Thursday, January 27, 2011

back to the books....

As you'd expect, with my solo show rapidly approaching (eeeeeek - it's less than three weeks now! its time to hit the panic/manic button!) I've been trying to finalise a few things - but not everything occupying my fingers and mind is high-falluting arty-farty stuff.....

 Before Christmas I completed a small collection of coptic bound blank journals...

(this is part of the collection - they are a few more tucked away! )

These new books came about after the discovery of a really unusual set of old books (yet another rotary book sale treasure).  I didn't think much of the weird collection (they sport titles like 'physics', 'human relations', 'medicine' and 'mechanisation'). They had dusty, daggy, ripped old dust jackets and most of the pages were WAY past their best - but when I removed one old yucky jacket I couldn't believe what was underneath .... simply the most glorious cloth cover (in exquisite condition) - so I unwrapped another and another and another  - WOW what divine cloth covers in a rainbow of different colours!

look at the funny gold impressed diagrams gracing each cover.....

 (I think this one was from a book on 'space'?)

('our natural world'?)

To create new from old - on each book cover I added paper strips from an old atlas - you can see I had a lot of fun picking just the right atlas page for each unusually coloured book - and then even more fun choosing the right thread for the binding.....

(this is my favourite combination of book cloth, impressed design, atlas and thread selection....)

Inside, the pages are a mix of different drawing/ printmaking papers (like Hahnelmule)... all are a soft cream colour.

I suspect some might think it is unusual that I will have a collection of handcrafted books in an arty-farty exhibition.... but from the planning stage, I had every intention of including a variety of simple, people-friendly hand bound books as an integral part of my low-key (definitely not high-falluting) show.  I thought that some simple hand crafted books may play off some of my more esoteric and ephemeral 'book' works in the show, and pragmatically, I hope that the hand bound books might give the show something vaguely saleable... (I really don't have the funds for a solo show right now!)

As well as the books shown above, I've also made a small collection of blank concertina booklets and a few long stitch booklets (I'll show pics of all these soon) all of which I'll be taking to Spiral Gallery and offering as a 'cash and carry' collection. Anything that fails to find a new home during the show (and no - I'm not expecting a mobbing) I will stockpile for the opening of sams creek bookworks in May... a win-win situation I think (I just wish there were a few more hours in the day, and days in the week....)

now - back to binding!



  1. Way to go, Ronnie! I love that gold tooling. I can't wait for our own Rotary book sale but it's not until after Easter... luckily in time for my own show. Good luck with the rest of your workload leading up to your show... I hope you're getting some sleep despite dairy duties! Sara x

  2. Looking good Ronnie - I always like the idea that somebody might be able to take something away from an exhibition - even if they don't get the glam stuff. And as you say - an excellent stack of stock for the studio if it doesn't sell!

  3. What a find! Who'd have thought such great covers were hiding behind the jackets? You've turned them into a very nice collection. I'm sure they'll sell, I'd be happy to buy one. Is it mean to say I hope there's some left over when I try my darndest to get to your Opening in May? Best of luck getting ready for your show, I'm sure it will be brilliant.

  4. Can't wait to see your exhibition. all the best ronnie

  5. Super-duper wonderful stock of unique "books" to sell.
    There is nothing more directly touching to an art-show visitor, than to be able to purchase "something" made by the artist showing. Best of luck with all your landmark moments ahead!

  6. These books are gorgeous and I don't think you should worry your head about those tired old distinctions people make between so called fine art and craft when it comes to your upcoming exhibition. Beautiful work defies categorisation anyway!
    Best wishes for a successful show.


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