Thursday, February 18, 2016

Questionnaire and A4 Art

I was recently asked to answer some questions by a student from Ireland and thought I would share them here along with my answers.

How did you become an artist? have you an artistic background?
I sort of fell into it really, my early training was in the sciences but I always did some creative activity with my hands, knitting, crochet, bargello, enamelling, pottery, jewellery making. You name it I tried it! When I discovered paper it just took over.
Which was the first artist book you ever created?
I made quite a large book called 'Lecture Upon a Shadow', it was made from black handmade paper and every second page was an embossing of a body male and female front and back. It incorporated a poem by John Donne that I had printed using my computer then layered it so that it was embedded in the alternate sheets. When I first made it I glued the pages together, I had to come up with a way of spacing the sheets since they had quite a bit of depth. I made a very heavy cover that was hinged and never really sat right. I have since rebound it by sewing it with a soft cover and have turned the heavy cover into a box. 
Lecture Upon a Shadow c1996 Cast recycled paper and embedded digital print

Lecture Upon a Shadow c1996 Cast recycled paper and embedded digital print

Where do you find your inspiration when creating your artist books? 
All over the place, sometimes it is the theme of an exhibition, an idea might sit with me for a while and I'll work on it in my mind and often get the final idea when I'm lying awake in bed!
Do you intend for your books to reflect on you as an artist? 
I guess so, sometimes I have fun with my books but sometimes they can be quite political.
Could you define an artist book in your opinion?
This question! The $1000 question. I like a fairly inclusive definition and could say 'a book made by an artist'. I like to include sculptural book forms and out there interpretations, they don't have to be made of paper they don't even need pages as such or text. I guess they do need to have some sort of narrative and a connection otherwise almost anything could be considered an artist book.
I see you're an artist of many talents, What is the main type of media you like to use? 
My main medium would have to be handmade paper, I get quite excited by the versatility and flexibility of paper as a medium.
Lastly, Have you any advice for me as a young artist about to create my own first artist book?

I would say go for it! It is a great area to work in and I think there is growing interest in the field.

I spent a bit of time yesterday doing gelatine prints for inclusion in the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria A4 Art exhibition that will be shown at Herring Island, a little island in the middle of the Yarra river. The exhibition is open to anyone in Australia and is so easy you just send in up to 4 pieces A4 size and the society frames them all and hangs them in the Gallery on the island. There is still time to enter the works need to reach Richmond by next Friday, I am posting mine today given our new postal system with three classes of mail. There is more info on the CAS website. I am also submitting for the Contemporary by Nature show that is on before the A4.
Here are my Gelatine prints.
Connect 2 on recycled paper with plant fibre

Connect 1 on plant fibre paper

Connect 3 on handmade cotton paper

Connect 4 on handmade cotton paper

Monday, February 8, 2016

Workshop Preparation

I am teaching a workshop for Papermakers of Victoria this coming weekend on making Japanese style paper from kozo and making sculptural pieces using an armature so I've been busy last week and this preparing fibre, making armatures, sewing muslin on and trying out my sugeta that has sat in it's box for a few years. Here are a few images of works in progress. There is still some space in the workshop so if you are interested check out the Papermakers website. My stars last week had something about boiling and about cornucopia. I boiled up the kozo bark then have made a couple of cornucopia like pieces so hopefully the luck will come pouring in!

Some armatures with and without muslin ready for dipping in kozo.
Cornucopia made from Muehlenbeckia complex with roughly beaten kozo.
Some samples made a few years ago
My sugeta
 I have a busy few days ahead, straight after my workshop I will be in the city at Fed Square with Angela on Monday running a small workshop making bookmarks that will incorporate gelatine prints. If you are in the city come and say hi, we will be there from 12-2pm.