Sunday, May 14, 2017

all together now...

 I've been so busy lately adding to my collection of book models...
fishbone folded book

caterpillar binding

 secret belgian binding

embroidered spine binding

piano hinge binding

 so by now -- this is what my collection looks like....

welllllllll -- that kinda snuck up on me!

I'm really pleased that I have a nice collection
covering most of the main forms

its something I've always wanted to do

yay me!

(ps you can see most of my models go wizzing by in this insta post)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

the collection is growing...

I have been thoroughly enjoying myself
adding to my collection of book models...

 non-japanese stab binding

long stitch with slotted cover

'V' fold double pamphlet 

 french door

some of my models date back to my earliest moments in book arts
here's the small models showing 3 stages of a multi-section paper case book

I made these over 2 decades ago
as part of my Diploma of Western Calligraphy
(yes there once was a wonderful Diploma level course in calligraphy...
our education system has been stripped of
all manner of practical and creative courses....
try finding a ceramics course these days in a TAFE or University...
stupid short-sighted bureaucrats and politicians)

Some of the models are sedate and very recognisable as 'a book'
others however really push the book envelope...

whirlwind scroll

coptic 'flower' 

(remember this form I 'discovered' some years ago?
I posted making instructions here )

I'll leave you with one of the most satisfying moments
this week in book model making...


square flexagon

(ps you can see all the book models on my IG )

Monday, March 13, 2017

its all about the book...

For the last few weeks I've been making book models 

oodles and oodles of book models...

concertinas everywhere!

The impetus for all this making was the inaugural
About the Book festival in Merimbula

I'd been invited to come along and share/show
whatever tickled my little booky fingers

I thought a collection of book forms
along with my very very loooooooooong book
might be interesting for folk attending all the author talks

so my fingers got busy!

double pocket concertina

concertina with origami pocket covers 

To make a unified collection of book models
where the structure and form would be the focus
I used a restricted palette of colours and materials

its all about blues/purples and neutrals with sprinkles of repurposed atlas pages

flag book

slot and tab

When I started to share some pics of my little super models on IG
things got interesting

(note to the world: the names of book structures would really benefit from
a universally accepted terminology - just like biology)

one person's fortune teller is another's chatterbox
(or cootie catcher, whirlybird or even a conversation)

And what is it about the names we use for some of the simplest structures:
the ubiquitous 4-page 'instant book' that's probably been around forever
mostly became known (at least in some circles) as a zine structure
even though the term 'zine' refers more to the contents than the form

(side note: the zine became an underground (and undergrad!) fixture in the post-punk, DIY, activist, art school world.... )

and you know how it is - when you give creative people a piece of paper
it's not long before they cut and fold and find new ways of making book objects...

so - is this a double zine? an eight page instant book? eight-fold v book? an island book?
or perhaps you know this form by another name?

ooooooo and talking of 'zines'
have you noticed how some folk say 'zine' (rhymes with 'mine')
while others pronounce the word 'zeen' (rhymes with teen)? 

I suspect it has something to do with where/how you first encountered the word:
if you read of 'zines' then its perfectly understandable that this word would rhyme with 'mine'.
BUT if you encountered a 'zine' through zine culture
then it's a ZEEEEEEEEN baby (as in 'maga-zine')

I think you can figure how I pronounce the word
and I doubt you'll be surprised to learn that I first came across zines back in the 1980s
when cut-and-paste, scissors and glue ruled the (art) school yard 

Essentially the zine was my gateway structure to the wonderful world of book arts

'River book' 
I adore the name that India gave to this form
that I first encountered at the 'being (t)here' retreat at Scotts Head last year.

hey - has anyone encountered this one before? perhaps with an alternative name?

 carousel book
(ps I'll have to make/share a 'star' book to show what I see are the differences between the two forms....
maybe the star book and a 5 peak carousel are the same thing in your universe?)


all this nomenclature and thinking about the book family tree is tiring wot!

Suffice to say - there are more book forms in the universe
with more and varied names
than you can make and spread out on a table...

three trestle table along a wall for all my little super models
and the end table was for a handful of my artists books.... where form and content come together

Yesterday I packed the car and took the collection down the road for the festival
It was surprising that I needed 3 long trestle tables for all the little models to strut their stuff
 I set myself up next to the end table,
opened the suitcase containing my loooooooooong book
and started to bind...

(hello old friend! good to see you again!)

In the other corner of the room was Richard Jermyn - another old friend of mine
who brought his delightful little Albion press and a few cases of type to the festival
(mmmm I love a little bit of press work)

good times


so now -  I'm working on increasing my stitched model collection...

keep an eye on my insta feed for more little models in the next while

and feel free to add your voice to the conversation

(knowledge shared is knowledge doubled)


Saturday, December 31, 2016

bound knowledge - a series ...

