February 5, 2016
May 23, 2013
Here is what I sent to Rach.
First a little about my process…
I studied some Barnacles from photos I had taken at the beach. I also have some stuck to a mussel shell that my Mum found on the beach and gave to me. I drew some and then carved the shapes out of a lovely soft printing block. I was given this block by a good friend and have fallen in love with it. Unfortunately it is no longer made! It was very easy to carve (once I had doubled my original drawing size, as the way I started was just impossible to carve. It was far too small and detailed. I am a complete print-making amateur so it has all been trial and error). I tested the print with green ink and this helped me to see where the ink was catching and where I needed to carve a bit more.
I also created a pattern based on a photo I took of gentle waves coming into shore. I printed this with silver ink.
Once it was dry I added the barnacle shapes.
This was my initial intention for the finished project. I wanted to do something to mark (celebrate!) the fact that I now live on the coast, and just found the two patterns (waves and barnacles) and combined them. However, I recently attended a book-making workshop and thought that I could present this print in the form of a book. I flipped through my new book-making book (Making Handmade Books by Alisa Golden) and really liked the concertina design with pockets. I realised I could put two prints together and make four pockets. So then I needed to think of something to put IN the pockets. I know that Rachael likes poetry so I googled for “barnacle poem” not thinking that anyone would have written about barnacles. How wrong I was!
I found this beautiful poem by Sydney Lanier:
My soul is sailing through the sea,
But the Past is heavy and hindereth me.
The Past hath crusted cumbrous shells
That hold the flesh of cold sea-mells
About my soul.
The huge waves wash, the high waves roll,
Each barnacle clingeth and worketh dole
And hindereth me from sailing!
Old Past let go, and drop i’ the sea
Till fathomless waters cover thee!
For I am living but thou art dead;
Thou drawest back, I strive ahead
The Day to find.
Thy shells unbind! Night comes behind,
I needs must hurry with the wind
And trim me best for sailing.
Sidney Lanier – Macon, Georgia, 1867.
I also found a Haiku:
What have you ever achieved?
But never lonely.
and a quote from Marina Tsvetaeva from her essay: Poets with History and Poets without History:
The wave always returns,
and always returns as a different wave
And lastly I found a reference to barnacles in a book I have called “Longshore Drift” by Katrina Porteous (with fantatic images by James Dodds, a print-maker and painter):
Katrina Porteous – Longshore Drift
Deadmen’s Finger – a type of sea anemone
Spotty Dog – dog fish
Stingers – sting ray
Peelers – soft green crabs
Weever – a stinging fish
So along with the CJT8 brief, I had all four pockets filled.
I made a cover, and called the book “Littoral” which is a word I learned in French, it means “coastal” generally, but can also mean the area between the high and low tide marks that is undefined as land or sea. I like that there is a word for this space.
I cut this cover in half to make the front and back. It is made of a textured white card. The cut intentionally goes through one of the barnacle prints, so that even though the back spine is open, the design joins up when the two halves sit side-by-side.
The print-making process was very long and involved a lot of experimentation. As I made four books, and each included two of the silver prints, as well as a cover and each of the poems, there were a lot of prints to be made. I also had to plan how they would be made into the book pages and position the printing in preparation for that. There were some mistakes and some splodges but I had a limited amount of time, energy, paper and space! Some of the mistakes were carried over into the finished books. I had help from my partner with the print-making. She was absolutley invaluable as she fetched and carried the paper before and after printing so that I did not have to keep getting up, as well as cleaning and tidying up for me. It still took us hours!
Here is a picture of some of the prints drying (this took at least three days, as the ink is oil-based)
Here is what the finished product looks like. These pictures are of two books, showing what each side looks like.
This is the front cover and the book when open, showing the front and back covers, and the two silver prints inside.
Here is the front cover with the reverse side open, showing the pockets with the poems in them.
May 22, 2013
Here is what Rachael sent to me: First a little book about the process. I re-lived her thoughts and experiences with every flip of the page.
Then the actual prints! She labelled them for me…
Second (more careful) attempt:
Variation on a theme:
My fave (disco remix):
They are cards. Inside each one was a message about our project and what it means to her. I love the messages and the prints too. Getting each printed card out of it’s envelope was like following the print-making journey. Fabulous presentation!
May 21, 2013
March 18, 2013
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I went to a bookmaking workshop recently and was asked if I wanted to take part in a project by the workshop leader. The brief was to respond to the title “Fragments of Memory and/or Desire”. I might say more about it later and about the wider context of the project, but for now, here is what I produced. She is asking lots of people to do a postcard sized response and will make them into a book to submit to the project.
