and then it was spring

March 22, 2015

And I wondered just what I had been doing since January…Well, among other things I’ve  been printing and gathering and now I’ve started compiling the books I intend to take with me to Bristol Artists Book Event in April and Turn the Page, Norwich in May.

Today I finally returned the box to the allotment after spending last summer cutting the one in the other or cutting the other into the one on the other….are we all following?!  I also brought one of the full textile prints I had taken of the box and hung it between canes to photograph. I’m making a book of the box prints on paper, these will be housed in a portfolio which should also include one of the stills I took today, to offer a little more context to the piece. It turns out that whilst taking stills my camera is also, without my knowledge (I really should have downloaded the manual) able to take film. So here is a brief preview of what stills may be available!

Scarthin Books sign

on a hard seat over winding roads through the Peaks past Matlock Bath with it’s arcades and  motorcycle tours to Cromford and Scarthin split by a road whose traffic echoes up into the valley, competing with the crows that nest up in the rock face opposite the hotel on the hill. An afternoon spent with the sun on a duckpond and burrowing into books at the wonderful Scarthin Bookshop. A wonder around winding roads, snug bridges, run down mills, sturdy stone houses with leaded windows, killing time watching fly fishing in the river, more crows overhead, to the accompaniment of trees shedding beautiful colours, to meet a dear friend for a drive home talking of how to live and how to die and how to help mark it all, sharing stories and songs of love and family.

In Norfolk I’m introduced to 2 large cedar trunks and conjure plans of woodcuts to note and hold High Barn, a family home thats held some magic space for decades. Long chats and journeys, trying to make sense of what’s come before and what’s to come. A visit to the Morgan car factory, watching everyday people do wonderful things with wood, metal, leather bowing to their hands. Ash is used to make the modern day carriages.
In London a walk around the new serpentine building, Sackler as Cerith Wyn Evan’s neon sentences lead me along the outer perimeter, past sculptures that illuminate the words from the corner of my eye. Internal dark arched brick spaces where flutes play the air.
Cerith Wyn Evans, flutes
Anslem Kiefer at the Royal Academy. A a revelation in wood, paint, thick materials, heavy marks and thoughts of the body apparent in it’s absence, the tall brooding sunflowers, a huge pile of canvasses, wedges, dust, boulders of clay in a circular room, meteoric, wonderful.
Parsifal III 1973 by Anselm Kiefer born 1945
Large solid books, printed and painted, from board, from lead, from plaster skimmed card with print and watercolour and electrolyte, an object unapologetic. Landscape engulfing, looming large.
Wood everywhere along my journey, in a printed leperello room in the RA and at Sutton House in a panelled room full of carved trunks and chairs where Stick in the Wheel sang out London’s song and it felt as if they were singing the furniture and the walls and all of the house that has stood through so many years and stood there still as sirens flew past it’s old glass windows.
We stayed in a beautiful house full of care, it being made good for over 3 years now, sandstone, zinc, brass taps, wood, wood, wood, soft light, slept sound with dreams of singing wood.
trees somewhere

Solander box for Little Crackd Rabbit

Another batch of solander boxes made to store the 4 yearly releases from the Little Crackd Rabbit label. The newest release ‘Peaks’ by P.J. Philipson, that takes it’s cues from the Derbyshire district, sits snug inside.

rainy days inside

May 10, 2014

rain in doorway

What a lovely day.  We do like to complain about the rain in the UK, but it is nice sometimes, especially when sitting in a doorway looking out.  The print above and the book prints were made from the same etching plate. Letterpress by Red Plate Press.

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turn the page again

May 9, 2014

Not a book, but what a book it might make….found in Obuse, Japan.

Last week I spent another great weekend with plenty of lovely books and people in Norwich. Lots of good chat over 2 days sustained by coffee, lots of snacks and some essential facial stretching.

Met some excellent new people and some perfectly good old people, my closest wonderful neighbours were Cherry Styles, Old Highway Press, Gefn Press, Big Jump Press and The Old School Press.