Earlier in the year
I accidentally stumbled onto making ephemeral book art works
that I (rather quickly I must say) referred to as
my 'bound knowledge' series 

 the series spurred two assemblages and an initial postcard set
but mostly I shared the series over the year
somewhat sporadically and haphazardly on instagram

in case you don't do the insta -
here were a few of my favourite moments:


I made and uploaded the last of that series yesterday

but it struck me that aside from a few words
(and mostly from just a couple of days ago)
I haven't really mentioned much about the series anywhere


'Bound knowledge' - the extra bits

Regular bloggy visitors will know of my long held interests in all things booky and ephemeral art-making (often biblioclastic in nature) and that I've long been intrigued by knowledge and epistemology (the fancy word for 'theory of knowledge'): What does it mean to 'know' things? how do we learn? what are the differences between knowledge and wisdom and intelligence? what is tacit knowledge, explicit knowledge, empirical knowledge? how does knowledge affect ethics? what can we learn from indigenous knowledge systems? can there be universal truths?

For this collection I took books from my (ok I admit it --- LARGE) stockpile, stripped them of their covers/identity, wrapped them in various materials; some natural and found in situ, some from my fabric stash, then I placed the bound books in the environment. I quickly settled on a simple 'cross' wrapping for most books as, for almost 2 millennia, the book, knowledge and the church were intimately intertwined or bound to each other. By binding books with and to natural elements I was interested in honouring different knowledge systems. Each time I posted two pics of the work on instagram -- an up close and personal shot and an additional image taken from a distance. Having a photo of the work in its environment allowed me to add a pithy little philosophic musing on knowledge into the mix --- Plato, Kant, Hume, Nietzsche, Emerson, Socrates, Dewey, Russell all got an outing. I am happy to admit that I don't 'get' large chunks of philosophy (all the post-modern folk just make my head hurt) but in small pieces it seems to make more sense!

The bound knowledge series unexpectedly became a highlight in a challenging year.

tomorrow I'm excited to be commencing
a daily posting of the full 'lookUP' project to instagram
(at the LookUP.project

If you are on IG you might like to follow
I must say - the micro-poems of Melinda Smith are something to behold
I don't think you'll be disappointed

I'll see you on the flipside of 2016

Happy New Year everyone



Tuesday, November 22, 2016


  oh gosh

so slack

spending time hanging out in instagrammaland

instead of here

and then there have been Very Big Life things to deal with

but I managed to get a couple of things completed for this group show...

 which is still open at Spiral Gallery in Bega
(I think? see... I'm not paying much attention)

I put together a box of double-sided printed postcards
from what I'm referring to as the 'bound knowledge' series

(yes I'll post all 8 designs shortly -
hint - they have all been posted on my insta feed if you'd like to take a looksee)

 I also created 2 sculptural booky pieces for the show....

 (a wee detail)

  (another wee detail)

'Tacit Knowledge'

 Tacit Knowledge: repurposed bible, hand-twined string, crocheted cotton,
found feather, dried seed pod, cows tail hair, metal sprocket, glass.

"Tacit knowledge is the kind of knowledge
that is difficult to transfer to another person
by means of writing it down or verbalizing it."*
Riding a bike, knitting, making bread,
playing a musical instrument, speaking a language
are all examples of tacit knowledge.

'Explicit knowledge'

Explicit knowledge: repurposed bible, hand-twined string, found feathers, 
satin ribbon, metal washers, metal sprocket, glass.

 "Explicit knowledge is knowledge that can be readily articulated,
codified, accessed and verbalized.
It can be easily transmitted to others.
Most forms of explicit knowledge can be stored in certain media.
The information contained in encyclopedias and textbooks
are good examples of explicit knowledge."*

 installation plinth view


opening night pundits at 'interwoven'


*(thank you wiki)

Monday, October 3, 2016

reading matters...

Newest additions to my (heaving) book pile(s)

Dark Emu is small gem
all about indigenous agriculture in Australia (pre-colonisation)
I suspect it will become a part of the national curriculum
(its that important)

when I bought/read the title you can see it was shortlisted for
the Vic Premiers award which it subsequently won


The author, Bruce Pascoe, lives 'just down the road'
(ie a few hundred kms away)
He is the author of numerous fiction and non-fiction works
His children's books are rather special
(EJ recommends 'Fog a Dox')

If you are an Aussie you need to read Dark Emu

Talking of Aussies -- this one is quite a sweet delight...

full of evocative photos and reproductions of Joshua's work
(and yes - there are lots of lovely owls)

Not long after I devoured this book
I stumbled over an interview with Joshua in Dumbo Feather
he's what you'd call a real individual... 

I'm a total sucker for beautifully made books
(I joke that I only had kidlets to justify buying children's picture books!)
I recently encountered some images from 'The Ledgerbook of Thomas Blue-Eagle'
and just had to bring it to my stacks

Yes, its a work of fiction
but its so beautifully and sensitively done

and given their heritage,
I thought this was important to pass down to our kidlets

(this title was originally released in the 1990s but there are reprints - obviously!)


Indeed I love collecting those books that made a big impression on me
like these two titles by Leonard Koren

I first read these titles when completing my MVA
(which was before my MFA) --- ooo how I miss my university library...

Again, these date from the 1990s so when I saw two sparkly new copies
in the bookshop at the MCA in Sydney
I took it as a sign - into my bags they went!

I'm always on the lookout for titles to add to my library
I'd love to hear your recommendations
what's the best book you've read this year?