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.



Thursday, 21 September 2017

Lincoln In The Bardo, Man Booker Binding 2017. End bands.

Now that the edge decoration is complete I can start on the end bands.... the end bands are sewn in silk with a one needle technique. Simple, stylish and practical.
The End bands, such little things but oh so important.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Lincoln In The Bardo. Man Booker Binding 2017

Lincoln In The Bardo. Man Booker 2017. The more I read the more I begin to understand what is and is not happening. A little research and lots of reading can go a long way when designing a book. I am not going to spell out the text page by page as I would encourage you to read the book. However, my design is being informed by the voices, some 166 voices. Simply, Bardo is a Tibetan/Buddhist term that sort of refers to the state of between lives or incarnations. A sort of limbo if you will. The text swirls and twists around two central figures, President Lincoln and his son Willie. One of which dies very early on and the other sort of does not realise what is happening around him. I am starting to work on the edges of the text block. I realise that it is sort of breaking the rules but I want the colour on the edge to creep onto the surface of the pages, as if the book has been immersed or dipped in a pool of blood or some similar viscous bodily fluid. What fun !

 The fore edge during the decorative process. I feel that it is important for the end papers/doublers to tie in with the edges in some way.
 The edge near completion. The light white over wash just knocks the colour back and gives a sense of movement to the edge.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Man Booker 2017, the first few days.

For me at least, the start of the Man Booker month is slow. I do not wish to imply that I am sitting around drinking cups of interesting coffee. No, I am reading, formulating design rationales, then reworking them.. One of the aspects of the Man Booker is that one usually sits at the same table as ones author, they are alive. Trust me, it is not often, as a book binder that one works with living authors and the like. So when they ask 'What inspired your design?' it is best not to be fumbling around in the dark for the next thing to say. The sections have been trimmed, sewing positions marked and the end papers made. Let sewing begin. http://themanbookerprize.com/fiction
This book is complicated. The dialogue is in dead conversation. By this I mean that the characters in the book are dead. The dialogue is layered, contradictory and paced. I have the beginnings of the design bouncing around my sketch book, brain and backs of Red Lion Menus.
http://www.red-lion-barnes.co.uk/

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Man Booker 2017

It is that time of year again.... Man Booker 2017..

Friday, 8 September 2017

Inferno.





There are many reasons why I enjoy working with the book. It is only over the last few days that I have discovered that for the last few years I have been on a journey... I feel like a student again, that sense of finding out, of gaining skills and knowledge. New paths to follow and who knows.. new paths to create.
I will never loose the simple pleasure of working with wonderful books and collectors that encourage and excite the imagination.

I feel the desire, the need to rediscover, for myself at least, the theatre of the book. I would like to start to work in larger formats and to explore in more depth the art of the book that I now realise I have kept on the back burner for too long.

It will be interesting to see how I balance the work and what transpires.


Inferno... Finished.

 Finally Inferno is finished and will begin its journey to New York (USA not North Lincolnshire UK) to be exhibited alongside other recent works in an exhibition. Please follow the link to a 'Live' recording of a recent face book page blast....
Inferno

For more information regarding the exhibition at the Center for Book Arts please follow the CBAlink 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Inferno. Exotic Tours and othe studio stuff.




Various aspects of Inferno. Inferno will be forming part of my exhibition at the Center for Book Arts in New York (in New York State not North Lincolnshire) I am very excited about this event as this will be my first solo show with books.






Top. The binding for Exotic Tours. Below, page details. I am happy.


Thursday, 3 August 2017

In Limbo.

In Limbo, part of the first spread for Inferno.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Plan B and Selected Material on show.



 I am very pleased with the cunning plan of using mirrors to allow the viewer to see the text block and the binding at the same time. I think this is very important as the totality of the book is easier to understand.

 A twist, the text block is on show with the binding being viewed via the mirrors.


Plan B and Selected Material on show at the Art Workers Guild In Bloomsbury, London. http://www.artworkersguild.org/

Thank you Leigh for the images  (iphone)

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Output.....

The pleasure of old school conversations, face to face, a glass of cordial or another form of refreshing beverage and an open bag of crisps. Clear evening sun light streaming through the pub window after the hurried flurry of a summer rain storm.

In a series of conversations I have been having with a much respected friend over a number of months, our topics have been diverse and often entertaining. One of our more recent diversions has kept our attention for some time, a subject we return to with fresh vigour. I thought I might share, as it raises a number of issues that either may or are having an effect on my work. The theme is .. output of work.

