Wednesday, 16 May 2018

The ABA Rare Book Fair London, Evolution of a book... in the studio. A re-think.

 It is bizarre, I sit in front of the computer for a portion of every day I am in the studio. I know the potential of the device and am in the shadow of many when it come to realising the potential of this new (new when compared to many other forms of doing things....) device that has changed so many lives and aspects of our everyday lives. It sits on the work desk, allowing me to access a new world that I realise I know so little about. Over time, as new ways of communicating, seeing and being seen have become available, the time worn phrase " the world gets smaller and smaller" is often heard or read.
I am not sure that the world becomes smaller, I believe that I have become smaller as I now realise how small a thing a single life is when compared to the whole of life before during and after.. Any way less of my ramblings. Back to Evolution.

It has taken me sometime but I have, at last, sort of finished the text block for my workshops for the ABA Battersea Evolution, London SW8 4NW .
A combination of a construction technique used by the Pamphleteers, old school cut and paste as used in early Fanzines and the trusty Mac and printer. It has been something of an evolution - from one revolution to another. The finished Booklet/Pamphlet with have an end paper and a semi limp cover.

 I have often said that I combine, perhaps now I am beginning to evolve as well. By drawing into the huge potential of the immediate of the machine I sit in front of, I will be able push my work forward.

 The finished text block combines different skills  from different ages. A combination of the traditional with the now. Perfect.

A B A Book Fair.....

Monday, 7 May 2018

Evolution.. How a book evolves in the studio......

 I suppose the first thing is to have the idea , the notion of what the book will be about. This book is my interpretation of evolution. How something, in this case a book starts, the stages, the cul-de-sacs of thought and doing that follows a path, eventually expiring forcing us to begin a new path, a new process of evolution.

 First the paper is stretched, when dry, the base colour is applied, bold sweeps of sponge and pigment, enhancing the subtle texture of the page.

 As with much work it is often a question of waiting.. waiting. Then the frantic dash, waiting, waiting.....

 Since the Man Booker, last year, I have been enthralled with this little chap. Since his creation, I have wanted to give him a new life and I think that Evolution could be perfect for him.

 Further to my interest in the little chap the copies of him, less eyes and the like (used to create the multiple eyes, noes and mouths held a fascination. A little macabre perhaps, like experiments in evolution, tragically wrong or small steps in the evolutionary process.

 By arranging the various elements on a spreads I am able to create the narrative, a pictorial journey.  The enlarged half tone lends depth and a physical tension. The almost machined, plain factory functionality of the dots reacting with and against the frailty of experimental evolution and an element of the state of human kind.

 Finally the stretched paper is released from board........

 .... and the final spreads cut in preparation for the next process.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Evolution A B A battersea, London.

Cut and paste, with the first image now complete only a few more to go .....

Friday, 20 April 2018

Cut and Paste, Imperial 70 Typwriter.

After a few false starts and looking for my correction/delete pen I have managed to sort the text out and the page numbers. I love the rhythm that the text has, the living line as it were. Next is cut and paste. For those of us born PC (post computer) Cut is done with a knife , scissors or shears. Paste is sticky stuff for adhering stuff to stuff.

Key Board Action for the ABA

Taking my inspiration from the Fanzines I made in my youth, I am working on the text for EVOLUTION... Various Studies.  I have to remember there is no delete button.


Thursday, 19 April 2018

The ABA Rare Book Fair London

With only a few weeks to go to  The ABA Rare Book Fair London I am busy preparing the Artists book for the workshops I will be hosting during the event.

I will be making only 40 of the books which the workshop participants will be able to make during the event, adding their own individual touches to make unique books.

 First I folded a section up, without cutting to get the correct page order, what goes where etc

Then a template in a grid structure to ensure that I have a good base to work from, to ensure that the imagery, text and page numbers will be in alignment. The techniques and methods will, in the main, be BC (Before Computers) 

For FREE TICKETS please follow the link below. Please do not forget to say where you heard about the event...... me  😀


Tuesday, 17 April 2018


The text has been added to the individual spreads, creating the continuity of thought and expression. Work can no begin on the binding.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Flawlessly Chronic Inner Dissatifaction


New work taking shape.

So, what is a book?

So, what is a book?

In idle moments this question pops its head over the parapet of the utter chaos that takes the place of reasonable thought and order that is my mind. A simple question that one may reasonably have thought I would have at least one if not possibly two answers on the tip of my tongue.

To be honest, the more I work with or experience the book the more my thoughts of what a book is or, in fact could be, are enhanced. New works start today. Where I ask myself the question to find possible answers.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

A B A Rare Book Fair, London 2018

It is with a degree of pleasure that I am able to announce that I will be doing my thing at this years ABA rare Book Fair in London... A new venue...

I hope to be able to have a new collection available and to be holding workshops and the like. The event promises to be fun....

/ABA Rare Book Fair

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Creative Bookbinding in Manila.

 This promises to be a very cool couple of days.........

Ortigas Foundation Library. Lecture.......

I think that the poster says it all, except the bit about me being a 'Renowned'  If you can be there it would be great to see you.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

A small rant... What is more important... ?

A small rant... What is more important... ? I hope this post goes a little way in answering a recurring gripe that some of our community have.

Please note that this post contains my individual thoughts and opinions and has nothing to do with any of the organisations or institutions I am a member of or am affiliated with.

