Monday, February 27, 2012

Remaining titles and comments

Dear All,

Only a few titles remain! Just so you know what's available, here's a list:

#2 Another Old Lady
#14 Oil
#23 Young Offenders
#25 The World Turns
#26 197 Years
#44 Security
#52 Silicon Valley
#61 Can you pin your hopes on?
#62 Vindication
#68 Just like the movies
#72 The spoiler
#82 Painting by numbers
#90 True grit
#98 Deirdre

And by the way, I've had to switch word verification back on again... sorry! As blog "owner" I'm the lucky duck who gets the spam email comments, and the numbers have SOARED since I switched it off, so apologies if you find the captcha software annoying but I don't want this blog targeted by spammers as it will put people off from reading it and I don't think any of us want that.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

As if you needed an incentive...

but just in case you do, I'm happy to say that Sarah Bodman is so chuffed with us all making books in response to her book that she's emailed me to say she's going to print 100 copies of her latest downloadable book and send one to each of us when we send her our books at the end of Edition Four! By the way - all but 14 titles have now been taken, and we're still receiving the occasional enquiry.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Barbara Simler (Edition 4, Group 3) -- Introduction

I signed up for the title "ghosts", and have been having a fine time reading up on the subject: Victorian spirit photography, sightings of ghosts, old graveyards, the Oxford English Dictionary definitions of the word "ghost", various drawings and photos of ghosts, and so forth. Where has it gotten me? Well, I have various sketches and doodles, and a fascinating collection of old photos.

Also, an idea that might possibly work for my contribution to group 3. This is my first time doing an edition -- most of my bookworks have been one of a kind books, so thinking in terms of an edition tied my brain up in knots a bit. I came up with a few ideas, but they were generally too elaborate to do as an edition. And the ideas that seemed simple enough weren't all that interesting. Also, there was an extended fixation on doing an accordion book, even though in the back of my mind I knew this was not going to be an accordion book. In other words, the usual preliminary muddles. But now I think I know what direction I'm going to go in, and how it fits the overall idea behind Edition 4. More details about that later....

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rachel Marsden (Group 1) - Introduction

Ni hao! Hello from China and apologies for my delayed introduction. I'm Rachel, I'm 28 and I live in Shanghai, originally from Stafford, UK. (I feel like I'm introducing myself on a TV game show.) I wear many creative hats (as such)...I'm currently in my third year of PhD study into the translation through interpretation of contemporary Chinese art in the West since 1980, specifically the idea of a "transcultural" curator...I'm a freelance curator and arts writer...I lecture in Visual Arts at an art and design academy here in Shanghai...finally, and most importantly, I'm a book artist, bookbinder and paper-maker where, through the use of text, photographic documentation and audience response, I investigate notions of archiving and repetitious actions, such as typing and printing, lexicality and translation, memory, obsession and experience, by exploring the role of the artist as a curator, and participants as collaborators.

I'm very lucky to be able to pass my bookbinding skills onto others, internationally, through my work out here and, at the same time, be inspired by Eastern methods of the same art. I'm excited to be part of BAO, part of Group One with my chosen title 'Number 43'. So far, thematics and concepts are coming together as to how my book might develop. All I know is that it will be very different to anything I've made before due to the cultural contexts I am now working within, and that it will be constructed from handmade paper and typewriter text, no doubt referencing my day-to-day experiences in China in an archival way. One last thing...I blog about my adventures in China if any of you want to find out more about what I do. Very much looking forward to seeing projects unfold whilst exchanging with my fellow BAO group members and the project as a whole!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Second book – Jac

I’ve signed up for a second title - ‘Where the dead live’ (group 10).

To me, the dead live initially in the memories of those that knew them. But later as these people also become memories they live on in the things they left behind. This could be a name on a gravestone, the ruin of a house they once lived in, an artefact in a museum or junk shop.... The pictures and stories we see and tell about them may be no more than conjecture and imagination but while we do there is still some trace of the original person left.

I spend quite a bit of time photographing and drawing in ruins and cemeteries so for me this is the obvious starting point. As usual I’ve got more than one idea floating around.

The first grew out of time spent at St John’s in the Vale, near Ingleton. My husband and son go climbing nearby, I go drawing and watch the bees, butterflies and birds. It’s a very small, old country church with a beautiful graveyard, not overgrown but not too manicured either.

