Sunday, July 27, 2014

#67 Mise en place (signed, sealed & delivered)

Countless cubes and months later, my BookArtObject title, Mise en place, has finally been designed, printed, scored, trimmed, folded, packaged up & sent into the world.

The process of creating a finished book from that first tiny seed of an idea is always quite an undertaking. I was grateful for the loose deadline afforded by BAO; though I somewhat abused it, the piece was able to take as long as it needed to find its natural conclusion. 

I finished production of the BAO edition just before leaving for the US in early June, and decided I might as well send them from there since the recipients in my group all live in North America. But I didn't actually manage to get them mailed until the day I flew back to Italy—too much going on, and too many people & places to see! Everyone should have received them by now, so here are some photos...

The image above shows what each artist in my group would have found once they loosened the kitchen string used to tie up the small package. (The wrapping is one of those papers encasing the odd orange here in Italy; these are always kind of special to find, so I collect them) I also included a note written on a flat card printed with the pomegranate that appears on the first/largest little booklet-cube in the set. Via email each artist received instructions on how to assemble the accordion-folded booklets into a set of four gradated cubes ranging from 5x5x5 to 8x8x8 centimeters (just under 2" to a little over 3").

I am continuing to sort through the notes I kept during the project, so more on the process/evolution/method/media—plus photos of the cubes assembled—yet to come...

Monday, June 23, 2014

#70: Intolerable Cruelty

Hello, BookArtObject! Some of you may know that I am a hand papermaker and that I'm currently in Buenos Aires apprenticing with master papermaker, Alejandro Geiler. It has taken me a while to settle in, which is why this post is so overdue. My apologies! I took on the title 'Intolerable Cruelty" for my second book in the Book Art Object Edition #4. Taking the title as a prompt, I wrote a poem.

Here is the poem:


Cold Feet

I misplaced my hat, or someone
lifted it but swiftly, and with
intolerable cruelty.

Memories return
of me
me and hat,

and how it once sat
over head.

Overheard it's way out to
             positioned itself in the Icehotel.

40,000 tons all’s told, all
Torne River ice and
Torne River snow, and

hundreds of heads wanting warming.

My lovely.
            (My silly icy head.)


Most of all, I wanted the book structure to communicate a feeling of loss and the drawn-out, frozen in time state that comes with mourning. I chose an accordion fold structure. It allowed me to glue the spine of the first and last parts of the story to give a sense of fixation and being stuck in a memory. The part where the hat is off on a new adventure is left expandable, with an unglued spine.

The whole book was screen-printed on Mohawk text weight paper and I printed the hat separately on a synthetic felt material. The cover paper is Cave Paper- Granite. The pages in the first part of the book had cut-outs, so the hat was part of the story on the page but when you turned the page it was gone.

Here is a photo of the expandable section of the book:

I lined the back of the pages with paste paper I made with my friend, Peter Verheyen. If you're curious about the process, I wrote a blog post about it here: Finger Painting, But Better. Much Better.

I hope that my little book has made it to all of my group members. I've enjoyed becoming part of this community and project! Looking forward to the next edition.

If you want to follow along with my Buenos Aires paper adventure, you can find me at The Fiber Wire: Plugged in and Turned On. All Paper. All the Time. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hello, All! My second book for this edition went out in the mail yesterday. This one was based off of title #70 Intolerable Cruelty. I wrote a little poem and made a little book, well several little books. More soon once I know the books have arrived to the Group 12 members!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Who's making books for the Personal Histories exhibition ?

As I am struggling I thought I would ask if any of you are making artists books for this exhibition?
I would love to hear from you.?

How you have interpreted the theme and so on and what kind of approach you are taking with it.

hope you are all keeping well.

best regards


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nearly there

I am a straggling Group 7 artistwho is much farther behind than she would likebut the finish line finally appears to be in sight. I thought I would motivate myself by posting a hint of what is shortly to is only a composite test print, which does not reveal the final format or structure. There are a few more images in my latest Arzigogolare entry, but I will save the proper unveiling, both here & there, until the other artists in my group receive their copies. (I will be emailing Group 7 this week to double-check addresses.)

Many thanks for the opportunity (& patience, as I see my piece to its meandering conclusion)—but, most of all, for the inspiring work that has been created for BAO Edition #4.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Roni Gross - I See You Everywhere

I don't like double posting but its been a bit quiet on here :-) Just thought I'd share a little about a lovely exhibiton I saw today.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Not the Great Library of Alexandria.....

