeting.  Fiona had seen my completed book as she wrote in it for me and though I had seen parts of her book and had done the work for her 'wings' and 'nests' pages, I had not seen the complete book.  What joy it was to sit down with it nestled in my hand and turn each page, marvelling at its quietness and gentleness.  You will see those details tomorrow but let me tell you, viewing these books on the internet is really nothing at all like holding them closely and sticking your nose into each little detail ....

Artists' book are incredibly difficult to photograph effectively, especially trying to photograph two together.  It is always a challenge in itself. The first few images are of our two books and the following images are of our collection of collaborative books.  We have had an amazing journey in this venture and have grown in strength as book artists.  I have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated Fiona's support, encouragement and her contributions into 'my' books and I am pretty certain she too will say that the understanding of each others' work and our respect for it, has been what has made this such an amazing collaboration. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

alaw continues ....

I have just caught up my letters for A Letter a Week - IJKLMNOP - March and Aprils' letters.  It always feels good to finish off some of those little things that tick along in the studio.

Tis a gorgeous, nurturing day here - shrouded in mist, gentle rain and a less than gentle blow.  We are experiencing the tail end of the cyclone that hit land in the north of Queensland and having had such a dry summer, the rain is more than welcome.  I love the mists that roll up here into the hills, wrapping us round and secreting us away from all else.  

Sunday, 13 April 2014

busy bits .....

It has been a crazy few weeks in the studio with nothing really exciting to post about other than the completion of my bird book - or at least my part of it and now it is with Fiona who is adding some text ready for the 'Two Books Meet' on World Book Day on April 23rd.

This doesn't mean that is all that has been done but the rest is not new work but the editioning of etchings for up coming and recent events.  We have Maleny Printmakers exhibition over Easter and I needed to have work ready for that - printed a number of etchings from the 'sand drawings' plates and finally, after many years sitting as proofs, I printed and editioned some of my door knobs.  I am happy with how they turned out and in fact have framed three of them together as part of the Easter Exhibition.

I spent days printing some of my "In Between Dreams Series' and dug out the etching plates of a series of four flower etchings I had done a few years ago ..... all for a studio visit day.  A group of women were coming up from Brisbane and further afield to visit gardens here between Flaxton and Maleny and my friend and neighbour, whose garden was the venue for morning tea, asked if they could come and see my studio.  There were going to be about 40 of them and we thought that would work if half of them were dropped here first, and then the other half came after their morning tea and wander around her garden.  As it worked out, there were 63 lovely ladies and they all arrived here simultaneously!  It was impossible to move and I ended up by talking a little about etching processes, a little about the bird book with which I was struggling as it was evident on the desk in front of me.  It was impossible to really see all the work I had on walls or displayed on cabinets as the crush was huge.  A few determined and interested women squeezed their way around looking and weaving their way to me for questions and expressing intent to re visit when there was not such a crush.

For all that, it was good exposure and it forced me to get quite an amount of work done - which is now ready for my Open Studio days in October.  Many of them left their emails and asked to be invited so that was good. A couple of sales were also sweet.

a glimpse of the completed book ready for the reveal next week

details of sand drawings

three of the Italian Door Knob series

watercoloured etchings

and some experiments for the book heading to Belgium which will never see the light of day!