Thanks to the turn the page team and anyone who found me and spent time with me and my work.

toes in water

I’m very excited to be off to Norwich to show books and prints at Turn the Page Artist’s Book Fair this weekend (Friday and Saturday at the Forum). To see lots of lovely books in my fine home city and also hopefully to hear George Szirtes read on Friday evening at Elbow Room live. Add to that beaches, blue bell woods and loved ones, what a wonderful week it will be.

On Landscape # 1

March 3, 2014

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Fenlands, a book of etchings, letterpress titled and coptic stitch bound. Held in an embroidered slipcover. I made this book in response to the weloveyourbooks call for books on the theme of Crop. I was thinking about the art of cropping and using reeds in the fens and the time I first learned about this. Being taken out in a little boat along the narrow channels of water as the reeds cut towers above our heads. I was thinking of the texture of the dense reeds and the channels cut into the land to work with the water in the fen landscapes.

Fenlands is to be included in a presentation of Artist Books at On Landscape #1, an exhibtion at Guest Projects in London, based on a dialogue between 3 artists Minna Kantonen, Dafna Talmor and Emma Wieslander that aims to challenge traditional representations of landscape. I’m really pleased to be able to contribute work to this dialogue, hope to get down there too. So, there will be photography, installation and artists books all about landscape, it has to be a good thing. It starts on Friday 7th and runs til the end of the month, more info at the link above.

whilst it’s raining…

July 31, 2013

I can list the things I’ve done whilst it’s been sunny.

glass basking

I gathered up all the glass that the soil on my plot seems to push out like splinters, in times of extreme heat or wet. Spent a good day washing each piece, my hand in the cold water of a watering can. Laying it all to dry in the baking sun whilst I scurried into the shade.

glass in tray

Recently, I walked up a river barefoot, ducking under and climbing over trees as they bent across the way. The water was clear and still or billowing particles as I moved through it, trying to see where my feet were to go. Meeting soft silt, smooth stone, slimy moss, sharp edges. They felt their way, bending around protrudences, stretching out over flats, rocking to test the balance before I shifted my weight onto them.   I set up the glass in a tray with this river bed in mind.

glass bed

And filled it with water to dip my hot toes.

toes in water

I’ve been putting these images into a book, made in response to Sarah Hall’s short story ‘Vuotjärvi’ which seems to me to be a deeply sensual and intense tale of a woman contemplating life, love and death in the face of an expansive Finnish lake ‘Vuotjärvi’. I made it for the Summer Reads competition at The Writers Centre in Norwich. Sarah Hall’s work in the book ‘The Beautiful Indifference’, and other books by the sound of reviews, articulates feelings of body and landscape, ‘Vuotjärvi’ in particular seemed to connect with my current interest in water, humans and man-made environments. More on that at some point I’m sure.

I was also very pleased to send some work over to Duckett and Jeffreys for their current exhibition – Print 3, showing in their gallery, studio and touring caravan. It looks like a wonderful spot to spend an afternoon, rain or shine

Baltic Artists Bookfair

June 27, 2013

Baltic Artists Bookfair

many bridges across the River Tynne


Another book fair and another great excuse to visit another lovely city.  Personal highlights were revisiting Sarah Morpeth’s elaborate cut works and discovering Maria Marcano’s stunning calligraphic pieces. Click on the blue sky above for more details of the fair.  And the sun shone on, for a week of watering the plot as the sun went down.

oh so pretty

So Turn the Page Artists book fair has been and gone and in between the rest of life and work I can assure you I’m getting together all the bits and bobs I need to finish the books I promised to post out to new homes.  It was a lovely weekend by all accounts. The sun alternately warmed and dazzled us through the glass ceiling as we circled, sat and wondered at the variety and splendour of the artists book / book arts field. The central showcases worked well to display the more sculptural works, enticing people into the space, diverting the flows of movement around the tables and breaking the stiff-neck-close-focus-rictus even the best book fair adventurers must suffer from.

I got to meet some lovely people, generous with their advice, tales and praise but am ashamed to say that as usual I didn’t get to see all the people and work I’d have liked.  From those artists I did manage to speak with Gloria Ceballos‘ wild flower work, Theresa Easton’s colourful books full of social and science history and Stef Mitchell’s caravan printing adventures all inspired.

Next stop Baltic Artists Book Fair 14th and 15th June