If you followed or took part in Edition 3 of BAO, you will know that we were inspired by a piece of writing by Jeanette Winterson describing her vision of the Great Library of Alexandria.

"400,000 volumes in vertiginous glory.
The Alexandrians employed climbing boys much in the same way as the Victorians employed sweeps. Unnamed bipeds, light as dust, gripping with swollen fingers and toes, the nooks and juts of sheer-faced walls." 

Well, I could not resist sharing this link to Erik Kwakkel's wonderful blog post, showing the library at Sakya Monastery in Tibet. I'm amazed how closely it resembled the image I had in my mind after reading Winterson's words. Thankfully no climbing boys to be seen!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Back on the Blog

I managed to get through my childhood with no broken bones but in middle age have broken one ankle, strained a wrist and on Christmas evening on an after-dinner walk, broke the fifth metatarsal of my left foot. (Should I be giving out this many specifics?) It's been so long since I blogged comfortably that I'm no longer sure what constitutes a dangerous level of indiscretion.

One of the reasons I stopped blogging, besides getting very busy with adjunct teaching work, was that I felt too uncomfortable, almost shunned or shunted from the sphere. This emotion, familiar but hard to name, was thanks to the creepy lurking of a former beau from college days. We're talking the Nixon administration here. This man has been in touch off and on since the mid-1980s and the "relationship" shifted from an enjoyable dinner simply catching up with an old friend to a dishonest attempt at further contact (a letter on his employer's letterhead with that address.) An old hand at that game, I demurred.
Several years later another contact, also just this side of dishonest, some long conversations about incipient middle age (the early 90s) where I felt like a dial-a-shrink and was too dishonest myself (i.e., too nice) to demand an end to matters.

There's a point of no return in this sort of relationship where the point is reached without my recognizing it. I think, well, that was creepy or I'm glad I cancelled that dinner and I'll never accept another invite (he would pop up in Atlanta periodically) or that's done without saying too much, etc and up to don't call me and a furiously honest email to finally the trickery of using anonymous comments on a blog to connect.  Oh, no. the last attempt was to purchase my editing expertise for his "writings." When it doubt, pay for it. Hopefully, he has found another hooker.

I'm taking back the blog.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Some of you are, I think , members of this wonderful group. And some of you may have chanced upon them on Facebook.
But, in case you have not yet dipped your toe in this magical pond... here is their Facebook link:

And, in case you do not "do" Facebook, a link to their blog:

A further teaser...

Happy New Year to all book artists!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

BAO4 on show

Hello all

Apologies for a late update on the exhibition that Terence and I have put together here in Canberra: I have been super busy, plus I've been hoping that the official UNSWC photographer who covered the opening would send me his pictures, but they haven't arrived, and I had a space this morning so I'll just work with what I have!

What I have isn't too shabby. I've just uploaded a stack of photos into Flickr so head over there to see everything. Here's a few shots of the space, which is pretty stunning (they have given it a makeover since my solo show there last year).

I know that I haven't documented every book in the flickr set, apologies. And Sara's book turned up after this photo session, and it got inserted into one of the horizontal cases, so I'll update those images next time I get a chance.

The opening was fabulous, this institution do such a wonderful job. I'll put up photos when they arrive (I was going to take my own, but there was too much to do and a proper photographer walking around!).

Many thanks to Terence, who just loves playing with a space, and who went at those couches like a small boy with Lego:

We had a lot of fun, and I learned a lot about book structures from Terence's excellent structural vocabulary.

And many thanks to the UNSW Canberra team: Lisa Morisset, Rachel Hunter, Yvonna Gruszka, Denise Shepherd, Lyn Christie, and all the nice librarians.

I hope, if you're in the region, you get to see the show, otherwise we will keep adding to the flickr set and make it well-documented!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Yesterday, my postman delivered a pretty blue envelope, bearing an English stamp. I must confess that, with so many other things happening this year, I had forgotten that some books are still being finished so I was pleasantly surprised to find Gillian Neish's book "When Memory Fades"  inside.

Gillian's business card, tucked under the elastic closure.

"Faded" typeface.

The cover, with colophon.

