Some detailed images of small books which will be shown at Turn the Page Artist Book Fair this weekend. The event takes place at the Forum in Norwich. I am looking forward to being part of the event, and to spending two days amongst a group of fabulous book artists, as well as some interesting conversations with visitors.
Finding interest in the everyday and making the most of what we have.
While I may sometimes imagine living in a wild and natural environment, like many other people, the reality of my life sees me living in a large urban town. Although I may ‘escape’ to these rural locations for a few weeks in the year, I also consider myself fortunate to live by an estuary. This is where the rural meets the industrial, a place of edges and contrasts. Ships and birds ‘migrate’ along the river in equal measure. Everything is on the move - the tide coming and going, the light shifting, bright one moment, grey another. No two days are ever the same.
My regular walk takes me through a municipal park, complete with its customary large pond, - home to a resident pair of swans, and surrounded by some beautiful old trees, and on to my favourite destination - the seafront. While other locations may be more prestigious, more wild, more tranquil, I love this ‘little bit of paradise’ on my doorstep.
This year I have decided to record the moments which have especially caught my attention. I do not regard myself as a photographer, but equipped with heaps of curiosity, and a small Panasonic camera, (or iPhone), I look forward to seeing what threads emerge over the course of the four seasons. This is not a new idea, many have done it before me, but it encourages me to keep looking closely at my immediate surroundings.
I will display a selection of photos over the course of the year under the page heading 'Capturing the Moment'.
Winter chill in Southchurch Park
The waves consist of a series of five books - similar structures but each unique. The covers are shaped into a wave, - the pages made from various fine papers. These have been saturated in inks and wax to create transparent layers. Each book has a different 'voice' - a comment on the health of our oceans. I have incorporated quotes from people such as Sylvia Earle, Al Gore, and others who work tirelessly to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change and thoughtless dumping of rubbish into the oceans. They, and others like them, help us to see what is happening beyond our own little part of the world.
The work will be on show at Turn the Page Artist Book Fair, The Forum, Norwich on 25th/26th May 2018.
A quote from Al Gore The Earth in Balance.
Plastic pages which mimic seaweed, tumble forward, spilling out of the book which can no longer contain them. I wanted to convey the idea that all is not what it first appears. We can think everything appears fine, but all is not good below the surface. Discarded plastic does not degrade - it just becomes smaller and smaller. Fish, birds and other marine life can not easily distinguish plastic from prey and ingest these particles with serious consequences. It not only affects marine life but ripples through the whole food chain ending with us!
Sadly this week has seen the announcement that plastic has been found in the deepest part of the ocean - the Mariana Trench. The discovery was made at 36,00ft (10,898 m) with some of the pieces dating back thirty years.
It seems nowhere is immune from this ever increasing 'invasive wave' of pollution. On a more hopeful note the topic is at least making headlines and forcing politicians to discuss and think about it's implications. It is on the 'agenda'
Other hopeful news sees the efforts of a young Dutch man, Boyen Slat, gaining momentum in his work to find ways to clean up this rubbish from the oceans. His foundation - Ocean Cleanup Foundation, is set to launch the largest clean up this summer. Follow their progress on facebook.
A beautiful collection of white artist books. The exhibition includes books from the private collection of Bob Bollick, and artists from the Curious World of Artist Books. The show runs until April 17th 2018. If you are interested in artist books check out Books on Books curated by Robert Bollick. it is a stimulating read.
'The waves were steeped deep-blue save for a diamond- pointed light on their backs which rippled...The waves fell; withdrew and fell again, like the thud of a great beast stamping."
Preparations for this years Turn the Page Artist Book Fair are well under way. This years work centres around waves. Returning to the idea of sculpting covers which I had started to do with the Core Sample series, I have been experimenting with the form of waves.
The idea of working with Waves resonates on several levels. They are about movement. They can be forceful as well as gentle. They give but also take back. In particular I have been thinking about the situation regarding the huge amounts of plastic being carried around the world by the waves. Plastic is one of the most pressing issues of our time. It is not just the plastic that we see, but more worrying, the news that the plastic does not actually degrade. These micro plastics are present in the food chain. This has serious consequences for the smallest organisms through to the largest predators - including us.
The content for the wave books explores this issue. I am curious. about the idea of what we see and what we don't see. What might be hidden in plain sight? Sara Wheelers comment 'all is not well in the cold and salty deep" seems to sum up the situation very succinctly!
First stages experimenting with possible shapes
and then making watery marks
Building layers and thinking about content.
The wave rises sweeping before it the pages which then spread out. Appearing like seaweed, on closer inspection they are not what they first appear to be. Old sheets of plastic from the studio have been used to symbolise the changes we see in the oceans. Various quotes, from poets and authors have been incorporated giving the ocean a voice.
"No Water, No Life,
No Blue, No Green"
Kunthuis Gallery, Yorkshire
"Burning this Cold Library of Ice" Artist book inspired by David Buckland.
The Curious World of Artist Books
Loft Gallery, Blickling Hall
As Long Ago - Artist book responding to a 'behind the scenes" visit to the Hall.
Across the Seas
Sam Scourer Gallery, Lincoln
The North Sea - Detail of Artist book using a Sea chart.
It has been a busy few months finishing work for three shows, in three adjoining counties - Norfolk, Lincolnshire, and Yorkshire. Our eARTh at the Kunthuis Gallery features a diverse range of artists responding to the issue of climate change and runs until the end of the year.
The Curious World of Artists Books, curated by Turn the Page founder Jules Allen, has now opened at the Loft Gallery, Blickling Hall, Norfolk. It showcases a fabulous variety of work - all related to the book in some way. While some work is site specific, it also includes more general themes. The exhibition demonstrates the myriad interpretations of the book form. It continues until the 27th May but returns for a second instalment in September.
Throughout the summer Blickling Hall also hosts a major book related installation, The Word Defiant by Les Enfants Terribles. The theatre group have created a series of interactive installations "which immerse people in compelling contemporary stories about the place of books in the modern world"
Finally Across the Seas is another group exhibition which explores the theme of the sea and Migration. It opens on Monday 7th May until Sunday 20th at the Sam Scourer Gallery in Lincoln. Co ordinated by Biff Vernon, it raises awareness of the changing environment in relation to the sea.
Now attention turn to finalising work for Turn the Page Artist Book Fair at the Forum , Norwich on 25/26 May.
I am also part of Bookscapes Collective.
Bookscapes is a group of six artists that have developed a group practice specialising in site specific interventions and exhibitions.