Following an invitation from Andy Ward (Essex Arts Coordinator) Artbookart were pleased to attend todays launch of the Essex Book Festival at Chelmsford library.The festival is organised by Belinda Farrell and events are taking place throughout March. Visit www.essexbookfestival.org.uk for full details.
Artbookart featured a selection of works; Lola Swain presented her traditional hand marbled/stitched journals alongside her Monarch book. Utilising her skills as a potter, beatuiful clay tiles form the cover of this book, enclosing a poem about the butterfly.
Another artist, Louise Swain, also draws inspiration from nature with her own version of a butterfly book where the butterflies emerge and float above the pages. Louise also presented several delicately hand drawn works.
Combining the traditional with her passion to re-use objects Gwen Simpson creates coptic stitched books. These include one, made from coffee filters, which is her response to the bombing of Al-Mutanabbi street. Another is made from various papers, ranging from personal notes to the everyday papers we accumulate: '365' has a page for each day of the year.
In contrast, Karen Apps work has a sculptural quality. Peer closer and you notice the delicate pair of child shoes is infact made from the pages of a 1968 'Bunty' annual. Her altered books generate conversation, challenging our ideas of making our own 'mark' on a book. Taking old books, she breathes life into the neglected stories of our childhood.
Different yet again, Chris Ruston's painted books recall wide open landscapes, whether the frozen Artic or explosive volcanoes. Her work explores the duel nature of these extreme enviroments, giving an almost organic feel to her books.
We are grateful to all those who took time to view the work, and engage in stimulating conversations. The atmosphere was lively. It was a pleasure to meet familiar faces, and to make new aquantances.
Dianne Taylor took time to inform us of her role in the Conservation studio at the Essex Record Office, keeping alive all those traditional bookbinding skills, while Joanne Thain, from Strawberryrose Studios kindly photographed the occasion.
Don't forget to get involved and check out all the other events at the Essex Book Festival site. An exhibition of Photographs of our work will remain on display throughout March.
We are a small group of contemporary artists in Essex (UK) who share a passion for art and books.