Thank you, Gillian.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I am posting this for a friend:

Call for Proposals
2014 Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project in Taiwan
“Fishing for a Better Environment”

Artists from all countries are invited to send a proposal for a site-specific outdoor sculpture installation that will celebrate the seafood producers and fishermen of Cheng Long village in Taiwan and raise awareness about environmental issues relating to seafood production, the main livelihood of Cheng Long residents.  The artworks will be created during a 25-day artist-in-residency in Taiwan working with the community and school children from April 10 to May 5, 2014.  Selected artists will receive a stipend (about US$2000), round trip airfare, accommodations and meals, volunteer help and free recycled and natural materials.  For more information and to apply, see the Blog at or contact Curator Jane Ingram Allen at

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

BAO opening in Canberra

Hello all

The exhibition of BAO books that Terence and I are putting together here in Canberra got a bit delayed while we waited for the venue to purchase some new glass vitrines; I'd put an argument forward that if they doubled their cabinets from 3 to 6, they could have many more exhibitions of special books and objects from their own collection, and that worked a treat. Unfortunately they took a couple of months to arrive!

So, finally the new cabinets arrived, as did a number of late works sent by our groups (1, 4, 6, 9) and some others that were swapped with us from other groups, and now we are on the brink of opening on Thursday evening. Here's the invite:

Doesn't it look great! What you are seeing is two sides of a DL card, conflated as one image. We chose Tara Bryan's book for the image because it was just so eye-catching, and had to laugh when we realised that the title is 'Making Bread (Not Bombs)', because the venue is a university for the Defence Forces.

The  UNSW Canberra (ADFA) Library, might be for military purposes, but it has civilian value. It has an amazing collection of Australian literature manuscripts and also a lot of art and maps and rare books. It is a also more public library than people realise, with very generous opening hours:
Monday-Thursday 8am - 9pm
Friday 8am - 5pm
Saturday and Sunday 1pm - 5pm

The opening is at 5pm, if anyone happens to be in the area, but the show runs until 28 November, so if you are in Canberra, drop in and have a look. We are tweaking the space today, and UNSW Canberra Library has mounted a webpage that will continue to develop over the next few weeks as we take more photos and provide links to artists.

I'll be back, with images of the show and the opening, later in the week. Thanks to everyone involved, and to all the artists: your work looks fabulous!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A quick hello from Impact 8...

... where our Edition Four books are causing quite a stir!  There was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing about whether I had an exhibition or an Open Books session at the conference in addition to my paper, but in the end I was lucky enough to get an exhibition slot (which is what I thought I'd got in the first place!) and laid out a long plinth with a selection of the books we sent to Sarah Bodman.  Sarah kindly brought them up with her in the car from Bristol, saving me the effort of bringing them over in my suitcase.

I think my talk went OK: I did a slideshow of lots of BAO Edition Four photos, plus a more detailed investigation of selected works: thank you to Caren, Helen and Jack for giving me permission to use their work for my talk and for sharing their words with me as I put it together.   I was talking about my journey as a printmaker into artists' books and how they function in my practice.  Anyway, I managed NOT to fluff my words, the technology worked for a change (I turned up with 3 different technological versions of the slide show and 2 printed versions of my talk!) and I had fun.

When I set out I had visions of mobile blogging from the airport onwards, but it hasn't quite turned out that way and I'm finding myself slightly frustrated with not being able to share more with you at the moment.  My guesthouse has a Wi-Fi connection but it's not robust enough for me to be able to do much in the way of uploading photos, and for some reason my phone I mean camera :-) has ceased to connect automatically to my laptop which means it isn't uploading photos to the laptop, which makes everything a bit difficult.  However, don't feel too sorry for me as I am writing this, sitting in the Macmanus Gallery in Dundee with a nice café latte, a packet of Scottish tablet (a lovely creamy fudge which I haven't eaten in over 30 years) in my pocket, surrounded by the accents of my childhood.  And in the few days I've been here I've had two brilliant trips into Arbroath, 17 miles up the coast, exploring the sea cliffs where my father took photographs almost 50 years ago, and looking around the town where generations of his family came from. 

Dundee has put on all sorts of print-related activities during the conference and I had a gallery-crawl last night, lubricated with a couple of glasses of Shetland Islands gin and tonic. At Dundee Contemporary Arts I thoroughly enjoyed an exhibition of Sister Carita (must check the name, but I think that's right), a nun in 1960 - 1970s LA who taught art and art history. These are her rules of creativity, and I think I'm going to print them out and stick them on my studio wall, as well as ram them down the throats of my students.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fiona's Book is on Huffington Post

Fiona Dempster's contribution to Edition 4, A Subversive Stitch, is being featured on the Huffington Post as part of a slide show promoting the upcoming 500 Handmade Books vol. 2. Only 7 books are featured.

From The Huffington Post