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.








Thoughts
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.


45 comments:

  1. Wow, utterly amazing.....!

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    1. A wonderful comment thanks Louise. Certainly is amazing to me that the book finally was made!

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  2. It's a really beautiful work Susan!

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    1. Thanks Robyn. This format is actually the same (though larger) as the book I am submitting for the Personal Histories exhibition.

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  3. What a work! What a deal of work! Exquisite.
    I love the format - the long page, which I think you use quite often. There is a suggestion of brevity, such as the brief sightings of birds; and yet also a feeling of recurrence and familiarity. Lovely.
    How it itch to see and feel the papers - your description sounds scrummy.
    I love the seeming random marks of the etching, the subtleties of the embossed pages - the only aspect of the whole which I find jars is the thread. I think linen is lovely, and that the trailing ends do indeed contribute as you describe, but a finer thread would have worked better for me. But what do I know! It is a stunning piece of work, and thank you so much for sharing it with us and inspiring us.

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    1. thanks Olga - will take on board your comment about the thread and try one with thinner thread next time. Glad you like the rest of it and get the feel of the book with its brief sightings and familiarity.

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  4. The thought, detail, creativity, skill, etc that you pored into this piece shows. The struggle does not. You've created yet another exquisite work of high art. And yet another that I yearn to see in person, to lightly touch the textures of, to hold in light so the sun and shadows can play on the embossing and stitching. Going back for another look. And bowing to the master.

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    1. Hello Jennifer. I am really glad the struggle does not show and think I have Fiona and her words, or borrowed words, to thank for this. I think the book felt quiet and gentle by the end. Still not sure what the book should be called ....

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  5. susan, i left a comment which seems to have vaporized. i just wish i could look at this book up close, well done!

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    1. Thank you Velma. I have the gremlin problem sometimes with messages and it is irritating. Glad you sent another :-)

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  7. How beautifully subtle and delicate this is! I love the suggestions and glimpses and the cutting of the images. How I would love to see this 'in the flesh'. Beautiful ...

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    1. Thanks Charlton - the book certainly seemed to hold together more for me once I took apart the images and suggested them instead.

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  8. What a beautiful book. From the etchings to the embossing, your sewn construction to words selected... it is beautiful in every way. For those of us who are just beginning our journey into book arts and printing it is incredibly inspiring.

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    1. Many thanks Jan. I would encourage you to keep on with your journey as the combination of printmaking and artists' book creating is a happy though at times incredibly time consuming one. You then have the wonderful result of the book and the lovely encouraging comments people leave you along the way.

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  9. What a beautiful book. From the etching to the embossing, to the sewn structure and materials chosen, to the beautiful words selected - your book is beautiful in every way. For those of us who are just beginning our journey into book arts and printing it is truly inspiring.

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  10. This is so fantastic, it's beyond words!

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    1. Many thanks Connie. Sometimes the visual just doesn't need words ..... glad you like the book.

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  11. Susan...that book is EXQUISITE!!!!

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    1. Thanks for that wonderful comment Jo. Took a while to birth this book and I am glad it worked out well in the end.

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  12. Joan Walsh Anglund's words are perfect for your beautiful book.

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    1. You are right Robyn - the words are lovely in this book but they were really only a last minute thought as they were the focus of fiona's and were never going to suit the book I initially had in mind. The end result suited these gorgeous words well though. I won't be able to use them in the subsequent books though as they are Fiona's collaborative contribution. I think the book will stand up without them though ... Or I will have to find words of my own!

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  13. SB - an exquisite piece - in terms of concept, etchings and the long form - all are so SB. Peace. B

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    1. Thanks Barry. Certainly the resulted ended up feeling like 'me' and I think that is so very important with all the work we do, that that personal integrity is there in some way.

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  14. This book has emerged light as a breeze, stunning and sublime Susan. No hint of the angst, no sense of struggle - a beautiful book, mean to be just as it is. It really is stunning...

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    1. I feel the same way about your book Fiona. It is strange that there have been a couple of books with which we have really struggled and they have been the same ones .... I wonder if our struggle feeds off one another but I don't think so. I think we sometimes go out of our comfort zone, even if it is just that we try to go outside our comfort zone and come hightailing it back to that comfortable hollow. What ever happens, for both of us I think that the struggle we had with our books is not readable, in fact is not included at all because at the end of the day we both made books that rested well with ourselves, was complemented by work from the other and the story then seemed to resolve effortlessly. Not the effort in creating the work, but in the story that was told.

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  15. I do want to write a comment but cannot find any words that rise to the occasion. As Jo says, this is Exquisite. I too yearn to touch it and see it up close. I'll let my words 'rest their wings' now, silence often better fits admiration.

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    1. Well Ersi who writes so absolutely beautifully, I am glad my book stumped you! That means a great deal.... Am so glad you liked it though. x

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    1. Lovely of your to drop by India and thank you for the lovely comment

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  17. Your bird book is very beautiful and I love it. I too like the threads sticking out and the soft muted colors... So subtle and zen-like

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  18. Lovely to hear from you Donna. So glad you like the book. I think I found a way to resolve it so that it was more subtle and I am pleased you find it zen like. Still a bit busy maybe but when you actually are handling the book and not reading it all at one, there is a definite quietness and simplicity (despite all the work that went into it) about the book.

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  19. Such a beautiful delight to see in images - I am sure its subtle beauty is even more breathtaking in real life. How I wish I could see it for real.

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    1. thank you for the compliment Kim. Wish I was as comfortable with 'birds' as you seem to be. I really stressed over this book but it seemed to scrub up quite well in the end.

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  20. This is so beautiful. It is lovely to find you!
    roxanne

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  21. Hello Roxane. I too am glad you found me - I went scurrying over to look at the altered book collaboration of which you are part and am really inspired. I have made my own altered books, but a collaboration of this kind is one Fiona and I have yet to explore. Hmmmm - my mind is racing.

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    1. Thanks Mo, I finally found a way to tell this story that felt and sat well with me.

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    1. Many thanks Sharon. Now that all the angst is over, I can sit back and enjoy the book too!

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  24. I think one reason it's so hard to find the words to describe the emotions experienced in viewing such a book (even on a computer screen) is that one sees immediately how much went into it (though, as others have noted, the struggle you felt at times is completely absent). It it simply too rich & exquisite to express with a line or two. It is truly a gift that you & Fiona give others of us each time you so generously share your process/progress, and then the final form & page details. Things like this make me happy for the existence of the wide world web!
    I love the palette that came about as a result of the various processes, the many layers of marks, the embossed frames that hold within them these marks...how the long/wide pages are held together by the individual twig-like stitches, how you can vary the "reading" of the pages (and that multiple ones come together to form one in some cases). Just beautiful - thank you for sharing!

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  25. What a gorgeous comment - series of comments, Lisa. One of the joys of posting to the blog and hence having an audience across the globe is this acknowledgement and understanding that can come from a blogging 'friend' whom one has never met but know that at some level you are really connected. I am so pleased my bird book touched you and that you were able to sense so much within the pages.

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  26. What an exquisite book--a true labor of love!

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I appreciate your comments - thank you!