Artist’s books

 A Classical Education  7 pamphlet-stitched books  September 2015

I was drawn in and seduced by a volume of antique illustrations which have been in my possession for many years. It put me in mind of academia of old—Renaissance man, accomplished woman—and led me to ponder the nature of education: it is intended to prime us for life, but how much of that formal education has worth in our real-world lives? My work—a compendium of seven pamphlet books—examines the classical idea of education as the pursuit of pure knowledge. Through placement and distillation I have shifted the focus and made it my own, just as we do with the fragments of knowledge we glean in the course of our lifetime.

The seven titles are: Anatomy for beginners; Botany for beginners; Building for beginners; Flying for beginners; Sailing for beginners; Science for beginners; and Zoology for beginners. The first six titles each include a gatefold.

Inkjet-printed on Stonehenge using pigment inks
Page size 120 x 160 mm
Edition of 15

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Green Rose Hula  Concertina  September 2015

This book forms part of a group work called Stack, a project undertaken by Sydney Book Art Group to be launched at Volume 2015 Another Art Book Fair in Sydney this month.

Inkjet-printed on Zerkall using pigment inks
Measures 120 mm x 160 mm closed
Edition of 10

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Dynamic vigour in music  Single section pamphlet book  August 2015

Inkjet-printed on Stonehenge using pigment inks
Cut-up text fragments taken from a discarded copy of The New Music by Sir George Dyson, 1924
Mixed media drawing
Page size 110 mm x 130 mm
Edition of 15

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Farrago of nonsense  Single section pamphlet book  August 2015

Inkjet-printed on Stonehenge using pigment inks.
Cut-up text fragments taken from a discarded copy of The New Music by Sir George Dyson, 1924
Mixed media drawing
Page size 110 mm x 130 mm
Edition of 15

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A Patch of Old Snow  Single section pamphlet book  August 2015

Inkjet-printed on Fabriano using pigment inks
Endpapers cut up from an edition of etchings I did many years ago
Poem by Robert Frost
Page size 90 mm x 140 mm
Edition of 6

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Beware windscreen damage  Concertina  August 2015

Book 1 from The Deadly Hume series
Inkjet-printed on Fabriano using pigment inks
Cover made from discarded core flute road sign
Measures 75 mm x 150 mm closed
Edition of 10

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Spark  Concertina  May 2015

In June 2014 I made a miniature book inspired by Dante Alighieri’s quote ‘A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark.’ In doing so I discovered that, although I generally don’t work on a large scale, the miniature format was just too small and fiddly for me. I liked the idea of Spark, however, so decided to make it in a larger format—the size of a jumbo box of matches rather than the small box.

Inkjet-printed on Zerkall paper using archival pigment inks
Measures 55 mm high x 80 mm wide x 8 mm deep closed
Edition of 8

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Pencarrow  Coptic book in box  April 2015

Nelle M Scanlon’s ‘Pencarrow’ is the saga of a family of early settlers in New Zealand in the late nineteenth century. The story begins as Matthew Pencarrow waits at Wellington Harbour for the boat carrying his future wife, Bessie, to arrive from England. The tale follows the Pencarrow family over several generations as they face the challenges of a new life in a new country far from home.

My book tells the Pencarrow story. The box, when closed, represents containers: like the ships they travelled in, their steamer trunks, Bessie’s hope chest. I used the original blue book covers top and bottom which, with their mottling, brought to mind the choppy ocean crossing. I wrapped the rest of the box with sea-blue bookcloth to represent the pristine waters around their new home. The box, when opened, becomes the two islands of New Zealand, and the book itself is uncovered. The coptic binding echoes the ropes used in both sailing and bushcraft, while the rough-hewn quality of the torn pages represents the building of new settlements from materials at hand. Maps inside the box add to the sense of place, while the handwritten dedication on top reinforces the spirit of family.

Pencarrow was made for, and exhibited in, Biblio-Art 2015.

