Sunday, February 27, 2011

Southern Cross University Acquisitive Artists' Book Awards

Blogger's playing funny buggers today and I can't edit things the way I usually do, nor can I post photos so I'm a bit limited. I decided to report on the SCU Artists' Book Awards on my Double Elephant blog (which, since I can't put the hyperlink into this post is at

Sadly, as you will read on the other blog, we didn't make the cut for acquiring work, but the reasons why are quite interesting and raised several questions in my mind about artists' books generally as well as selection processes, personal preference and 'value'!

Contrary to appearances (given my rant over on Double Elephant) I really enjoyed our trip up to Lismore. Not only did I get several hours' worth of uninterrupted conversation with my husband, I also got to see lots of lovely artists' books. Once Blogger is playing ball again I'll post the photos! Meanwhile, a big hello to Fiona whom I met at the opening, and also a hello to the several people I also met who are ardent fans of what we're doing in BAO. I started the project as a purely selfish way of making connections - artistic, literal and literary - and it's exceeded my expectations all the way around! It seems we have created something of value in the world of artists' books: something that is being talked about and examined. If only I'd known we were being watched I'd have tried more ways to get us involved at the Impact conference in Melbourne in September. As it is, neither Ronnie nor I have heard anything about the paper/exhibition we applied for, so we'll just have to keep on crossing our fingers. A little bird told me yesterday that Monash staff hope to have it all sorted out in a week or two.

Since this is a blog about making artists' books by book artists from around the world, I'd love to see more conversation here about what an artists' book IS. Have a read of my post over at Double Elephant and chip in! I look forward to finding out what you think...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

right away... friends!

It doesn’t happen very often while visiting a huge city, to meet someone you’ve never met before and end up spending a great time over lunch talking (among other things) about artists’ books, art, BAO and all sorts of other BAO related things…

Well, it happened to me last Saturday when while in New York, I met another BAO member visiting this part of the world, had lunch at a full of character restaurant, chatted to no end, and when we said goodbye feeling as if we knew each other for ever!

My new friend is Diane and I wish her a very safe and comfortable flight back home!

I also wish someday, somehow, somewhere… to meet more of the wonderful BAO group people in real life!

Warmest greetings from cold New York to all!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Library of Alexandria

Looks like the new library of Alexandria is being protected by the people of Egypt during the unrest.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

behind the scenes...

on my completed edition's production!

I hope everyone in the Art and Lies group has received the package carrying my “response” to Winterson’s text. As I promised on an earlier post, here is the how and why in conceptualizing and designing my response:
light and darkness in the legendary Great Library of Alexandria
The works housed in the Great Library represent the brilliant light of knowledge, wisdom, education. Slavery, cruelty and disrespect for fellow beings, the cruel truth of child labour  represent the darkness, the excruciating pain felt by the abused through the ages.
Based on the emotions generated by reading the text and the memory of all references associated with the Library of Alexandria and the lost texts of the ancient Greece’s greats heard too often in school, the decision on the form, shape, colour and content of my structure was reached –I believe- on my subconscious all at once, rather suddenly and solidly concrete.
Here is a visual presentation of the steps taken to assemble and produce the edition of my response to Jeanette Winterson’s masterful lines of text.
my paste papers drying on the floor, text being printed on a sheet with archival ink, folding...
folding, cutting completed - back side attached
unlined and lined pieces being pressed
folded, closed, with "sleeve" on: front and back

materials, processes
concertina structure with cut out and pop out details
Rives BFK paste painted with acrylics, text printed with archival pigmented inks
black Canford | cotton thread | PVA | natural twine rope
traces of Greek text from the Law Code of Gortyn, c. 450 BCE, Crete

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Glyph Archive Book - finally getting somewhere

Me again. Finally got into the studio today and I am so excited! I love it when ideas just come together in the studio, its just such a magic place for me.

So after deliberating over using clay, fimo, etc... to make an inscribed tablet, and not being able to make my mind up over what book structure to use, and worrying about not being able to live up to the other amazing BAO artist's standards, and spending time in my studio surrounded by all my 'stuff' I suddenly thought to myself "What are you doing?! Do what you enjoy! Make what you like to make, what you find interesting, what you are passionate about! Make an ARCHIVE!"
It is a text about a library after all...

Now these images are of what I have been doing today in my studio. This is a mock up, a run through, a solid sketch. I needed to make what was in my head to see if it actually was going to work. I am not only very happy that this will work now, but also very excited about the whole thing. I mean imagine totally making up an archive....15 times, and making it look the same! It is going to be so much fun! 


Monday, February 7, 2011

More thoughts - Glyph Ladder book

I'm still on the drawing board so to speak. Update:
Important Parts:

  • Ladder
  • Inscriptions - Glyphs; the evolution of the written word

An accordion structure with a cut through and a tablet of clay inscription set into the back 'page' so when closed it comes through to the cover? What if the tablet was a ladder with the inscription on it?

Maybe the ladder is the book!


