Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Getting There

As a new participant of 
Book Art Object 
once I realised the enormity of what I had
taken on with this project
(with regard working out a suitable process  and
format to making a reasonable edition of handmade books)
I have spent many hours pondering ideas, concepts,
processes, logistics and materials.
What materials can I post worldwide?
What size is achievable, managable and postable?
How taxing do I want to make the process?
What do I want to communicate with this?
What materials can I afford to make each piece of reasonable quality ?
 How do I make a dozen copies, all fairly identical?
Will my ideas work with my chosen materials?
What skills can I use to impart a sense of me?
Would I be happy to receive what I am producing?

All in all, all this thinking and mucking around 
has been an enjoyable and extremely
worthwhile part of the project for me 
(hand to heart - I can honestly say this has
been an active process and not another act of blatant procrastination).
Now I feel I have come to a place where 
my ideas have struck a harmony with my intended format
so that I can now embark with confidence on physically creating
an edition of books I will be content in sending
out to the Universe at large.

I realise of course as I write 
that while I am looking forward to creating this edition 
there are still many hours of sweat and toil,
frustration and elation ahead of me.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Alica Bailey (Group 8) introduction

I learned about BookArtObject after curating Sara Bowen’s work into an exhibition. She has since interviewed me, so learning more about me is but a click away:

The interview does not go into my personal history and I have been reading some of the other bios that do so here is a bit more about that. I have always lived in Colorado, a state in the western US that is larger than all four countries of the UK combined. The state has a very diverse geography so although I’ve not lived too far from home, over the course of my life I have lived in some very different ways. I grew up in the state’s larges city, located on the plains with views of the mountains but not part of the mountains.

After college I moved to a remote town with a population of 125 (this population has since grown to 400 or so) of the state in a mountainous and sparsely populated region. Indeed, Lake City is in the county with the most ‘roadless space’ in the conterminous United States. Instead of looking AT the mountains I was living IN the mountains and the two experiences are very different. This is just one example of dozens of the how differently I navigated my life after I moved.

These differences impacted my studio work in ways that have become more obvious to me with the passage of time. Obvious isn’t the same thing as describable or easy to articulate in written form. The closest I can come is to say that I seem able to scrutinize the minutia of physical spaces at the exact same moment as I am looking skyward. This dual vision extends beyond physical spaces to those murky spiritual, intellectual, psychological and emotional ones that are even more difficult to speak or write about.

In my studio work I employ structural elements such as openings both physical and implied, varying levels of transparency, layering and interactivity . I do not work in the book form all the time, but because the aforementioned elements are an integral part of that form, my ideas and expressions often find their place in book form.

After 18 years I moved back to my home city of Denver where I continue my studio work and also am owner/director at Abecedarian Gallery, a space with an ongoing emphasis on artists’ books.

I have a studio blog:
and website (which I hope you wait another couple weeks to visit as the upgrade many months in the making is days away from going live)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Clarification re Edition Variations

Following an enquiry and request for clarification, the administrators had a group cyberspace pow-wow and wanted to share with you all how we are viewing the use of the Variant Edition (VE) or Edition Variant (EV) term discussed a wee bit earlier here.

We have agreed the term VE (or EV) would NOT be used to describe the small variations that appear as a result of books being handmade.

For example my 'a subversive stitch' books are machine stitched and the lines are not always exactly the same. Or there could be slightly less pressure in a print, slightly different depth of colour, slight variation in burning patterns, typewriters etc.

The term VE (or EV) WOULD be used to describe a conscious or deliberate decision by the maker to change an element, a colour of a technique within an edition.

For example, my 'a subversive stitch' books are all stitched in red; however, if I chose to do one or two in blue then they should be noted as VE.

Hoping that helps...

Fiona (on behalf of the team!)

And this photo has nothing whatsoever to do with this post - I just like seeing photos on posts!

Update - and a question!