Upcycled book pages
Size when closed 190 w x 118 h x 94 d mm

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Police line do not cross  Concertina  April 2015

Constructed from mixed media including found police tape, cut-up text from a discarded crime novel and bound with cable ties
Page size 205 mm x 80 mm

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From here to there  Concertina  March 2015

Laser printed on atlas index pages, Japanese rice paper, hemp string
Page size 90 mm x 90 mm
Size when closed 90 x 90 x 150 mm
Size when open varies

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Miller Street  Hardback in slipcase  March 2015

I lived at 10/1 Miller Street North Sydney for fourteen years, from 1981 to 1995. Soon after I moved in, I made a large noticeboard by covering a 4’ x 6’ piece of Cane-ite with hessian, and hung it in the hallway. During those years the noticeboard changed and grew as if it had a life of its own. Not everything has survived, but much of what remains of the amassed ephemera is the basis for this book.

Those years are significant in terms of my personal history. In the span of time I lived at Miller Street I experienced much that has come to define, influence and colour my life: friendships were formed and lost, I found a career, my mother died, I met my husband, I learnt who I was regardless of the opinion of others, plus other major and minor events too numerous to mention. In short, those years saw me grow into the person I am.

This book was made for, and exhibited in, the Personal Histories exhibition, held at Redland Art Gallery, in March–May 2015. It was also shortlisted for the Manly Library Artists Book Awards 2015, and will travel to Canberra in September 2015 as part of the Personal Histories travelling exhibition program.

Case-bound section-sewn book in slipcase
Book measures 170 mm wide x 150 mm high x 50 mm deep
Case measures 173 mm wide x 160 mm high x 62 mm deep
Inkjet-printed on Magnani Incisioni fine art paper using archival pigment inks

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Homage to Gee’s Bend in E minor  Concertina  January 2015

Woodblock prints and Japanese paper
Measures 80 x 110 x 50 mm closed, opens to variable length

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King of lies  Double concertina  November 2014

Fabriano and Canson papers plus torn pages from a discarded paperback and paper string.

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In the dark in five chapters  Various bindings  November 2014

Upcycled pages from a discarded novel and Japanese rice paper
Chapters 1, 2, 4 and 5 concertina on board using figure-of-eight stitch
Chapter 3 variation on palm-leaf binding
Page size 100 mm x 120 mm

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Yes no maybe  Leporello in slipcase  November 2014

This book was inspired by the dichotomy that choice provides. Choices have to be made on a daily basis. I like to have as much information as possible when making decisions. Sometimes, choices are simple and straightforward, but often there is just too much information, too much choice, and chaos reigns. The leporello structure of this book can unfold either way: chaotically, so you see a mess of mixed up fragments of YES and NO; or neatly, with yes on one side and no on the other side.

Yes no maybe was shortlisted for the Manly Library Artists Book Awards 2015.

Case measures 88 mm wide x 88 mm high x 46 mm deep
Book page size 80 mm x 80 mm, opens to variable size
Inkjet-printed on Stonehenge using archival pigment inks

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Alphabet pop-up  Abecedarian concertina pop-up  November 2014

Inkjet-printed on Stonehenge using pigment inks
Measures 80 mm w x 100 mm h closed
Concertina opens to about 1.5 metres

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56 circles  Double concertina  October 2014

Inkjet-printed on Zerkall using pigment inks
Each page measures 80 mm x 80 mm
Approximate diameter when open 200 mm

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100 circles  Coptic-bound concertina  October 2014

Inkjet-printed on Zerkall using pigment inks
Each page measures 80 mm x 80 mm
Approximate diameter when open 200 mm

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MCBA Bookish Bash  Altered book cover  July 2014

In July 2014, Minnesota Center for Book Arts held their Unabashedly Bookish Bash. A highlight of this event was the Art Mart, where donated artworks, altered book covers and altered postcards were for sale, the proceeds of which would support MCBA artist programs. The brief for the altered book covers—to go on show in the Cover Up gallery—was to ‘rescue’ an old book, cut off the front or back, and ‘get creative’ with any medium. These were my two contributions.

