Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Ok, I really like the idea of having one or two common elements to our group work. This unites us as a project, and gives us some sort of framework upon which to build over time.

Firstly, someone suggested an A5 format -- or no bigger than A5 for this piece. This is a nice size, and of course will be tweaked and pushed by those who like to work 3-dimensionally (you know who you are :)), and if we stick to it, allows potential collectors of our work to collate the books neatly if they so desire! Of course, we may not stick to this size for the next piece, if we get that far (of course we will!), but it's a precedent, and opens up discussion for size next time.

Next, it would be great for everyone to include a colophon, and I'll outline what that means, even if, as I said in the comments a few posts down, it is telling you how to suck eggs (mind you, I don't know how to suck eggs... do you?).

A colophon is the artist's book equivalent of the copyright page in a novel. It should, at the very least, contain the *printed* name of the artist (as opposed to an undecipherable signature) and the year the book was made. If more complex, it should contain the title, materials, place of making, any acknowledgements, etc. In a novel, the copyright page is at the start of the book, after the title page, but traditionally in an art book, the colophon is at the back of the book -- on the last page, or incorporated into the cover. It's best to have the information attached to the book itself rather as a loose sheet or label that might be separated from the book at some point.

I say this because I constantly look at really beautiful and interesting books produced over the years and archived at the art school where I work -- and I have NO IDEA who made them...

I've only just started planning my book, and I plan to start making it SOON. I always plan a colophon space at the outset, because it's so important. Many of my less formal books have very perfunctory colophons, and that's because up to recently I haven't taken them very seriously. I'm taking this one seriously, and this is what I've come up with:

Learning Absences, 1986

A poem by Rosemary Dobson, from her Collected Poems (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1991), reproduced by arrangement with the licensor, Rosemary Dobson, c/- Curtis Brown (Aust) Pty Ltd.

Book design and production by Ampersand Duck: handset letterpress and [...] on Kozo Light washi, handbound.

This book is part of Book Art Object, 2009

[underneath I'll sign and write the edition number: unique/ 1 of 3, whatever -- see below]

I think it's very important to ensure that '1986' is obviously part of the title, and not mistaken for the publication date. The tricky thing with this poem is that it's one of her 'uncollected' collected poems (it wasn't published before the Collected), so there's no definitive date for it other than the publication of the Collected volume.

I've also included the URL for the blog, because while I'd like to explain the project in more detail, I'd rather let others do the research if they're interested! It's probably something you can leave out if you don't want to be too wordy. And as you can see, I haven't quite decided how to produce my images yet!

Feel free to use exactly my words (changing the bit about who made it and what the book is made from and with!), or re-write it your own way, but you do have to include the part about permission: 'reproduced by ... Pty Ltd.'

If you think the colophon should be different, let us know how in the comments. I'm very open to suggestions!

A question for discussion: are we making them all unique books, or can they be in small editions if desired? I'm thinking up to 5, but that's just because I tend to print in multiples since it's always easy to print them once I'm set up...


ronnie said...

great going duckie! - I really like the colophon you've drafted - and particularly the inclusion of the blog address - what a great idea

I've started to 'play' with ideas for the project (and I must post a few pics of my working bits - my 'models' are guaranteed to give all you booky folk a real belly laugh!)

As I've been playing with ideas - I can say with reasonable confidence that I expect my book will be a response to the poem - as opposed to a rendition - so I think I might write 'a response to (then go into the colophon as drafted) does that sound ok?

I have been working under the assumption that we are making a small edition (be that of multiples - or very similar unique books...) I've decided to make about 12 or 15 ..... so that I have enough for each book-art-object creature (and I'm not sure if that number is nine or ten?....self included) and the others I'll have as stockpiled future gifts!

well better get back to it - I have another booky thing to make before I get properly into this project.... and some more seeds to plant in the vege patch


Ampersand Duck said...

Ooh! I didn't realise we were all getting a copy... excellent if that's the plan. Don't underestimate the chance of someone deciding to collect us as a group, so maybe an extra 5? If we are ten, then a standard edition of 15 sounds sensible.

If you are hesitant about editioning, or your book is too complex to edition, let us know and we can work out some sort of protocol. Maybe you document the unique book and we get copies of the documentation to package with the others?

Using the words 'response to' is fantastic -- because, of course, that's what this project is all about, isn't it? If we decide to work with a novel next year, it would be a bit hard to reproduce, wouldn't it?

SCB said...

Each participant getting a copy of everyone else's books is definitely part of the plan! I've done this with print exchanges and it's lovely to have the full set to look back on, and it's a great reward for all your hard work. I'm very happy to produce more than 9 (which was 8 participants + 1 full set for exhibition), and 12 or 15 is a workable number...

Thanks for the colophon, dear Duck! It's great and you're quite right to think of it. I will sign and number each book under the text.

And just to say, too, that if the December 4th deadline is too soon for some people to work towards then we could instead aim to have the editions complete in the New Year and submit a full set to the Southern Cross Artists' Book Awards in July. I'm not hinting, I just don't want people to feel really pressured because this is supposed to be fun!

Have fun! Sara x

Ida said...

Thanks Duck. I can always improve on my egg sucking skills!! And this is one less thing I have to think about.

I must admit the project is both exciting and intimidating at the same time. I plan on making 15 'unique' books. lol. If that makes sense.

My idea is a folded book(A5) of minature lino prints (glyph style) and stitching. Sort of a response to the hugely visual impact the poem had on me. Like ronnie i am planning to put some drawdings/photos/mock ups on my blog SOON.

Because of the stitching on each book, I envisage that my set of 15 will take a while to finish. I can definitely meet the deadline of 3rd December for the competition set. I suppose what i'm asking is whether people will be upset if they don't get their copy of my book until into next year? Do we want to set a date for completion of the whole set.

Jane A

dinahmow said...

Thankyou, Duck. And, like Ronnie, I am working on something which is not the poem.I was saying "inspired by" but I think "in response to" sounds less grandiose. Thanks, Ronnie.

Should we include a copy of the poem, for benefit of folk who may not have read it? Or just make them do the legwork?

Sara, I did think of suggesting holding this over when I read about your builders.I'd be close to strangling someone!I'll go with the majority decision.

Ampersand Duck said...

I don't think you need to include the poem, as long as you mention what the poem is & who by. If we're looked at as a group, the poem will be in some books -- definitely mine, anyway -- and if they are looked at separately, it will send that person off to the text! Again, if we respond to a novel, they'll have to do the legwork anyway :)

Amanda said...

I've been holding off replying because I'm not sure how I'm going!

Have I been doing lots towards the book? Yes!
Will I need more time? Quite possibly!
Could I put something together for the purposes of an image for the Libris entry? Hopefully!
(Remind you of anyone?)

I'm wondering how many images we need as a group entry? The Artspace website doesn't cover us at all. It says up to 5 jpgs, but that wouldn't even be 1 per book for us. I'm a think I can provide a photograph that looks the part in a month's time, but it might involve a little "close cropping" or something. I was wondering what other people think? I wouldn't want to be the only one that held the group back tho!

As for the colophon - it's fine with me. I always include one. My book is "in response" to the poem too.

BTW, I've just posted my first blog entry about this work over at mine.

Carol said...

I think I'm going to be struggling to get my book ready to photograph by the deadline and I'm tempted at the thought of the Southern Cross rather than the Libris. At the same time I feel a bit of a wimp to be saying this and it certainly goes against the grain to give in, but just at the moment I feel life has overtaken me. If everyone wants to stick with the Libris date then I'll go along with that and it will probably be good for my soul - or something.