There are only 7 5 titles remaining and they are:

#23 Young Offenders
#44 Security
#52 Silicon Valley
#61 Can you pin your hopes on?
#62 Vindication
#72 The Spoiler
#90 True Grit

A big thank you to all the brave souls who have taken on a second - and in some cases third! - title, and to everyone who has spread the word about the project and attracted new applications. We're within sight of finding artists for all 100 titles, which is amazing!

And another piece of good news for Edition Three artists: our box of books for Jeanette Winterson arrived safely in London and was forwarded on to her a few weeks ago. I was having heart failure because I hadn't received confirmation of the box's arrival, but it turned out that my contact at the publishing company had changed jobs and our project didn't make it into the handover information. Never mind, it's definitely there, and I hope Ms Winterson likes her books.

Lastly my question, which is for the Aussie contingent... does anyone know where I could get hold of some broken-down horses' bridles? I need them to complete my contribution to Edition Two (which is shockingly late, I know...) and I have drawn a big fat zero with local horse-y people and with local horse-y groups. I'm late enough already and I don't want to have to re-think the whole darned thing at this late stage! If you have any ideas, please send me an email.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A give-away on my blog

I hardly dare call myself a BAO member having been missing from view for so long. However, I'm still here and will be catching up with all your blogs in the next week. I just wanted to let you know that I have a little book to give away, over on my blog.

The book is in the Lark Studio Series and is called Handmade Books. It's only small, about 4x4", and is just pictures of artist's books. How I managed to buy two copies I don't know but there will be more to give away over the next few months. It seems I'm a serial double-upper.

I look forward to catching up with you all, and meeting new members as well.
All the bookbinding best,

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Work - Kit - Group 12

I have been working on "Work" which is shaping up to be a brief personal work history. I am adapting it from a longer version that I made which is a book that is also a functioning hand saw. It will be the abridged paperback edition. Later-kb

Sunday, March 18, 2012

News Update

Hearty (well actually slightly wobbly) apologies from me for delays in doing administration recently - there's a particularly nasty virus going around local schools and I managed to pick it up. Just to indicate how bad it was, I spent 5 days flat out (bed, sofa, bed again) and in all that time I couldn't even pick up a book, never mind read it! Anyway, I'm back on my feet again and have finally managed to put the finishing touches to Groups Nine, Ten, Eleven and Twelve.

If you've been chaffing at the bit and wanting to get involved with your group you should find at least one email from me sitting in your Inbox giving you the contact details of your fellow group members, and those of you waiting to let rip on the blog will also (hopefully!) find an automated email from Blogger/Google (so check you Junk mail folder too) with a clickable invitation to join the blog.

Meanwhile, what about those statistics? 89 out of 100 titles have currently been adopted by a lovely artist, and I've just sent out emails to another few people who have expresssed an interest in joining BookArtObject. If you are keen to do a second - or even third - title, contact me for an up-to-date list of the remaining titles.

Thanks for your patience and who knows, soon I may even get round to posting images of my own work! Meanwhile I'm thoroughly enjoying watching it all unfold.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dos-a-Dos Binding [always turning left]

Hi All,

I was wondering if I could plunder your bookbinding knowledge in relation to the Dos-a-Dos binding method.

I have so far only made a soft cover mock up (potentially for this project, but also for something else...) and I have never made a hardback (cloth or paper covered) dos-a-dos book. I can imagine how the process goes and will of course just give it a go with a blank book first, but I wonder if any of you can help me with the main thing that I am wondering about; the back board (that is the back for both sides of the book) will need to be covered on both sides, at least on the edges, but how do you do this?
Any suggestions, tips from experience, bookbinding books I should look at, online tutorials etc.. that you know of please do tell!

Many thanks,

Abigail Thomas
Group Six
# Turn Left

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sick and Possibly Dying Computer

Dear Lovely Book Art people I will be out of action for a while. I have posted on my own blog :-) I have email access but am going to be very busy with sorting out my ill computer.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Some of you may be wondering how to sign your work if you have slight variations in appearance.

Where you write the edition number, add VE, to indicate a variation.

