Wednesday, 21 February 2018

7/52 'yellow language' .....

Sometimes the photographs we take of the 'thing' we make are far more interesting than the actual book or object.  That is the case here.  I love some of the photographs but the little books was one made whilst away as a 'must do' rather than I wish to make a book about this or for this.

The small yellow etchings are cut down from an etching I printed for part of the series I worked on called 'the art of language'.  I was experimenting with colour, which I very rarely do.  The beautiful marbled paper was bought in New Zealand and I have been waiting to use it in some manner.  The main reason I made this book was that I had just finished a large project designing and making a wedding album/artists' book and had sewn it with this single section coptic binding.  It had been ages since I had sewn a book this way - especially using ten needles, and half the way through I realised that I was not going to have enough thread to finish the binding.  Frustrating.  For those who know this binding, you will remember that there is nowhere to add in any thread.  Not so with this smaller version where I made absolutely sure I had enough thread and I was only using five needles with a small book so it was not nearly as complicated.  

Sunday, 11 February 2018

6/52 'snow on the mountains' .....

This is the smallest of the books I have made thus far , only about 8 x 10cms.  I have had a fairly busy week but as I have committed to making a book a week I am allowing myself latitude with complexity, or lack thereof, when I only have time to do something simple.  So this little concertina book was born, made from a pen and ink drawing of mine from a few years back which has just been sitting around in one of my many 'desk piles'.  You can see a few 'snow' marks here on the page above.  I think I stopped at that page envisioning that I would do an overlay of snow fall though never did.  One day I may include that in the book but I am already having to think about a book for next week!

Nothing precious about this little book other than I think it works quite neatly folded and only revealing snippets of the drawing at a time.  That quintessential element we love about the book format where only a little is revealed with any one glimpse.

Monday, 5 February 2018

5/52 'hard to read' .....

I had fun with this book - my fifth for the year.  It is a very simple concertina book where I have sewn into the valleys on both sides.  What makes it special for me is that I am using the letraset which my father had used when he practised architecture.  Long before the time of computers.  Many pages in the bundle I have are stuck together, many of the letters have been used and only their rubout marks are left on the papers - all this making it 'hard to read'.

Here you can see more easily how I have sewn into the valleys.  I particularly like the few pages I found with the large block script though not much of it was in the bundle.  It adds weight to the design of the book I think.

Where I joined papers to give  myself a longer concertina, I have used some of  the letraset as a spine.
Sometimes I think the simplest books can be the most interesting.  I am not making a cover for this though I will make a perspex slip case for it at some stage.

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.