I have this vague idea about combining inscriptions and memories with regeneration/life cycles perhaps using different weights of paper, possibly transparent or translucent papers, interleaving other print methods with etchings.
I’ve started to experiment with etching and using different resists ( if you want more detail it’s on my blog). I’m not completely happy with it but I’ve learned a lot.

The second train of thought came out of time spent in the town cemetery of Argeles sur Mer. I love the small mausoleums that French families used (and still do in some cases) – almost houses for the dead! I started a set of work based on these last year but thought, apart from me, who’d want work based on such odd subject matter. So I shelved it.  Now I have the perfect excuse to go back and work on it some more.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vicki O'Shea: Ruminating

Whilst I haven't had much time at the moment for physical doing I have been thinking lots about the BAO book project. I have been allowing the title I am working with Other people, other rooms to just float in my head almost aimlessly to see where it will go, whenever my mind is free it pops up and I ruminate on it for a is never too far from the surface.

I have not put any pressure on coming up with a definitive plan, I don't like to have it all plotted out too decisively...I never create that way and like to allow the work to just evolve as I go is not always the smartest or fastest way to work but I do enjoy the meander. I know that each step will lead me to the next and I just trust that it will evolve as it should. At this stage there are three different perspectives of the title that I keep thinking about. Some more dominate than others.

The idea that I seem to ponder the most is from a psychological viewpoint. I see Other people, other rooms as parts of our psyche. The hidden parts of our persona that we conceal from others and even ourselves...the different people we are on the inside, in our own head, in the various interior spaces that make up who we truly are. I have in the past dreamed of being in a large rambling house that has secret rooms, Jungian philosophy suggests that this is about exploring our inner being.

As my work is usually about that which is invisible, the hidden parallel world that co exists with us but is hidden from view, another interpretation is via a paranormal lens, suggesting the space in between, the matter that cannot normally be perceived by the human senses, where other rooms exist, with other people and spaces from the past...left over energies that can be almost palpable but just out of reach.

The third thought is of a more literal sense but I can see its connections to the other two ideas. I live in a 3 level old 1952 post office which ceased to be a post office at the end of 2008. My personal living quarters is on the top floor and was where all the post masters and their families resided over the years. The ground/middle floor is where the public part of the post office was and the basement is where the storage and mail sorting areas were. It is a large building and a bit of a maze with all its rooms, many that interconnect and accessible from different ends of the building and others that are hidden spaces and rooms within rooms...the basement has 7 separate rooms and that does not include my studio space. I have been living here alone but definitely feel other presences and the previous life of the building within its walls. I am just about to start renovating the middle floor which will become two self catering studio style holiday apartments and so within my home there will soon literally be other rooms for other people.

Although the ideas are quite different I do like the fact that they can overlap with each other exploring the notion of the physical, the psychological and spiritual planes. In some way they will all play a role even if only in the initial pondering stages.

In view of the fact that I have not made many books I decided the structure needs to be fairly simple for this my very first edition. I wanted to have a form where parts were hidden or could be viewed only from a certain perspective. Initially I thought maybe a Jacobs ladder style book where you are not sure as to what page you will open up the book to. However the structure relies on ribbon or paper bands that I find interruptive and distracting.  So I have since been playing with the accordion fold and have come up with a very simple structure that I think will lend its self to the feeling I am trying to convey.

The structure consists of two narrow lengths of paper folded and stitched together to create a boxed in format...that I hope will allude to an interior space where there is no real access and viewing inside these pages is difficult and only by looking down and within.  I can make this larger with more 'rooms' if necessary...but at the moment I am just playing with the two lengths.

I haven't really thought much about the imagery as yet but that will evolve as I start making. I feel some or all imagery will be on the inside of the 'rooms' where it is not so accessible to view.  I had planned to create a few collagraph plates to experiment with some ideas last week but came upon an unexpected stumbling block. Iceland being the tiny place it is, one cannot expect always the availability of many items that one has been used to. So when I was at the hardware in Akureyri (2hr drive) before Xmas and stumbled across shellac flakes I was pleasantly surprised, however I did not dream that I would have trouble finding the solvent methylated far I have not been able to buy it in my little town and am on the hunt.

Click-jack away, click-jack away!

