Sunday, 17 February 2013

An ode to the handmade

A conversation with a colleague over some particularly fiddly letterpress registration as part of a complex book composition, about how she knew it would have been so much easier to design on the computer and print digitally, and why even knowing this she chose not to do that, led to the comment 'because digital doesn't make you happy'.  This was meant not just literally, but as an acknowledgement that it is the hands-on process of making which brings some of us as much satisfaction as the end result.

At a course run by the same colleague, learning to print on an Adana press, I printed 'Digital doesn't make me happy' onto a set of postcards, one of which I gave back to her, the rest of which sold at the Manchester Artists' Book Fair, mostly to other letterpress printers, and I thought that was the end of that.  In the months following, I found the phrase was still in my head, with related sentences and the idea of putting them into a book.  I couldn't shake it off so finally I have printed and made the book, resisting the urge to compose the text in the form of a rhyme, and presenting itself in what is probably the cleanest, neatest book I shall ever make!

It is a celebration of the handmade, and doing things the difficult way because we like to.  It is intended as a light-hearted, humorous comment, rather than a deep statement, though it does reflect the overall ethos of my practice.

Digital Doesn't Make Me Happy
Edition of 20, letterpress printed and hand bound
Will be on display and for sale at the Leeds International Artists Book Fair in March, and at BABE (Bristol Artists Book Event) in April.