Monday, 29 October 2012

finding the storyline .....

Although I felt a little like 'the doggy in the window' over the weekend at the Maleny Celebration of Books, I did find it worth while being there - especially on the Saturday when more people were out and about.  I sat outside Maleny Additions who were featuring my artist's books and journals.  The display was beautiful and I was delighted by many comments. Because most of my books in the shop were not opened up, only the covers were visible.  Even so, they still were of interest to a number of visitors which was pleasing.  It was good to be there speaking with passersby about the book as a vehicle for artists' work.  Most of the people with whom I spoke were not artists but were very interested in learning how to make journals, books, for their own purposes ... photography, design portfolios, poetry etc.  I had my new mini moo cards ready to hand out with my blog and email details so I hope to hear from some of those who professed interest.

Sheila and Diedre who own the shop were in and out, crossing over as they attended various talks and also the Big Book Club.  Many smaller book groups held discussions and then they all came together as one huge book group.  Apparently this and the talks were very, very interesting.  I am sorry I missed out and next year will be way more interested in being in attendance that sitting on the street talking about artist's books.  I do think the exposure was wonderful, not just for me but for sharing an understanding with the public about what makes an artist's book - and the potential one can reach when you are able to create a book from scratch.

In between people coming to chat, I sat there working on my latest little book and seeing if it could tell me what it wanted to say. I found a story line that suits me beautifully.  It is about the journey I have taken over the last six years, looking for and finding my home.  Somewhere to belong.  There are some images below, my favourite is the one of the hill with my 'home' on the top.  This is the last page of the story.  I am actually contemplating writing in this book seeing it is a book to keep.  I am not yet sure if I will write around the edges of the bordering white paper or if I will scratch my writing onto the transparent paper. Uncertain about being that brave - words seem so ...... revealing!  I usually like my work to be more enigmatic. 

Friday, 26 October 2012

black to white .....

Sometimes when in the studio, you just have to laugh out loud. Creative work can sometimes have a completely different result from the one you had in mind.  Over the last couple of days I have been preparing an artist's book - not complete it,  but have it there over the weekend in Maleny to show passersby the processes involved in putting together an artist's book.

I had in mind to do a black book as I had these yummy 'bits' of happenstance into which I thought I would work.  Keep it all black and white, black covers, black ink overlaying the images - dictating what they should be, or at least suggesting to the viewer a storyline.

The more I prepared this book, the more obvious it was to me that in fact it is a white book and that I would be using white ink, graphite and transparent paper into which I could scratch.  Quite a gentle book in fact.  It will be interesting to see if it stays that way!  Once again it is about my sense of place, or belonging.  I seem to have that in the forefront of many of my ideas of late and I think it is because I am now so happily settled in this new home and have been carving out of it a sense of belonging ........  

This will be familiar to those who saw my post on our land and our STEEP stairs and tracks!

Have not really decided on a direction for these images .... hope to be inspired tomorrow.

Monday, 22 October 2012

standing stones .....

One of the things I most enjoy about the three dimensional aspect of these prints is the way the light plays with the surfaces, teases out the folds and hides in shadows.  This doesn't seem to happen as much with the two dimensions.

I am finishing these off now as they head over to Maleny soon for my little exhibition - or display really.  I will be over there in the street though for two days explaining to the public 'what makes an artist's book' and also doing some demonstrations.  Apparently some of the authors who are in Maleny for the Celebration of Books will be in the street talking to passers by as well, signing their books I imagine and explaining their creative processes.  I enjoy that side of things - explaining the process. Most people have no idea how much work goes into printmaking, nor indeed into artist's books.

Standing Stones .... I like this grouping as a triptych 

couldn't resist some piercing for texture

If any of you are in Maleny over the weekend please come by and say hello - the display runs from Friday this week till about Tuesday next week. I am only going to be there on Saturday and Sunday from about 10am till 2pm - or a little later if people are wandering by and looking interested!

waiting for finishing touches 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

bookplates - tick .....

Package for posting
Book plates are done - 40 of them.  Am off to the post office now.  Thank goodness for Express Post - they are due tomorrow!  Really looking forward to seeing what the other 29 artists have done with theirs.  We then all receive a Solander Box containing the 30 book plates, tipped and mounted separately. Ten sets are then for sale and apparently a few have sold already. The project has been designed and co-ordinated by Wim de Vos and Gael Phillips.

We have been asked to send down the etching plates as well as these will all be displayed at the Artist's Book Exhibition at The Studio in West End later in November.  I will be submitting some of my books in the exhibition as well which will be fun.

Stage 1 - embossing and paint to come

Detail of etchings

Embossings and red paint give the lift which was needed

Monday, 15 October 2012

Almost ready .....

It has been a really busy time in the studio and my standing stories are taking shape.  Had a meeting with Sheila from Maleny Additions on Friday, who is promoting me as a book artist during the Maleny Celebration of Books and converting her shopfront into a showcase of my work.  What a privilege. I will be there over the celebration weekend talking about my books and showing various techniques of book making and binding.  I am planning to start a little teaching again next year and so this will be a great opportunity to see what interest is about.