Clay and postage generally do not mix; but what if I use Fimo? This tends to be a little more hardy.... anyone out there used Fimo recently? Does it post well?! Any other suggestions?

(and please excuse my rough sketches/notes as usual!)

Saturday, February 5, 2011


In the less frenetic moments of my day, say...when it's too icy to go walkabout.Or late at night, when it's too dicey to go walkabout...

...I wander around my laptop. And when I came across this site I knew there would be some BAO people who'd love it.* After so many clicks and links, I forget exactly where I first saw it. Possibly somewhere like Green Chair or Spike. But also possibly from the Guardian, since I do still read that sometimes.

Now I'm wondering whether I need to add blow torches to my arsenal. So far, my most pyromanic approach has involved candle stubs and incense sticks. Time to move up?

A couple of pics of some of the folding and snipping (and, yes, swearing!) that I've been doing...

Folding strips of newsprint...

...from the NY Times.

Now, where did I put that wine glass...?

*Unless you don't "do" spiders!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

.... another landing...

Cyclone Yasi made landfall overnight way way wayyyy to the north of sams creek (but did all the rest of you aussie booky folk spend a restless night like me thinking about friends and folk bracing for impact? gosh I can't imagine it!)

something else much more welcomed made landfall here....

yep its Anna's WONDERFUL response to 'art and lies'

and no, I'm not going to spoil the surprise for others still waiting for their copy to arrive - only to say I love your version anna - the look, the feel, the format, the restrained palette, the presentation...


what a lovely piece

thanks for joining in and adding your voice to this bunch - it's been delightful getting to 'know' you and your work in this arena... and GREAT to receive your little gem


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Books have Landed

I got up early this morning to get a head start on the driving in cooler temperatures. Although I'm pretty good in the heat and humidity up here (I have to look at the condensation on our cool room door in order to identify when it's humid, in fact, while the rest of the family sweats!) driving in hot weather isn't one of my favourite things. Loaded up with eight books from BAO Edition One and my own individual entry I did a run up to Southern Cross University's Visual Arts department in time for the Friday deadline for receipt of entries. Thanks everyone for posting your books to me! (Angela, yours hasn't arrived yet so I substituted 'my' copy as we discussed).

The journey time is about 3 hours each way, but the route is beautiful: up Red Hill out of Coffs Harbour and on to the back road to Nana Glen, then Glenreagh, Grafton, Casino and finally Lismore. I've done the journey a number of times over the last few years, usually to join Tim Mosely for one of his Codex projects but Tim's away for a while now so I didn't manage to catch up with him. I love the back route: almost no traffic, and most of it quiet through miles and miles of native forest...

On the way back I felt I deserved a coffee and as my usual stop at the roadhouse in Whiporlie was closed I thought myself justified in dropping into Grafton Regional Gallery for refreshments and a squiz at their current exhibitions. And it was great! Enough caffeine to get me home in one piece and a travelling exhibition from the MGA of some of Bill Henson's early photographs and Julie Barratt's Hankie Project, in which our very own Duck featured. I was a bit sad about that show because I missed the deadline for getting my own handkerchief back to Julie in time for selection. Whoops. But it was a fun one: lots of different takes on the subject, some humerous, some poignant, all full of meaning.

I really enjoyed the Henson exhibition. It wasn't large but it was beautiful and revealing. There was series of photographs of one young man, naked but not voyeuristic. It reminded me of those late medieval (and later) paintings of Christ being taken down from the cross: there was the same bony ribcage and thin legs, pale skin and a drawn expression - not that the young man in Henson's photographs looked gaunt as such (or indeed dead)... but there was a stillness and detachment in his expression that I found moving. It was really interesting to see how Henson's more recent and controversial photographs have developed out of that early work: there seemed to me to be an interest in de-contextualising the sitters so that you had to read their expressions in isolation, and the exhibition notes talked about Henson then arranging the photographs in groups, giving them a different context. I'll stop boring on about it! I have no idea where the exhibition goes next but if you get the chance to catch it I think it's worth going. Oops, I also want to say how much I liked the boy's face (above). From the other side of a room the photograph looks very severe which is partly to do with how it is cropped, but from close-to you can see subtle variations in tone and a velvety richness that reminded me of a mezzotint rather than a photograph. If you'd told me in the catalogue that it was a mezzotint I would have believed you, both before and after looking at it. My photo is pathetically bad but Henson's original is magic.

progress (but not as we know it)

Its been hot here at the creek today

mighty mighty (more than 40C) hot

so of course I started working on one of my BAO projects (of course.....)

I call this - 'sweaty paper wrestling'.....

I'm basically thinking with my fingers (as usual) 
and given the heat and humidity, that means making a moist mess!....

but at least by trying out ideas with left-over bits and bobs I can see how my idea may hold up..... 

hmmmmm - I've got some more thinking through making to be done...

and my solo exhibition to get under control
(T-minus 17 days and counting..... oh boy - where has the time flown?)