The "clay books" started from a remark during my very first ceramics class, during the art foundation course I started in 2008. The tutor had us roll out a slab of clay and then said "Here are your clay notebooks" and we went on to impress patterns into them - a process that I've returned to in recent ceramics work. Very recently I've been casting folded book structures in porcelain slip, producing abstracted shapes; some have decoration inside the porcelain, arising from dark slip that's been screenprinted onto the paper structure, which burns away during firing.
Each of the Binders Keepers (tool rolls for bookbinding tools) contains some of my Travel Lines fabrics, screenprinted from lines drawn while travelling on London Underground and buses. The Binders Keepers come in unique fabric combinations and are ready to fill with your favourite tools. (Sewing Companions - for sewing tools - are also available; see
Kitty sent us photos of a new book 'Hand Shadows for Idle People', and the other of her books packaged up ready for the fair.
On Saturday morning important final preparations got underway for the event.
Following a leisurely start with coffee and scones, attention turned to assembling our collaborative book simply titled Artbookart.
While these two slept soundly we were hard at work...
….collating the pages.
...and finally sewing.
The limited edition book, for which Louise Swain, Sally Chinea, Gwen Simpson, Lola Swain, Karen Apps and Chris Ruston have each contributed two pages, reflects the practice of each artist. The pages vary in their content and style, thereby making each book a unique artwork. This resulted in 10 small (A6) but beautiful little books bound with red thread using coptic stitch.
The books are made in a small edition of 10 copies and will be available for purchase at the HOFS on March 15th.
Lola Swain is cutting another lino block of lapwings flying. she tells us practise makes perfect! No sneak preview for the show yet but we know it will be worth waiting for and in the meantime you can see some more of Lola's work at http://www.lolaswainpottery.com/Home
Her images are created by allowing an interplay between the random mark, and the directed hand. Starting with a loose idea, her approach allows the fluid technique of working wet into wet to play a part in guiding the direction of the work. This is a process which can only be partially controlled. Repeating simular marks offers a variety of results. Sometimes the joy of a random mark is enough, while at other times the piece becomes layered and worked over and over, buried like layers of strata, holding and containing a moment of time.
Recent work has been concerned with aspects of our changing climate. Chris is particuarly interested in what is happening to the ice caps. She seeks to express something more than her personal story, and reaches out to broader aspects of life and the enviroment. The idea of connecting to something beyond the self, and incorporating Earth's story, is a constant thread through her work. A number of themes are revisited and explored; all share this common link - a celebration of the natural world, and of the human spirit. The work invites the viewer to follow, to unravel secrets, and to pay close attention to the world around them.
Sally's books have to be seen to be believed in particular her textile pieces such as the notebook and pencil below.
"My artistic practice explores boundaries and preconceptions, in particular distinctions between craft fine art and gender stereotyping. My work challenges and subverts activities, traditionally associated with women and domesticity.
I create subtle, yet playful interventions that may be initially overlooked or misread, highlighting the understated, quite virtues and philosophies of craft and that react to the establishment and the fast pace of twenty first century life and challenge our habits of looking.
I manipulate and re-contextualize a wide variety of mundane, found and discarded materials to create a dichotomy between something which is worthless and something that is valued; value, created by the investment of manual labour, care, consideration and time."
Miranda Campbell's Bookspells
Book art adds that exciting dimension to storytelling for me, and allows me to combine language and emotion with texture and structure. My books are influenced by life’s rich tapestry and the delicate threads that bind us to each other, and shape our affinity for space and place.
Susan Allen is exploring the conventional idea of a book (a story with pages) and representing it in one translucent image. She will also be displaying egg tempera pages/cards as well which are part of her continuing work on "100 views of a Landscape". We look forward to seeing these beautiful little pages and more in March.
Margaret Cooter is another of our exhibitors in March. From clay books to Binder's Keepers and so much more- if you get the chance have a look at her blog.. it's one of our favourites.
We are a small group of contemporary artists in Essex (UK) who share a passion for art and books.