Not heard of this term? Well soon you might have first hand experience! I got back from my camping weekend to find an email from Sally, who wishes to participate in BookArtObject and had read my blog post on the space. I'd put in a link to this blog in my post, hoping to persuade another few people to pick a title: 84 out of Sarah Bodman's 100 titles have been taken so there are only 16 to go and we'll be producing artists books for them all!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, when Sally clicked on the link to she ended up somewhere completely different - I won't put the address in here as her browser correctly concluded it was a phishing website. That, my friends, is click-jacking, so beware... I've currently got a Support query active with the Ning site administrators and I will be interested to see what happens.

Meanwhile I thought you'd like an update; if you know anyone who would be interested in any of the remaining titles, please get them to email me (you are welcome to pass on my email address) or to submit a comment on this post and I will follow it up. And by the way, Sarah Bodman is flabbergasted that 84 of her titles are taken! I emailed her and her response was, "Wow, Sara that is amazing! It would be pretty wonderful to get to 100 but I am amazed that you have 84 people, this is fantastic!" so I think she's happy!

an aside...

dear BAO peeps

this is totally off-topic and off-hand so bear with me

yesterday another blogger handed me a little liebster award (you can check my post all about it )

and I have subsequently handed that little liebster off to all you guys here at BAO (in particular all the folk who I've exchanged book editions, blog comments and conversations with since BAO's inception)

BAO has proved to be a fabbo gathering point for book-minded folk and I hope that all the newest comers to the group have a terrific experience while making their Edition 4 projects

feel the love


ronnie (Edition 4 groups 3 and 11)


Monday, February 13, 2012

Question About Paper

Hello All,

When I saw this post on a blog I follow, I knew just where some of the best people to answer it are :) There are two helpful answers already, one from fellow BOAer Ronnie, but I thought I"d link to it here just in case someone had another idea.

Text Paper for Bookbinding in Australia?

Amy from Group 7, who still has to get around to an introduction post!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tara (Group 1) Making Bread

I wrote about my process/progress on my blog this morning; here's the link if you want to peek. I'll post sketches here when I have something reasonable- so far it's all scribbles.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gail Group 4 Pulp Fiction

I have just started working on my ideas for pulp fiction and have "almost" decided to limit the text to the word 'Fiction' produced in several different ways from casting, pulp painting watermark and a few others.

My thoughts are to sew these into a case/cover made from a 'sweet valley high' book. My daughter got carried away when she discovered Ebay and has bought hundreds of them, including several double-ups and they definitely can be described as pulp fiction!. My only concern is with the copyright considerations can I use the covers as is? Would it be more acceptable to gesso over the text or to make new covers?

The other thing I'm trying to work out is the size. The books are 10 cm wide by about 18 high. My first mockups are 5 x 10 cm and 6 x 10 cm but now I'm thinking bigger so that they'll be more like 10 x 16 cm I would get three per A4 page so not too many dips for 20 copies.

Flickr is Flickering

FYI, Flickr is having a little problem at the moment, hence the error message "Flickr Error: Invalid API Key (Key has expired)" you can see where our photostream ought to be. I THINK it's something they have to deal with instead of us, but I'm waiting for an email back from their Help Desk which may take a while. So in the meantime please don't try to upload photos to the group's Flickr photostream as I am not sure what will happen to them!

Michelle's progress - Group 5 "Three Ships"

After receiving the title, Three Ships, my mind instantly drifted to Ernest Shackleton's quasi-infamous lifeboats, the Stancomb Wills, Dudley Docker and James Caird. I like the idea of these small boats as protectors, as nomadic homes, as vessels in a literal and figurative sense. As a former academic librarian, I'm interested in archives and memory and am assembling a small faux archive on this theme, which will be contained in a clamshell box (I like to think of it as a small travel shrine or mariner's protective talisman). The shrines will house a multi-layered diorama, errata card, etc. I'll be printing these little shrines with photopolymer plates on one of the Vandercooks in my graduate program's studio...I'm sending out for the negatives today!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Helen Malone - Working on Structure

I had never read Milan Kundera's book The Unbearable Lightness of Being and my first response to the title That Unbearable Lightness was to think of vertigo - the light-headedness, the spinning sensation, the wobbly feeling, losing balance and falling over. After getting hold of the book, I was quite excited to discover a piece about vertigo, not the physical kind, but a psychological vertigo suffered by those whose goal is to attain 'something higher' but who are inevitably tempted and lured to fall into the emptiness below. I liked the idea of combining these physical and psychological aspects of vertigo.

