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.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

3/52 - noughts and crosses .....

I had lots of fun making book number three for this year's project.  Right back into my crosses, though adding the circular imagery is not common in my work.   Hence the name 'noughts and crosses'.  I have been reading a book by Charles Seife called 'Zero - The Biography of a Dangerous Idea' which is totally enthralling and have a suspicion that the idea of zeros (noughts) in my work has stemmed from that.  Who knows ...

I had the privilege of working for a couple of days in a friends amazing studio and used the first day to draw and play, making my third book for the year.  I used the second day to do some printmaking, etching and aquatinting, which was enormous fun.  In my heart of hearts I am still a printmaker and I still hold onto the hope that maybe one day .....

You can see the mess I make sharpening my graphite pencils on the paper.  I do this so that I can then use all the shavings and rub the graphite into my images.  

Using the graphite to rub in soft shapes.

By using transparent papers as well as the Japanese lightweight papers, and aged brown tracing paper too, I am able to read imagery from the page beneath.

I made the covers out of grey board with a simple window cut to reveal some of the work on the first page.  Coptic binding was used to secure the work - a difficult exercise with such an assortment of japanese papers and architectural film.

Some of the details of the pages.  It was interesting to me to find that my comfort zone, or my preferences have changed.  I used to love dwelling in the dark areas, in obscurity, but find now I am really enjoying working more subtly and in the brighter lighter realm.  I am enjoying softness and light - not that this is new for me but I certainly have had a pre disposition to work into the depths and darks in the past.  In this book, and there are many pages (some still waiting for further work), I have only worked on two dark images and they are not my favourite pages.

Monday, 15 January 2018

book 2/52 - 'musseander'

With a house full of adults and grandchildren and dogs, I did not manage to post this last night as is my desire each week - in accordance with my two week old 'book a week' plan!  Such is life.  I imagine through the year there will be many times I am away and though the book may be done, the post may be delayed.

This week's book is called 'musseander' and is basically a coptically bound book using Fabriano Tiepolo pages and architectural/drafting film - using the play of the transparencies to see imagery below though the truth is, I just love drawing on this film with ink, graphite and pencils.  It is so fluid and suits my sense of mark making.

In these first two photos the drawings are far more realistic that I would like but I enjoy seeing the contrast with drawings in the next couple of folios.  It has been a good excercise to start drawing again as I want to create two or three large drawings of musseander for our main living area.  Around our home I have many bushes of the white musseander (Capricorn Dream) flowering flamboyantly and they really are quite spectacular.  

These drawings are more bold and will be a benchmark for the late drawings.  I love that I will be able to use both sides of the film as a drawing and mark making platform.

Now that I have begun work back in the studio and my mind is racing with ideas, I wonder if I will find time each week to work on anything other than the book, which is my commitment!  I will make time.

Books 1 and 2 for 2018.  Am certainly not going to make too many larger books.  I am pleased to think that towards the end of January, four books will exist that were not planned and prepared for.  By the end of February there will be eight!  I will need to make a few books in advance as we are away much of February and I need to keep up the momentum.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

2018 and 52 books to make .....

I have been sitting here for an age trying to remember how to write a blog post now that I have finally found myself here ....... nearly had to 'phone a friend' but eventually I found my way.

Happy New Year to any of my fellow bloggers who still follow me and any who find their way through to 'tracemarks'.  To say I have missed my 'tribe' is an understatement but over the last couple of years it has seemed too difficult to find anything to write about, create or share.  Amongst many things I was pondering towards the end of last year, was a way to motivate myself back into the studio and I came up with the idea of a 'book a week'.  It seems manageable when I think that my commitment is really just to make a book a week - it doesn't actually mean I have to have artwork or any substance to the work.  I just have to make a book.  Of course as I have spent years and years making artist's books it is unlikely that any of the books I make will not at least try to stand up on that shelf ....

This is my first effort and it came about by thinking that I would like to make a book about thoughts for the New Year and what it could hold .... not necessarily resolutions but notes or reminders perhaps.  

And so the first of my books has been made, out of tea bags, into a simple concertina framework.  I decided that the spine would be as deep as the pages as I liked the symmetry that gave the book and that each page would actually be two separate pouches into which I could place messages to myself as the year progressed.  

Some years ago I bought three beautiful A4 sheets of tea bag paper in a favourite paper shop of mine in Paris.  It seemed almost sacrilegious to then cut up these sheets though I did and then started trying to work out what I wanted to do with the pages/pouches.

I played with the idea of using gorgeous little decked edge cards (again bought in Paris) and although I preferred the look of the teabag paper with the white inserts, I decided the book was becoming more and more complex which is really not my style at all.  In fact I am not sure that this book is actually my style but with only a a few days each week to come up with an idea and then work it to a conclusion there is not much time for all my usual deliberation.  The book had to be made.

My sewing machine blew up as I began to sew my first pouch and as such I knew that I would have to sew it all by hand.  As it turned out, I think I rather prefer the irregularity of my hand stitching.  I have only just begun sending messages to myself and the first couple that went into pouches were feathers - a reminder to me of how much I love the outdoors and how it feeds my soul to go wandering.

I played with a couple of my wooden stamps collected in London and into this pouch I hope to have a list of things I wish to accomplish this year.  This and that and that and that ........

 Into one of the other pouches though not photographed here, I wrote my word for the year which is 'nourishing'.  I hope to nourish my creative self this year and I hope to find that this restored balance within me will enable me to nourish those around me too.

I have already begun work on my book for next week - a little more like me and though I may not finish all its content in time, I will certainly have made book 2/52 by the end of next week.

Now I am back on line I will make sure I find time to wander and visit with fellow blogging friends, see all the exciting things that have been happening in the studios of your corner of the world.  Can't wait :-)