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Spark  Miniature concertina book  June 2014

Spark was inspired by Dante Alighieri’s quote: ‘A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark.’ It was exhibited in the ASMA (NSW) National Awards Exhibition which was held in the Ewart Gallery, Willoughby, in July 2014.

Inkjet-printed on Zerkall paper using archival pigment inks
Measures 55 mm high x 38 mm wide x 15 mm deep
Concertina measures 720 mm fully extended

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What Katy Did  Concertina book  April 2014

Susan Coolidge’s 1872 novel follows the adventures of 12-year-old Katy, a headstrong and untidy tomboy who is forever getting into mischief, then feeling remorseful afterwards. However she wishes to be good and kind, and dreams of doing something ‘grand’ with her life. When an accident makes her an invalid, her recovery teaches her to be the girl she aspires to be. This artists book consists of 12 double-sided panels: one side made from pages of the original book with words removed to reveal underlying possibility, the other side with new words on a blank slate describing ‘what Katy did’. Together they represent a story rewritten. The panels are bound with twine into a freestanding concertina using figure-of-eight stitch. The twine ends are left long and loose, allowing the playful movement, collision and change that describes young Katy’s life.

What Katy Did won Biblio-Art 2014 (judged by Deborah Klein and Essie Warmuth) and is on permanent display at Blarney Books and Art in Port Fairy, Victoria.

Upcycled book pages, Japanese rice paper, bookcloth
Measures 100 w x 120 h x 80 d mm closed, 1140 mm long fully extended

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Sheet music  Concertina book  January 2014

‘Sheet music’ consists of five verses and six choruses. Six woodblock prints, from an edition I made some time ago, were disassembled and reconfigured into this concertina book where the rhythm of the imagery dictated the structure. A relief pattern, harmony to the chorus, appears on the reverse side. The eleven panels of the concertina can be arranged any number of ways, from tightly zigzagged to fully open, and when handled the pages make a click clack sound.

Thanks to Terence Uren of BEMBindery in Canberra for the inspiration for the structure of this book.

Relief prints and Japanese paper
A/P
Measures  60 x 80 x 50 mm closed, 80 x 780 mm fully open

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Leaves compared with flowers  Coptic book in solander box  August 2013

This book is a homage to the eucalyptus trees that are native to the area where I live. In my view, the importance of plant life in our present day world cannot be underestimated. Trees are not just aesthetically pleasing: they clean the air we breathe and regulate temperature, and as a result enhance our quality of life. On an emotional level, walking in nature, particularly the Australian bush, provides me with strength and renewal. The universal language of Robert Frost’s poem, which has been used for the text, also resonates with me, giving another level of meaning to the beauty of our natural environment, which only adds to the imperative that we need to preserve it. Structurally, the book fans into a flower shape and is housed in a Solander box — a form named for its inventor, botanist Daniel Solander, who played an important role in the history of Australian plants.

Printed on Stonehenge fine art paper using inkjet pigment inks
Edition of 5
Measures 15 x 11.5 x 3 cm closed

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33 rpm Track 2: Killing Joke  Coptic book using recycled street posters  July 2013

Back in the day when Sydney had a thriving indie music scene, those tall, narrow, screenprinted posters stuck to telegraph poles were almost exclusively band posters advertising gig dates. When I saw the proliferation of Killing Joke tour posters recently it reminded me of a time when it seemed like every household had their record. The posters were striking: bold white type on a fire engine red background. This book is made from those posters, complete with stickytape tear marks.

