Artbookart Group Show 15 - 21 March 2019 Gallery 70, Leigh-on Sea.
Having hosted several Artist Book Fairs in the past, this year we decided to work on a group show which would tie in with the annual Essex Book Festival. To unify the exhibition we discussed having a theme and decided to choose a book in keeping with the Festival's focus on 'Secret Waters'.. A unanimous vote was cast for the wonderful book Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson. There is an inevitable 'ripple of influence" in any group of artists who meet regularly to share their ideas. Therefore to keep things fresh and interesting, we agreed not to discuss our individual projects during the process of making them. This created an element of anticipation as we approached setting up the show. It has been fascinating to see each others work and to compare which elements of the book provided each of us with a 'jumping off' point. While work inspired by Lighthousekeeping formed the 'heart' of the exhibition, we also selected pieces of our work which complimented the themes explored in the book.
Why did we choose this particular book?
“Lighthousekeeping is a sea story, a love story, a lost story, a life story, a bedtime story and my story... It is a story about telling stories. A story about what stories are, and how they affect us.” (Jeanette Winterson)
With it’s beautiful crafted descriptions, we felt Jeanette Winterson’s book Lighthousekeeping lends itself to visual interpretation. The book resonates with so many aspects of our own lives. With its array of possible starting points, each of us responded to a sentence, an image, or thread from these layers, using it as inspiration for a ‘new story’ in the form of an artist book.
“And it was discovered that every light had a story - no everylight was a story and the flashes themselves were the stories going out over the waves as markers, guides and comfort and warning” (Jeanette Winterson)
Stories are what make our lives - the way we make sense of experience and the world around us. Like the child’s game of Chinese whispers, subtle shifts in each retelling gives space for new interpretations to emerge. Viewing this collection of our individual responses, is akin to the flashes from the lighthouse moving out from a central point, dispersing and creating a continuous cycle of new stories, new beginnings.
Title: Strand Line Artist: Lola Swain Production: Laminated handmade paper using sea water. Materials: Handmade paper, thread, found strand line objects, sand.
Description: The rhythm of the tide and the unpredictably of drift reflect life's routines and chances arrivals.
Title: ' Time's Lost Hero" Artist: Chris Ruston Production: Pop up Book, double map fold, origami envelope fold. Materials: Paper, ink, thread, Letraset.
Description: "All of us bound together, tidal, moon drawn, past, present, future, in the break of a wave"
Title: Carry your own light and you will never feel lost in the darkness Artist: Karen Apps Production: Textile Collage Materials. Found textiles, image transfer, embroidery
Description: Responding to themes of light and dark.
Title: Some Wounds Never Heal. Artist: Sally Chinea Production: Sculptural Bookwork Materials: Altered Book using text form Lighthousekeeping.
Description: Lighthousekeeping is a metaphor exploring the layers and interrelationships between landscape, human experiences and emotional survival - the spaces of light and dark, moments of clarity between pain, sadness, love, joy and humour.
Title: "We are lucky, even the worst of us because daylight comes" Artist: Gwen Simpson Production: Sculptural objects Materials: Wire, khadi paper, watercolour, card, sand, maps.
Description: Bringing the imagery of 'Lighthousekeeping ' out of the page.
Title: There was no place to anchor. Artist: Jane Woollatt Production: Painted Papier maiche, small Coptic bound book. Materials: Grey board, ink, glue, tissue paper, silver leaf, brown paper
Description: Small book made in response to a compass. Lost at sea. The bowl represents the books cover and the sea, and resembles the night sky. the full moon offers a single source of light.
Title: Waves Artist: Louise Swain Production: Inkjet Print, Silver Pen, Hand Torn Paper, Burning Iron. Materials: Indigo dyed Handmade Paper made from Hemp Fibre Driftwood, Tracing Paper, Wire.
Description: Each unfurling roll represents a wave and the stories within them revealed to astheyunfold. Flashes of light offer moments of clarity across the dark, chaotic expanse of sea.
Title: Salts. Artist: Chris Ruston. Production: Unique Artist book of drawings Materials: Paper, ink, graphite, thread, letraset.
Description: "Salts. My home town. A sea flung, rock bitten, sand edged, shell of a town. Oh and a lighthouse."
Title: Broken Artist: Karen Apps Production: Textile Book made from a deconstructed garment. Materials: Cashmere wool, image transfer on silk, embroidery.
Description: "Part broken, part whole, we begin again"
Title: The Reverend Babel Dark's Secret. Artist: Gwen Simpson Production: Two longstitch journals, wrap around cover. Materials: Repurposed antique prayer book cover, leather, paper, ink, thread.