Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Curtains [Group 9]

Curtains, my second work for BookArtObject Edition 4, is done! It is a reflection on the nature of BookArtObject, shaped by four questions I set myself at the start of the project::

1.  The logistics (and cost) of posting parcels around the world means that the works we produce are mostly small in size. Is this inevitable or is it possible to produce a larger scaled work?
2.  The splitting of a large number of artists into sub-groups means that the work we each produce is mostly shared only with the others in our sub-group. Is it possible to produce a work that is equally accessible to all?
3.  One of the defining features of Sarah Bodman's An Exercise for Kurt Johannessen was its ephemeral nature - it ceased to exist almost as soon as it was created. Should (and if so how should) this be acknowledged?
4.  Editioning can be tedious. Is there a way of making the end point seem more than the satisfactory execution of a multitude of repetitive tasks?

The result is an installation that existed for the time it took for a record to be made of its existence.

The component parts of the installation are now with Alicia, Angie, Anna, Fiona, Gillian, Lis, Lisa and Sara.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Unchartered Democracy, Helen Malone, Group 10

My second edition of books for BAO is finished and the books have just been posted out to members of Group 10.

I decided to work with the idea of a charter as an official written document of government as well as a contract executed between two parties - the US Government and soldiers serving on its behalf.

I will post images and talk about the making of the book after the members of Group 10 have received their books in the mail.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Just so you know...I am not entirely slacking-off!

Yes, I did set things aside when I went swanning off to Europe and, since my return, one or two little personal flies have managed to stick themselves in my ointment.

But I am getting on with my books.

Some of you, I know, enjoy the luxury of high-end printers and can guarantee longer-lasting results. I am restricted to an A4 non-archival ink jet model. Now, while I am quite happy with the inks it uses, they are water-based, which can be a problem if I want to work back into pages. Did I hear someone say "do the artwork first, then allow for printing." Hmm...this precludes a greater grasp than mine of  the mathematics!

So the typist me takes a back seat while the artist me gets on with the illustrations. Hand-made, indeed.

But while I'm here...I did try to construct a Jacob's Ladder (like this one), but not based on a square or rectangle. The "fall" resulted in a ghastly tangle so I scratched that idea for the moment! There is another version of a Jacob's Ladder and bits of paper litter my desk...

... and my third book is not even beyond sketches yet.But I am working!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


 Recently I sent out a survey to BookArtObject members, asking for some insight into why they have participated in BAO Editions, what they've got out of the experience (or not!) and any suggestions they might have.  So far I've received 29 responses: thank you!  If you haven't yet responded to the survey you can either go back to the email I sent you or access the survey HERE.
I don't want to do in-depth analysis of the results, but I thought you might all be interested in some general things that popped out at me once I'd had the chance to read the responses in full.  As you know, BookArtObject started small - 8 members in the first Edition, and roughly twice that for the second and third Editions - and has ballooned into something much larger with over 80 artists around the world working on Sarah Bodman's An Exercise for Kurt Johannessen with 100 story titles to choose from...  There's no doubt about the fact that the landscape of BookArtObject has changed significantly between Editions One and Four!
So what does the survey tell us? 
Overall I found the comments to be positive (thank you very much!), but there is definitely conflicting opinion about the size of Edition Four as compared to earlier Editions.  For some, the vastly increased numbers of participants has been an opportunity to connect with artists making artists' books in their own geographical area, but for others what was previously an intimate group has become unwieldy and impersonal.
There's no doubt that the size of the group now is a challenge, both in terms of managing the practical aspects of a large project and in terms of keeping the community going: it is easier to misunderstand a comment from someone you don't know from a distance, and inevitably some people find that blogging and long-distance communication suit them more than others.
Deadlines are also a sticky issue: with such a large group it is likely that a few won't finish their books, so perhaps we will end up with unfortunate situations in which a participant receives books from other members in their group but for some reason isn't able to complete their own contribution to the Edition, which would leave everyone feeling disappointed.  I really hope that doesn't happen: if you think this might happen to you, please contact your group co-ordinator ASAP and discuss the matter!  The nominal deadline for completion is the end of 2012, and I really would like to wrap things up in January and let everyone have a short break before we decide where to go next.
Of course Edition Four is only so large because of the nature of the 'text' we're working from!  I doubt if we'll be working from 100 story titles again...  But I don't want BookArtObject to fracture into little pieces either.  I imagine that some of you have enjoyed your participation this time around but might not join up for the next Edition, so there may be fewer participants for Edition Five.
Generally, you have all made very positive comments about BookArtObject and the overall quality of the project and its organisation.  Several people commented about how it has enabled them to make contact with other artists who share their interest in artists' books, as well as providing the impetus to make them.  The blog and the group contacts have also given participants a resource for help and information about making a limited edition of books, and has helped you to push yourselves further - all of which is very gratifying.
I think there are genuine concerns about how BookArtObject will develop from here, given the challenges of working with so many artists.  Who knows how it will turn out?  If you haven't completed the survey yet, I really would love to hear from you!  Click on the link above and take a few minutes to let me know what you think.  Meanwhile, I hope this blog will continue to function as a meeting point, a place to ask questions as well as show off your work, and a forum to discuss artists' books generally and the future of BookArtObject in particular.  If you have particular issues/comments/difficulties don't forget that you can contact your group co-ordinator or me directly via email.
Meanwhile, keep the books coming!  I am in the luxurious position of seeing your work before it goes off to Sarah Bodman, and I am so impressed by the books I've seen so far.  I'm going to photograph everything before I send it off, and I'm having fun!
Many thanks indeed,