1/15 VE      

The aim is, of course, to have each copy of your book look the same, but if you have used, say, marbled or hand-made papers, VE "legitimises" it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It's beginning to hurt (Group 2)

I wrote in an earlier post about my starting point for #41: It's beginning to hurt being the possibility that this story had been recovered from the forest.
So ... I took myself off to the forest a couple of weeks ago, started digging and eventually found what I was looking for. I'm now camped in the forest working on my edition and should wrap this up in a few days.

That Unbearable Lightness, Helen Malone

I chose this title as I enjoy trying to interpret feelings and intangible things. The sculptural structure I revealed in an earlier post refers to the physical symptoms of vertigo suggesting the spinning sensations, loss of equilibrium and falling over. I then started working with the psychological aspects of vertigo expressed in Milan Kundera's book The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I wanted to exploit one of the dualities in the book, lightness/weight, which could be seen as light/darkness or positive/negative, and used this as a design guide for the illustrations.

The upper side of the structure (the light side = someone seeking something higher) forms a circular image of tall buildings and sky, from the perspective of someone looking up and suffering feelings of vertigo. The lower side (the dark side and emptiness below) shows the perspective of someone looking down from the height of tall buildings to the street and central dark void, a traditional vertiginous experience. All of the characters in Kundera's book have feelings of vertigo at some point which is seen as a moment of weakness, and the dualities of lightness/weight, bearable/unbearable, being/non-being, weakness/strength, freedom and lack of commitment/weight of responsibility are ambiguous.

By juxtaposing the vertigo of lightness/weight from both sides, my intention is to pose the same philosophical question as Kundera's book - Is vertigo the lightness or heaviness of existence?

There is a glimpse of the book above and the edition of 15 is finished and ready to go. I have really enjoyed working on this edition and with a streamlined production process in place, making 15 wasn't tedious at all!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fiona's beginnings (Group 2)

Like most folk I have been pondering and exploring a bit and making small baby steps towards something.

My theme is "A subversive stitch" and I have pondered the ideas of censorship, wars, history, women in history and women's work.  It has been bit of a ramble up hill and down dale, then round a few corners and then into a few dead-ends, but something is coming together...

On the weekend I finished the covers for my books - I am trying to make 20, which allows for a few stuff-ups along the way. I have chosen to work with red, something subversive about it perhaps? - and have been using the sewing machine to obliterate words - leaving  a few here and there.

Here are some hinting shots of how they are looking...

I have had a few moments with these - one afternoon, the sewing machine starting to billow smoke which was quite interesting (sewing paper can upset them I am learning), and just as I faced my last cover on Sunday I realised I was probably going to run out of cotton (I had already used a full reel and several bobbin-fills), but in the end I was left with maybe three turns of cotton on the reel...just snuck in!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

X Exercises for Kurt Johannessen - Sarah Bodman

Sarah Bodman's follow up Kurt Johannessen Book. Taken from the UWE website:

Sarah Bodman made her first artist’s book tribute to 
Kurt Johannessen after Tanya Peixoto introduced her to his books at bookartbookshop.

She produced ‘An Exercise for Kurt Johannessen’ in 2010, in tribute to his book 
‘Exercises’. The titles of the 100 short stories she wrote and buried for her exercise, have since been taken up by BookArtObject an international book arts group, founded in Australia by Sara Bowen, with 84 artists currently making a book using one of Sarah’s short story titles.

As it is now the 10th anniversary of bookartbookshop in February 2012, and the celebrations are based on theme of: x or 
what is to be done? Sarah asked Kurt Johannessen if she could select a further 10 (x) exercises from his artist’s book to carry out.

The result is 
‘X Exercises for Kurt Johannessen’ an image only artist’s book, published as a free download, DIY self-assembly book on 21.02.2012. The exercises can be identified through reading the texts in Kurt Johannessen’s ‘Exercises’Sarah has made her book as a free PDF download for you to print out and assemble yourself, you will need 4 sheets of A4 paper and a stapler.

Download it here.