Monday, July 12, 2010


Time to share another something-something I've been working on.....

Towards the end of last year I began meticulously cut/carving a set of Encyclopaedia Brittanica. My idea was to carve the seven deadly sins* (in Latin) into the page edges of the books -
ira (wrath)
luxuria (lust)
gula (gluttony)
avaritia (avarice/greed)
invidia (envy)
socordia (sloth)
superbia (pride)

It took months of hard labour to get all seven words completed - these are not laser cut, but are created very slowly by hand - cutting carefully with a scalpel, a few pages at a time - after the initial cutting, the page edges are then sanded.... (have you ever sanded the edge of a page? crazy!)

so here they were - after all that work.....

I was.....ummmmmm...... underwhelmed by the results - so I put the set away for a while to decide if they were worth keeping.....

then a few weeks ago I had the solution......

set the little suckers on FIRE!


NOW they REEK of SIN! (and of charred paper....)

And now they were the realisation of my initial intention - albeit in a very different form than originally anticipated ...... isn't that always the way? and isn't it the most exciting part of being an artist? well it is for me....

I've never considered myself a designer - even when design and meticulous crafting is an integral aspect of the creative process, I'm mindful that they need to serve the piece and not the other way around..... in other words - for me the process is only precious if it upholds/enhances the final results. soooooo it was no big thing to set fire to hours and hours of labour (in the hope that I may get one or two decent pics of the work aflame....)

but I was just as startled to discover I even like the remnants of charred books - as they shed ash ex-pages at the slightest invitation.....

And I'm loving the thought of these smelly, messy things in a pristine white space at some point in the future..... ahhhhhhhh spreading a little of their knowing sin to all and sundry.....

** in case you are wondering - the first three words are carved on the top of the pages - out of view in these pics - and the last four words are on the page fore-edge


  1. Ronnie I'm glad you let me know where the other words were; I was wondering! It worked really well - the after-effects are fabulous as well and allow for so many messages. Love it!

  2. And this, brilliant as I think it is, has given me a completely new idea for something I was messing about with.
    "if at first you don't succeed..." with a twist (and a flame!)

  3. Gosh I thought you were amazing to have carved the words but the end result, charred and blackened, is just stunning.

  4. beautiful Ronnie! And a succinct answer to all those people who think it's all about 'process'... Sara x

  5. thank you all for your kind words - its much appreciated

    I've not been sure how pleased or otherwise I've been with this piece - and that's probably because it turned out very different than what I planned.....

    but processing your satisfaction or otherwise might also be considered a part of the artistic process too I suppose - and as I've often told the folk at uni - I'm allllllll about process (I aint one to outsource anything..... indeed I'm not too sure how I feel about artists/ arts practice that outsources making or process...... hmmmmmm ..... let's just say - it's not me, circa 2010....)

  6. fantastic ronnie, i love the ideas about change and form that your work embodies. keeps us all thinking about the product and the process (i love art that keeps me on my toes and yours certainly does that) well done!!!

  7. The photo of the books in flame is just stunning and really makes a statement about the sins... so worth the effort in every way.

    Loving the mossy virtues too btw. And the rest of the blog! :)

    Have fun x


thanks for all your lovely comments - your words are greatly appreciated xx