Friday, 30 March 2018

13/52 'stone stories' .....

This wee book started as a 'book of small drawings' but before I knew it, I had  done six or seven little conte drawings and a similar number with pen and ink rounded down as stones and as they all seemed to hang well together I adapted a few of the drawings and turned this into a book titled 'stone stories'.   For many years I worked towards a body of imagery to do with 'the art of language' so it is not surprising to me that my doodles ended this way.  Do stones speak ..... they do to me.  As do trees.  Of course not in any linguistic reality but I often think there is more than just a connection which can pass between us and the natural world,  that somehow there is conversation of a sort.

There are eight pages in this book and I drew on both sides.  As such there is no cover which is something I quite like about artists' books.  I find that my books often lack a formal binding or cover but just start straight into the story.  Most often these were then housed in a perspex box and though I no longer make my perspex boxes, I am pretty certain this book will be made some protective cover or envelope.  I have sprayed with fixative but it is thickly layered with charcoal/french conte and it keeps shedding!

 As these pages were individual and not folded I sewed the book with a single page coptic binding wit black linen thread.

The year is marching by - thirteen weeks already and now Easter is upon us ..... so soon after New Year.  Or so it seems when we have such an early Easter.  I hope you all enjoy your break and keep safe if travelling or camping.

Monday, 26 March 2018

12/52 'dark landscape' .....

How wonderful to return to 'the dark side'!  My books of late seem to have taken me much further into the light than I am used to with my work and it felt really good to take hold of some of my darker, more obscure work and turn it into my twelfth book for the year.

There is something very simple and wonderful in making a book with no sewing - a folded book.  I remember learning this simple technique many many years ago in a workshop with Keith Smith and although I use it sparingly, I do like it.  This method is a fun and easy one to make with children.

 The book is 'readable' by turning the pages and looking at each section solely or by opening it out flat and seeing the whole story.  By sheer nature of the intimacy of artists' books, I prefer seeing the small steps, part of the story, the slow reveal - the larger image broken down into small intriguing moments.

Hopefully when you open this particular style of book into its two dimensional version, the fragments coalesce to form a satisfying whole.

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!