Saturday, 18 March 2017

Artistic Explorations: Artists' Books and Book Objects (1)

Artists' books are books made or conceived by artists. There are fine artists who make books and book artists who produce work exclusively in that medium, as well as illustrators, typographers, writers, poets, book binders, printers and many others who work collaboratively or alone to produce artists' books. Many artists' books are self-published, or are produced by small presses or by artists' groups or collectives, usually in limited editions. Artists' books that maintain the traditional structure of a book are often known as book art or bookworks, while those that reference the shape of a book are known as book object  (source: http://www.vam.ac.uk).
 
End of last year a friend of mine, who is a poet and papercut artist, started talking about collaborating together. We are both inspired by artists' books and book objects and we had the change to take part in a workshop "Book Object" organised by artist and educator Brigid Collins. Once I had seen her website and her beautiful creations I didn't have to think long before I said yes!


Book object by Brigid Collins
 
Book object by Brigid Collins
 
"Yield" by Brigid Collins

The workshop was focussed on creating a 3D object with the general book form as reference. She showed us how to make a structure with wire and use tissue paper and markmaking to add certain effects.

I already had a clear idea of what I wanted to make with the materials I brought with me so I actually did something completely different than the rest of the class. Brigid could give me some great advice on how to construct with my mainly natural materials such as (very tough) birch bark and a branch from our garden. Other materials I used are: scrim, bookbinding thread, dried grass and skeleton leaf, printed papers, family envelope and a film strip. After the workshop I spent some more time finetuning things. I'm delighted with how my experiment turned out!


Birch Book (front) by Fenfolio

Birch Book (front, close-up) by Fenfolio

Birch Book (back) by Fenfolio

Birch Book (side, back)) by Fenfolio

Birch Book (side, close-up) by Fenfolio

Birch Book (back, close-up) by Fenfolio

Birch Book (front, close-up) by Fenfolio

Birch Book (front, close-up) by Fenfolio


After this very successful session I really wanted to learn more about how to make artists' books and objects. I had noticed there was a workshop organised by another book artist Susie Wilson at Leith School of Art, but unfortunately I couldn't make these dates. So I arranged a one-to-one session instead. Here are some examples of her books:


Artist book by Susie Wilson

Artist book by Susie Wilson

Artist book by Susie Wilson

Artist book by Susie Wilson

Map book by Susie Wilson

Map book by Susie Wilson


Artist book by Susie Wilson

First she showed me some samples of artists' books made by her students and herself.

Flutter book by Sarah Morpeth

Flutter book (unfolded) by Sarah Morpeth

Artist unknown

Street Scene artist' book by Liza Green

A Book of Tears by Julie Johnstone

A Book of Tears by Julie Johnstone

Dark Matter artist book by Victoria Browne


Artist book by Margaret Anderson

Artist book by Margaret Anderson

We then focussed on the concertina format and I learnt how to make a pamphlet stitch, a flag book, a flutter book and a map book. Again, I brought quite a few materials  with me such as a selection of my handmade proof prints. After a wonderful day in Susie's studio at home I was really pleased with what I had learnt and created such as this flag book:


Organic book  (cover) by Fenfolio


Organic book (spine) by Fenfolio


Organic book (inside) by Fenfolio


Organic book (inside) by Fenfolio

Organic book (first page) by Fenfolio

Organic book (fully laid out) by Fenfolio

Organic book (inside) by Fenfolio


Organic book (top view) by Fenfolio


My friend is now also going to do an intense workshop, with Brigid. With our combined skills and interest we aim to create a few artists' books that we can exhibit in due course.