I used to teach in institutions where the minimum class numbers were, for example, 12. As I am sure you can imagine or perhaps have experience of .. it is impossible for any tutor to teach a hand, craft-art course to that number of students and expect the students to be able to achieve any degree of success or to realise their full potential. The class has to be geared to the slowest student and the lowest common denominator. This can be both frustrating and embarrassing for all concerned. There is then the wait to use equipment. Board choppers and other capital studio / class room equipment for example. Board choppers take up space and are expensive and in the main have only one use.. so much of the time they are standing idle. But, when the need arises in a workshop or a class room then they are in big demand. It is very rare for there to be one working, 100% board chopper between 4 students, usually there is, at best 2 board choppers in the class room.... One being a little suspect.
A while ago I was delivering a 2 day workshop in book binding that required the students to round and back a text block. There were 14 students and one backing or laying press. It took nearly 3 hours for everyone to back their books. I realise now that I should have checked what equipment was available but when one is told that the work shop had all the equipment necessary for 14 students.... Well, hind sight is a perfect science, lesson noted.

What is more important... ?

I have often heard that my fees are expensive. All is relative. As a tutor my fees are derisory when compared to many institution tutors wages. This is not a moan it is fact. I try to offer a balanced practice and endeavour to ensure that all my students get value for money.... not to ensure that have bought my latest book or have purchased the latest 5 minute wonder gizmo when all that is needed is a kids geometry kit and a length of board. No offence to those who do have a book published or sell wonder gizmos but you know what I mean.

One of the problems is that many courses run by institutions and organisations are subsidised, giving a false idea of the costs to those who are attending. But if people think that sitting around chit chatting for half the day is good value for money while they wait for a piece of equipment to become available....then they can go a head.... Perhaps those students find the idea of working and studying for the whole day a little bit difficult or it is not so important as they are learning for pleasure not learning for a career... the teaching sort of getting in the way of the social side...

What is more important... ?

Now, before I start to be the hate figure in book binding it is important to realise that, in the UK at least, the number of Book binding and Book Arts courses are on the decline.. to the point that there are non except a very small hand full. Nearly all of those courses are attended by people who have been going for years (They remember the previous 2 tutors) and are there for the social side of things... Those wishing to learn for a career find it increasingly difficult to find space on any course. If they do it is more often than not a couple of hours a week without any form of progressive education that is constructive or offers a learning pathway.

What is more important... ?

As I said to small group (5) who attended my last UK Master Class... "If you think this is going to be a social event, the door is just there. We are here to learn, experience and work. This Master Class is about you getting as much as possible from the 2 days.. It is about you and not me". .... Do you know something? everyone who attended completed the work. Produced some amazing work that really stretched them to new levels.

What is more important... ?

So, what is good value for money? Non of the students in Studio 5 are wasting time waiting 3 hours to use a piece of equipment and then being shown the next step...... It is not rocket science to understand value for money. I understand the fee situation, I do try to be as fair as I possibly can.

What is more important...

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Things sometimes do not happen...

Since my last Blog entry things have not gone to plan. For reasons beyond my control and beyond the reasoning of any ordinary person the year has ended as I and many other people would have wished.

Lessons have been learnt and we move on.

I feel a new book is in the air......

Friday, 6 October 2017

Mark Cockram Solo in New York.

Mark Cockram in New York.

First Solo U.S. Show for Book Artist Mark Cockram Opens Today

The Center for Book Arts (CBA) opens its latest exhibit this evening dedicated to the work of British artist and CBA faculty fellow Mark Cockram. Beyond the Rules includes examples of Cockram’s creative bookbinding and book artistry. His multi-dimensional, multi-textual book sculptures reflect Cockram’s all-encompasing fascination with the book as art object.
Cockram Inferno Limbo.jpg
“I work with the book,” Cockram said. “Within the book, an infinitely complex array of materials and techniques come together and combine with a history as rich and diverse as we who create and use it. I often refer to the book in its totality as Alchemy.” Adept at working with traditional bookbinding methods, Cockram will often modify or develop new techniques as each project unfolds, depending on how he feels the text would best be served by a particular binding. Recent work has led him to create art with “up-cycled,” or creatively repurposed materials.

Though the exhibit itself only encompasses six books, each reveals Cockram’s careful consideration of both the textual elements and authorial intent. The eclectic list includes an art book inspired by The Divine Comedy, an homage to artist Joseph Cornell, and a reinterpretation of The Four Gospels.

As a professional bookbinder, artist, and teacher, Cockram’s work has been displayed at the National Art Library at London’s V&A Museum, the Library of Congress, the British Library, the Grolier Club, and in private collections worldwide. Beyond the Rules, however, is Cockram’s first solo show in the United States.

Beyond the Rules is on display at the Center for Book Arts through December 16.
                                                                                                                                                                   Also happening this weekend in Cambridge, Massachusetts: Nick Basbanes presents his observations from working with primary source material at the Longfellow House for his forthcoming dual biography entitled Cross of Snow: The Love Story and Lasting Legacy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  A cake reception will precede the lecture at 2 p.m, which will be held at the Sherrill Library at Lesley University on 89 Brattle Street in Cambridge. The lecture is free to the public.
                                                                                                                                                                          Image: Inferno Limbo. Credit: Abby Schoolman

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Lincoln In The Bardo , Man Booker Finalist Binding.

Lincoln In The Bardo. Man Booker finalist presentation binding 2017. The binding structure is finished, now for the fun part. The binding will be in a Bradel binding style, double board, disappearing spine, leather jointed end papers and stuff.
I have managed to locate my 1862 London Illustrated News and the Pres' Lincoln bit in 1882 (9th Edition) Encyclopaedia Britannica. Further reading and gleaning...

 It always pays to have more than one avenue of research available. In my 1950 Encyclopaedia Britannica a photo of Pres' Lincoln dated Jan 3rd 1861. Near enough to use.