Measures 14.5 x 14 x 9 cm closed

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Kiss Sleeping Beauty Goodbye  Upcycled book  May 2013

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This is a work that came about by chance when I decided to take up the Blarney Books and Art challenge of creating a work referencing, and using, a mystery book from their wheelbarrow. The result is a small sculptural work comprising a snow dome (albeit without water) on a plinth housed in a box. Pages from the book are used throughout: shredded text forms the snow, running heads appear on the base, the jacket spine title is used on the plinth, the title on the box comes from the jacket flap, and the inside of the box is lined with text pages.

As for referencing the book thematically, my Kiss Sleeping Beauty Goodbye snow dome contains an armed robot who is, literally, destroying the outmoded ideas of the ‘formula female’ as represented by traditional fairytales. The shredded pages of the book are used to represent those ideas left in tatters.

Kiss Sleeping Beauty Goodbye was exhibited in the 2013 Biblio-Art Awards at Blarney Books and Art, Port Fairy, Victoria, from June to August 2013.

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Lifecycle Sydney Book Art Group collaboration May 2013

Sydney Book Art Group is a group of nine artists who meet on a regular basis. While not everyone is exclusively a book artist, bookbinding and book arts are what brings us together.

Lifecycle, our first collaboration, consists of about 750 re-used book pages which have been sewn together in strands and are suspended from the Hills hoist by wooden pegs. The pages, each an individual artwork, came from a number of discarded books including The collected works of Henry Kendall, A dictionary of literary quotations, The art of story, a book on plant poisons and a Margaret Fulton cookbook. We agreed on a typographic theme and the use of predominantly warm colours.

Lifecycle was installed in Piers 2 and 3, Walsh Bay, during the 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival.

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33 rpm Track 1  Leporello  April 2013

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This book is about revolution: rebellion, reorganisation and transformation, and more literally rotation, circling and orbiting. Depending on the viewpoint taken, a revolution can be gracefully ordered and mathematically precise, or a dramatic shake-up and metamorphosis.

One side of the page uses typography to represent upheaval and change: the bold and crashing text is intended to be a hard and uncomfortable image, mutinous because it uses words to communicate but is intentionally illegible. The reverse denotes a calm revolving universe, a harmonic dance of spheres. Colour is used to emphasise these opposing interpretations.

Physically, the leporello structure of the book symbolises more than one aspect of revolution. As the pages are lifted from their constraining box, a neat and ordered structure unfolds into chaos—anarchic and out of control. 33 rpm Track 1 also references twentieth-century recorded music. By the nature of its medium—vinyl, compact disk or hard drive—it needs to revolve to be heard, and music itself can bring about personal revolution.

33 rpm Track 1 was awarded a Highly Commended in the 2013 East Gippsland Artist Books Award.

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Mrs Merivale  Flag book  January 2013

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Mrs Merivale combines coloured papers with random fragments from a discarded novel, Patrick White’s A Fringe of Leaves. The text is not intended to be taken literally: the interleaved and fluttering pages of the flag book structure represent conversation and interaction between Mrs Merivale and Miss Scrimshaw, two characters from the novel.

Mrs Merivale was shortlisted for the Manly Library Artist’s Book Award 2013.

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A fork in the road: type bites  BookArtObject Edition 4  December 2012

A fork in the road is title number 35 of BookArtObject Edition 4. BookArtObject is an informal group of book artists who make small editions of artist’s books in response to texts. Edition 4 is based on Sarah Bodman’s book An Exercise for Kurt Johannessen, which you can read about here.

A fork in the road is a series of typographic ‘bites’ and includes a concertina featuring the Robert Frost poem, The road not taken, which you can see here. The book is constructed using oriental binding with a corrugated paper wrap cover which is fastened with a picnic fork. The pages are printed on Hahnemuhle archival photo rag paper using pigment inks. There are 15 books in the edition.

Edition 4 of BookArtObject will be exhibited in two parts: Part One was on show in the Quiet Room at Bower Ashton Library, UWE, Bristol England, in March and April 2013, and Part Two will be exhibited later in the year.

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