I always love it when the subject matter lends itself to using structure as an integral part of the artwork, in the same way illustration or text contribute to the meaning. I needed a structure that could suggest vertigo - the spinning sensations and falling over - a bit like a spinning top. I remembered a Chinese circular folded hanging structure I'd seen a few years ago which could possibly work. First attempts at making it were rather dismal and it was much more complicated than its simple exterior suggested, but perseverance paid off and after several attempts I worked it out. Paper and weight were an issue and thinner oriental papers were not successful. With all the folds, I couldn't use watercolour paper and printmaking papers have a softness that wasn't really suitable either. I had the best results with a crisp Fabriano paper of 160 gsm.

Now to turn this structure into a book! Parts of it had to be glued, so these became a kind of 'perfect binding' and then I added a soft flexible leather spine that could turn itself 'inside out/outside in'. The covers were added to the spine piece in the manner of a simplified binding....and after two attempts it worked! Now to the illustrations.......

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pre-progress Alicia - "Rowing Boat" Group 7

Rowing Boat

So far, I’ve “researched” rowing boats, discovering that the simple row boat is not the only option: I’ve got kayakes, canoes, dinghies, skulls and probably even more. Or not. I see that most of those just mentioned depend on paddling, not rowing.

At the beginning of every project, I am at my most literal. Abstractions grow later. In my sketch book, I’m teaching myself to draw rowboats, borrowing heavily from photographs and instructional drawing books. With the Art Institute’s library within easy reach, that’s a lot of instruction.

The writing component is trickier for me just now because I don’t have a text of any relevance handy, which means writing one. I trust this will emerge from the freewriting and “coincidences” bound to reach me as I ponder the project. In fact, I recently took a workshop in developing intuition through imagination (see and one of the exercises involved describing, in great detail, a boat. This exercise alone could be a small artist book. It well may be.

When I’m not pondering the images or the text, I’m playing with the structure. If the boat is in movement, I want a book that moves. One of my favorite structures is a “meander” book, a folded sheet that yields 32 pages. There are pivotal pages that literally turn the book around. I’ve always wanted to focus movement on those pages.

Finally, there’s an idea/practice I’m committed to which involves using, as material, pages from the many many journals I’ve kept since 1967.  I want to re-use, recycle and re-invent these pages before I die or have to throw them away because they won’t fit into my cell at the old folk’s home.  They are, mercifully, no longer precious. They have become the sea upon which my little boat floats.

Here are some pages from my sketchbook.


Group 7 “Rowing Boat”

Thursday, February 2, 2012

BEMBindery (Group 2) work-in-progress

I started the response to my title, It's beginning to hurt, with a reflection on the nature of hurt, both physical (trauma, illness, aging) and emotional (separation, alienation, grief, remorse, embarrassment). This led to a bit of a dead end as I realised that the hurt I've suffered is either too raw or too personal to share and that the hurt experienced by others is not mine to draw upon.
I stepped back and thought more broadly about the edition as a whole; about the conceit of producing a-book-about-a-book-about-a-book; and about how this conceit could be manipulated in a way that brought the title into play. The end result is a decision to take as my starting point the possibility that one of Sarah Bodman's stories has been recovered from the forest. The task I have now set myself is to document this recovery in some way. I've done a few sketches, made some mock-ups and a couple of prototypes and am now at the point where I feel that I'm just about ready to commit. It feels good!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

figs and workshops

 Looks like a paper bag tree but these little Japanese bags should keep the fruit away from the voracious flying foxes and hopefully the dreaded fruit fly as well. So far so good but as we've only had a few beautifully ripe and sweet figs, I don't want to count my figs before I eat them. The wet weather seems to agree with them but we need some dry to help them ripen.
Went to a printmaking workshop with Wim de Vos today and it was lovely being at the other end of the process for a change. Didn't help me resolve some of my own personal artist book problems but I wasn't really thinking seriously about using printmaking for this. A nice fresh, not too precious approach was just what the doctor ordered and I went home a happy man. Another workshop with Glen Skein on Friday should finish off the week magically. The workshops at Logan Regional Art Gallery are excellent - what a great workshop area. I'm sure the locals don't appreciate just how lucky they are. The altered book exhibition was also wonderful (I'm sure RoFOs  will be beside herself).  After what for me was a great desert of artist book exhibitions, all of a sudden, there are heaps. If this week doesn't get me ready for Sydney and Picasso, then I'm not ever going to get inspired. I'm sure that won't be the case.