I am really happy to be part of the project and that I managed to produce something in a very short space of time (the deadline has already passed!)
Here is some further info about the project:
Fragments of Memory and Desire
al-Mutanabbi Street starts here
On March 5th 2007, a car bomb exploded on
al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, the heart of the literary and intellectual community.
More than 30 people were killed and more than 100 wounded. In July 2010, Beau Beausoleil and Sarah Bodman put out a call for 260 book artists to make work that reflected this attack on both the “street of the booksellers” as well as the ultimate futility of those who try to erase thought. And so the ‘al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here’ coalition was born.
This project is both a lament and a commemoration of the power of words.
One complete set of all the books will be donated to the Iraq National Library in Baghdad. The other two sets will become touring collections.
Proceeds from sales or other fund raising are being donated to the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres. If you would like to make a donation you can do so online:
March 8, 2012
I posted the brief for CJT2 here. Here is what we did.
We both created a starting image then swapped. Here is mine:
The background pattern I took from The Yellow Book of Creative Colouring, by John Adams Toys (aged 8 and upwards!). I have had this colouring book for decades – it is so cool! Just geometric lines. I hope publishing my work here is not a copyright issue, after all, I just did some creative colouring! I also traced most of the seagulls from somewhere but as they don’t look much like the originals now, I don’t think it is a big problem. I am so confused when I use/change other people’s work where the lines fall about right and wrong. I am not making money but I am publishing here… Ideally I would like to just draw my own pattern and birds totally from scratch but it would have taken me much longer and used more energy than I had. But that doesn’t make it right. Hmm. A bit disappointed in myself. Didn’t think I would feel so bad about it. From now on you will be seeing my own (probably terrible) drawing skills exhibited, or at least ones done from tracing photos that I have taken myself!
Anyway, here is what she sent to me:
I love what she has done with my original image. She copied it so that she could paint on it, as my copier left the lines water soluble (I tested it before sending). The red was lost but so much gained! Look carefully for the fish – they are sparkling silver on the original. She has put so much work into this and I think it is so exciting to be working together and making things we wouldn’t have otherwise.
Here is what I did with hers:
I struggled to come up with a way to make her image into something different, apart from interesting colouring in I was a bit stumped and I didn’t want to erase the original meaning of the self-portrait about the missing filling. I am happy in the end with what I produced, but think she did a much better job on this one!
Text reads: You want to put your filling under your pillow? Yes I see the hole.
Well, scrap metal prices are high and teeth have dropped in value. What? You thought I did this from the goodness of my heart?
Tell you what – Get a quote for replacing your filling and I will pay for it.
BUT! You must buy an electric toothbrush ‘coz I want my assets kept super-healthy from now on.
Yes! The only money I make these days is from the “final collection” as I call it.
So do we have a deal?
Put your filling and the quote under your pillow tonight.
January 15, 2012
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This was an inpromptu addition to the CJT project. I was having trouble finding the time/energy to do my part of CJT2 and didn’t want to change to something easier than what I had in my head, so to keep a sense of momentum with the project, I sent my friend No.3 to do in the meantime. It was nice and quick and we both enjoyed it!
Creative Joyful Thing No.3
*Write a Haiku*
This is my favourite Haiku at the moment:
Climb Mount Fuji,
But slowly, slowly!
~ Kobayashi Issa
Haiku is an unrhymed, syllabic form adapted from the Japanese: three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Because it is so brief, a haiku is necessarily imagistic, concrete and pithy, capturing a single moment in a very few words.
Because the form has been brought into English from a language written in characters, in which a haiku appears on a single line, many poets writing haiku in English are flexible about the syllable and line counts, focusing more on the brevity, condensed form and “Zen” attitude of haiku. The traditional Japanese haiku requires some reference to nature or the season.
Here is my Haiku:
Picked on December 15th
You are beautiful
It was about a bunch of misshapen and partially formed flowers that I had found still struggling to bloom, despite the fact that they should be dead at this time of year. It was a pink rose and some blue anemones. In actual fact I could have picked them a few days ago, almost the same, a month later! We have had a mild winter so far, though it is very frosty today.
And here are the TWO Haiku Rachael sent to me (I am spoilt!)
The cover of the first (they were sent inside little cards)
Charcoal and dark amethyst
Sky promises storm
And here is the second one:
She particularly liked the structure of the words in this one, being 3, 5, 3:
O wing-ed brethren
Help me! With unfeathered wings
Earthbound I remain