Many of you would have followed my journey last year in the making of my book for the Exhibition 'Pieces for Peace' in Belgium. Fiona, Barry, Helen and I, have been given the opportunity to show these books again as and adjunct to the Personal Histories Exhibition which will open in March at the Redland Art Gallery. Simultaneously, and opening a day earlier, Caloundra Regional Gallery has asked if we could make an edition, in my case a variant, of our books to show as part of their Exhibition 'Of Peace and War'.
Fiona asked us each just before Christmas if this was possible as she has been organising with Saffron Drew and I very bravely nodded - keeping in mind just how long the book took me to make. I decided to make two more books thinking that it would not take that much more time than making just the one. I think it may be a little like childbirth ..... you forget the details otherwise why would you opt to go through it again!
I have finished one book and the other has parts done, and will just have to wait a little while till I can get back to it. There seems to be no way to get around the fact that all the little marks of x's/+'s and ='s that form the background of my last page, take somewhere between five and six hours to make. It is a very good thing to do in front of television, remembering that you are listening more than watching. I could do something else, or make the marks much bigger but really, I like the overall effect and I would really feel like I had cheated. Hence one book for the moment, and the other to come. And when a book takes a few days to make even when you have already prepared the embossing and printing plates, five hours isn't that long - it is really just that it messes with my hands.
The only real change to the original work, is that I have paid more attention to the cover/binding. I have been think on this quite a bit of late .... really since being in New Zealand with Fiona in October last year when she spoke on our collaboration. Someone at a later stage said to her, when looking at our books, 'where are your covers, don't you think the cover is important?'. As predominantly bookbinders and letterpress people were at the Conference, it pulled me up a little to realised how little attention I pay to the 'covers' of any book I make - in fact very often the cover is just made up of my first page, or a perspex slip case is made to hold the artist's book. For me, it is all about the artwork and not the binding which matters. Having said that, I was totally enthralled with the bookbinding we saw whilst we were at the conference - and briefly I played with the idea of starting my life again and becoming a binder and conservator of books. Then reality settled in and I realised that I do what I do, and even then there is not enough time to do that. I am an artist, not a bookbinder and though I am completely envious of the skill of those who bind beautifully, it is not something of which I will make an 'art'. However, I will certainly be trying to make more of an effort!
|Preparing the pages.|
|This book has embossed leather covers, and as you can see below, an engraving on the front, recessed.|
|Still an hour or two of marks to complete.|
|The old and the new. The glue is still wet and white.|
|I have named the two books 'Beyond War' and the inside cover page differs from the first book.|
|I think having the pages inverted if the books is in a cabinet will allow for easier viewing.|