Sunday, 17 May 2015

BABE and other stories

In the usual style, a round up of activities and events from the last couple of months.

The Artist's Bookmarket at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh was great, we met up with some lovely people, old friends and new.  It was small enough to have a good look around and talk to artists about their work, but with enough readings and events that there was a steady flow of visitors throughout the 2 days.  I think next time I would allow a bit more time for travel and mooching about as the 5am start didn't really start us on the right foot, though a large bowl of porridge each morning definitely helped get us back on track!

After that, in April, it was the big one, BABE at the Arnolfini, Bristol.  It never fails to amaze me that you can fill a 3 storey gallery with artist's book-makers and there will still be people missing, just shows how many of us there are if you look in the right places. Tom made this great timelapse film to capture it all in 2 minutes:

I took the clocking in machine, along with a set of clock-in cards that I letterpress printed with 4 designs, as I wanted an 'action' for people to take part in as part of their book experience.  It raised lots of interest, some surprise that it was operational, and some hard decisions for those who liked their printed cards untouched, but also wanted to take part.

BABE was swiftly followed by World Book Night with the project this year based on Stephen King's The Shining.  I wasn't present for the event and resulting film, only contributing a tiny model to the film available here, but didn't they do a great job?

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Coupon book

With only a week to go until the Artists' Bookmarket at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, I've managed to squeeze in another tiny book - an easy one to fit in the hand baggage thankfully.

Coupon book

Pamphlet bound 2 page book with original ticket covers and rubber stamp printing
52 x 30mm
edition of 20

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Next leg

First books of 2015 completed, the England leg of the Grand Tour series I've been putting together.  In contrast to the previous France and Germany editions, the tickets used for the covers of these are some London transport ones from the 1960's.  This was because I wanted some that had come to me from someone else's collection, as the others had, rather than collecting any deliberately.  The size and used quality of them works well with the torn paper pages inside.  I really like that each of these books is unique as the text and image combinations vary and cannot be repeated.

So the set so far looks like this, only Italy to add if the chance arises (ie I get any tickets!).

As before, I'll keep one copy and give one to the person who donated the tickets, so that leaves 3 to take to my next book fair, Artists' Bookmarket at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh 21-22 February.

Venturing out

A quick catch up on the end of 2014 before launching into new year activities:

From the series that I was working on, Grand Tour - France is now in the collections at Winchester School of Art library and University of the West of England library.

And, as a result of having some of my small books on the Impact Press table at Small Publisher's Fair in  London in November, some were selected for the collection at Yale Center for British Art.

They are: Ghost Train (2nd edition, Industrial) , A Series of Small Admissions, A Second Series of Small Admissions.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Grand Tour

A couple of weeks ago I took part in the Counter Plymouth Artists' Book Fair.  Needless to say the days leading up to it were a scramble of activity putting together some new books.   In particular I was pleased to finally realise a book I had planned and printed during my MA, but which had turned into a set of prints for the final show.  Having located the leftover printing, and the tickets that were the catalyst, the result is a set of books called Grand Tour - so far France and Germany are complete, England is on the way, and Italy is awaiting a donation of used train tickets from that country....if anyone has some tucked away.

As usual, to achieve a simple yet satisfying end result a lot of calculations were needed on the obligatory scrap of paper.  And the best bit of the whole process?  Getting to use the ex-GPO stamp to number the edition - thanks Jenny!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

2 small books

To get making momentum going again I recently completed 2 small books that have been in the back of my mind for a long time.  Both have originated from pre-printed materials.

The first was as a result of receiving some beautiful seed packets - thank you Mr Fowler!  They were so good just as they were I wavered for a long time considering how best to utilise them in a book, but finally their intrinsic packet qualities won out and I decided to keep them in their intended form and play around with words instead.

The finished book is a collection of 4 seed packets tied roughly with garden string.  Each is rubber stamped with the details of a different seed type: Hope, Despair, Change and Success, including when to harvest and what to plant with.


Rubber stamp printing onto paper seed packets, bound with garden string 
70 x 100mm
edition of 5

The second book is a follow up to a book I made last year A Series of Small Admissions.  As time has passed I have considered the pile of unused tickets and kept a note of fleeting thoughts and realisations that fitted the criteria for this concept 'A concertina book of tickets, each revealing a small personal admission on the reverse, in proportion with the scale and transient nature of the ticket'.  The hardest thing has been not to include or admit to anything too big!

A Second Series of Small Admissions

Rubber stamp printing onto paper tickets with card end covers 
53 x 34mm
edition of 25

Both of these new titles will be available at Plymouth Artists' Book Fair, or by contacting me (email address on side menu).

News from the print room

In August the press went off to the press doctors, and came back with a some fancy new spots to help me reset it level in between jobs.  I think the real lesson was that I need to be both more patient and more organised when I print - not something I'll find easy with my 'let's hammer out a few prints before teatime' ethos. Also, it may just be that some of my wooden type is not going to be great on this kind of press, will have to test it out and see.

And test it out I did! After an invigorating LENvention 2 meet up, creating and printing in a group of 9, I felt inspired and shamefaced into having another go, absurdly choosing coloured ink to do so, but stuck to one typeface and had more success this time.

Since then my caseroom has expanded from under the spare bed (what do you mean that isn't where everyone keeps theirs?) and spread out onto the landing alongside my press, print rack, typewriters and other essentials, thanks to some donations and the odd bit of internet shopping - old type wrapped up in brown paper and string is the best isn't it?

I've been using some spare time this week to try and get it all organised, which feels a little counter-intuitive as really I wanted to spend the time printing, but being better prepared will get better results - I hope!