I am quietly excited about these standing stories - all of these are part of my 'short stories' - nothing over about 80cms.  They are all printed with etchings and embossings.  As yet they are not stuck down as I am contemplating a few with stitching.  I prefer the 'keep it simple' principle but I do want to have a play.  After all, these are just the first ideas - plenty more to come.  These are only two of my stories 'Winter' and 'The Seasons' but by the time I exhibit I hope to have my abstract story done, my kite flying and standing stones done.  Depends how time pans out.  The next couple of days I need to dedicate to the printing of my fourty bookplates.  They are due by Friday.

As you can see, I have ventured from my very earthy palette into brighter tones - autumnal and harmonious but still way brighter than I usually work.  Must say I am loving the rich reds and ochres, even the purples.

More work to be done so once again, a post on the run.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

next story - seasons .....

For the last couple of days I have been working on another 'story' - another standing story.  Below are the starting points, sugar lift, fine line etching and some open biting.

Starting to get an idea, or ideas, of how I will print these.  I am cutting out an embossing which will need to be larger than size of paper on which I will print and the embossings will represent summer.  I didn't think that four different styles of etching would look good together so will keep summer, the brightest of the seasons, the most subtle with embossing instead of print.

The introduction of colour in the 'spring' plate works well I think.  All looks a little autumnal at present so will need to try in some other colour ways.

Now I am waiting impatiently for the etching ink to dry so that I can sculpt my story. May not be able to do so until later this week. I keep folding my work before it is dry and getting dirty inky marks all over the print!

Monday, 8 October 2012

short stories and my new best friend .....

I have been taking time in the studio whenever I have been able to this last week and now have a couple of weeks where I can probably find four or five days a week.  Thrilling.  And tiring - forget just how involved the etching process can be and how easy it is to mess up a lovely piece of copper.

I am pleased with this 'short story' though and have tried printing it in different colour ways.  I have yet to stick them down as I am going to experiment with some stitching which I hope will add to the design rather that complicate it.

Printed vertically, these etching plates remind me very much of landscape and bare winter trees.  When I was playing with the blending colour, I printed a couple of the plates horizontally and they look exactly like weathered  tree trunks and dry branches.  Had I intended to etch weathered trunks I probably could not have reached a result that I have now serendipitously!  Very pleased about that as I can then match with other plates or embossings and tell a different short story.

These are printed on Lanaquarelle 100% cotton paper, hot pressed, 300 gsm and I think I prefer it to the Arches Moulin du Gue -  though each different printmaking paper will have its own application.

Introducing my new best friend ... A gorgeous embosser that I had made and am addicted to already.  The minute it arrived I started embossing everything to hand.  "seb" - susan elizabeth bowers -  is my studio name and logo as well.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

standing stories .....

My dear friend Fiona came up with the idea of calling this series I am working on 'Standing Stories' rather than book totems.  I am completely delighted with the idea as it gives me room to create 'tall stories' and 'short stories' and so forth.

I have had a busy day in the studio working on etching plates and muddling through story concepts.  This is the basic form of a 'story' though I think this lends itself to sewing through the paper - echoing suggestions of landform or tree bark.  Haven't decided yet but printed a few in different arrangements so that I might play once they are dry and ready for sculpting. Printed one with blended colour which has come up well too. 

Too tired to have much to say - the process is very long winded.  But fun.

Monday, 1 October 2012

mock up - not muck up

This is the beginning of what I hope will be an ongoing series of sculptural books, or book totems - really haven't coined the name for these yet.

I am part of the Maleny Celebration of Books week in late October and am contributing a selection of my artist's books for display in the Library which Fiona is organising and has mentioned in her recent post.  As well as this I have been asked to do a window display of my books in Maleny Additions whose owners are involved in the Celebration of Books project and have a very beautiful shop in the middle of Maleny.  

Although many of my books do open up and stand quite sculpturally, I have been trying to come up with a marketable idea for the shop, and also one that may be kick started by being part of my display.  I wanted something in the way of books that looked very three dimensional and yet remained true to my passion for paper and for telling stories.  What I have come up with is these book sculptures.  I am working on dozens of ideas for etchings on them, either printed horizontally or vertically and each one telling a slightly different story.  Once I have gone through the process of making all the plates, I will have the fun of printing in various colours and stories.  For the shop I am envisaging these to be no taller than 70 cms and ranging down to about  40 cms.  Each one is sculpted differently.

The photos below are very much of the work in progress - I made a mock up of a grouping (using one etching plate only)  just to see if what I had in my mind's eye was going to work as a concept.  Now that I can see them in the studio standing tall, I am quite excited and am busy designing and etching numbers of plates.  I am starting with these smaller ones, but I have copper plates and rolled paper which will allow me to work on a larger scale and I would love to do some pieces that stand on the floor and are large enough to make an impression.

I am a great lover of the abstract image but seeing that I am also thinking of these along a commercial line, I will also be making some of my designs more easily understandable and hopefully marketable!

Though these details only show one print and some embossing and hand marking, I will be using a number of etching plates on each piece.  Further plans will be to use them in installations with perspex and lighting but small steps first .....