P.S. the question has been asked about deadlines for previous Editions, as there are some that are not completely "closed off" - are they also to be finished by the end of this year if possible?  Well, really, it's not for me to say: we've always worked on the basis that there are no hard and fast deadlines and I don't expect every participant in Edition Four to be finished by the end of this year...  In case you are worrying about deadlines, please don't!  I am myself a guilty party because I still haven't finished my contribution to Edition Two, "Paper Wrestling".  I am STILL trying to get hold of old bridles/stirrup leathers (a saga in itself!) in order to finish my books, and I do still intend to finish them.  But I think it is inevitable that at some stage individuals will find themselves unable to complete their own contribution to their group.  So what happens then?  Well, I think that out of courtesy to those who have sent you their contributions, if you find yourself in that position you should contact the other members of your group and your group co-ordinator and offer to send the books you have received back to their creator: some people will  be grateful to have their contribution back; some might be happy for you to keep their book anyway.  As for me, I'm still plodding along but if anyone in Australia knows where I can get some bridles please contact me off-list!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Postal Clerk Helps With Edition

Hi - It's Genevieve from group 4 reporting that my little book #53 Protein is on its way. I was debating how to mail the books and then thought to empty all of my teabags on the counter and use the boxes. Now what to do with all of that tea?!

At the post office I had to fill out a customs form for six of the eight boxes I was mailing. I chatted with the clerk as he entered the addresses and contents of each box into the computer, stamped each of the three customs sheets for each package, tore off one of the three sheets and affixed it to each package, weighed each package, printed and attached the stamps and finally sent the packages to the mailroom. In the middle of it all he said, "well, this is quite the process!" All I could do was smile and say 'yes,  yes it is.'

Once the books arrive I will post more pictures!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

LCBA - London Centre for Book Arts

Hello all, its Abigail here from the UK. Since graduating from my MA in Book Arts at Camberwell College in London, things have been hectic! But most excitingly, in the past week I have been helping Simon Goode set up the brand new and very very exciting London Centre for Book Arts. Lots of dirty, hard work has gone into this amazing and long overdue venture. Simon has had lots of help from excited and interested volunteers with varied backgrounds, and on Sunday the doors opened for the first Open Day.
The studio is not completely finished, but in just under 3 weeks the space has been transformed, and the machinery and equipment is slowly being de-rusted and put back together after long months in storage.

The Centre’s mission is to keep book-making skills alive, through teaching and community outreach in bookbinding, letterpress printing, papermaking, and related disciplines. And LCBA is the UK's first and only open-access educational book arts centre. How amazing is that?! I know alot of you bookie people are from Australia and the US; and from what I hear are quite spoilt for these kind of centres.. or am I wrong? Here in the UK there is simply nothing like this, which is what makes this studio so exciting for everyone, the potential is huge. 

I will keep you posted on the developments of this place. And soon I will do a post on some work I've been thinking about making for the BAO project. My titles are #16 Turn Left in Group 6 & #54 Motorway Services in Group 11. Now there is potential space & equipment to be used at the LCBA I can hopefully get cracking on these two editions soon! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

In case anyone missed this, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/nyregion/in-retrospect-where-the-books-are-the-art-at-castle-gallery.html?_r=1&

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Group 5 Mailing

Hello folks of Group 5! My edition is done and I've been toting it around the past couple months during a move out of state. I'm a poor grad student so I can't afford to ship out all copies at once so let me know when you're ready to ship your copy out and I'll pop mine in the mail (I figure if I stagger mailing them, I'll still have some Ramen money left over)! The best way to contact me is via my Gmail email. My mailing address has changed but I updated it with our group leader, Diane, earlier this summer (I live in Florida now). Looking forward to seeing everyone's wonderful work...

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Little Grp 4 Action

For those of you in Group 4, I can finally report that I've made a start! Just testing out some materials and colours, easing myself in, but it's a beginning.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Interesting Books

Those of you (in Australia) who have email accounts at Bigpond often miss out on interesting links from a site whose name seems to trigger spam alerts at Bigpond.
So I'm posting the link here as it is something that many BAO members will enjoy.Maybe some of you even make things like these? Gail? Ronnie? Fiona?


And a note on my BAO titles...tomorrow, Alison and I hang a small exhibition which has kept us rather busy for ages. When this show comes down I shall be devoting myself to my book editions.