In my youth I painted, I sold and I lived by my work. Yes, I did chalk drawings of popular animated cartoons and you would often find me sitting with my portfolio in Castle Square, pen and ink with water colour wash of Lincoln Cathedral and other land marks in my home city.

I would paint on wood and found objects, canvas and clothes. Commissions and selling at  exhibitions, either solo or group. For these exhibitions I would not think twice about producing upwards or 20 works for exhibition in a few months. I do not mean I was working on the posh shop production line style, more it was my job and I worked 6 days a week for a minimum of 7 hours a day…. A job, not a few hours a week in an evening class or as a nice thing to do on a Sunday afternoon. So my output reflected the work involved, the hours worked and the medium. There were complicated works from ~Bricollage~ through to flat stuff.  My work then, as it is now, followed a stream or streams of thoughts or themes. To explore or re-examine, to stretch the perspective of the viewers involvement. Trying new materials and ways of working..

I would be commissioned to paint a view of a clients house or whatever.. as long as it had a little bit of ‘Cockram’ in it they were happy. With repeat clients I would always endeavour to keep the work fresh and in context whilst trying to bring out the individual nature of the work in progress.
One client asked for works of their house, same view in the seasons. In effect four views. It was great in the summer but as the year moved on the weather changed. I wanted to capture the way the limestone used in the building of the house (Circa 16th century) changed in the different light and weathers.  Dashing to either photograph the house in chilling sleet ( a mixture of snow, ice and rain) or gale force winds all at the same time of day in the middle of each season is no fun. By the end of the year I had finished the four views, the client was delighted. There was a hanging party, I talked about the work showed my notes, photographs and sketches. That much I remember. Oh yes, I got paid, in retrospect about the equivalent  as I would for four of my design bindings  today.  Needless to say the four views were not my sole output for the year….

Looking back I cannot find a time, when at any one point I was told I was producing too much work, working too fast or spending too long on a particular theme. In fact I was often asked if I had more work to show… This is often the case with artists. They work on more that one piece at a time, not sitting around waiting for the paint to dry but making the most of their time or mood etc.

It is the same in nearly all aspects of making or doing jobs.  Professionals work to the best of their ability, to the maximum output without compromising the quality of the work. The Kitchen Porter for example.. if he/she is able to work quickly to the required standard no-one is going to complain.. In-fact, if the pots and pans are cleaned quickly then the KP is to be congratulated.

There is a fabulously rich and diverse history of the artist and multiples.  Posters, limited edition prints, unique prints, sculpture, ceramics, themes and so on being utilised by the artist as a platform to communicate and of course to earn a living. Many iconic artists have used the impact and immediacy of the quickly made multiple or ready-made to great effect. No one thinks twice about an artist producing an extensive body of work on a theme for an exhibition, in fact it is expected.

I have worked in the field of fine contemporary binding since graduating from college some years ago. Over the years I have not lost my interest in the wider field of the arts and indeed I draw from my experiences and incorporate them in my work. I think that it may be fare to say that I try to push myself and my work when it comes to working with the book. I try to respond to the book. 

I understand the constraints when working with the book, the many complex materials and mediums coming together all of this combined with a history as rich and diverse as we who created and use it. I often refer to the book in its totality as Alchemy. I choose to work with the book, it is my chosen medium for the simple fact that it can be all artistic mediums and expressions.

Over the last few years I have been exploring the more artistic side of my work and my output.
It has meant taking a back seat, concentrating on finding a way of working that is suitable for me. I have been very fortunate in working with a number of artists from different disciplines from around the world. This has given me the chance to step away from the sometimes corseted world of fine binding.

Recently I have been working with a structure for the text block referred to as Drum Leaf. This structure is attributed to Tim Ely, a much respected and likeable book artist based in the USA. I have found the  method of text block production to be an answer and a perfect vehicle for the way I am currently working.

Monday, 17 July 2017

News for release: Friday 14th July 2017, Poet Kate Wakeling wins CLiPPA



Press Release – Friday 14th July
Winner announced for CLiPPA 2017 (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award)
  • Kate Wakeling announced as CLiPPA 2017 winner
  • More than 1000 children took part in the 15th anniversary celebration for the award
  • UK school children performed on stage alongside shortlisted poets at National Theatre


News for release: Friday 14th July 2017, 1600: Poet Kate Wakeling wins CLiPPA 2017 for her first collection for children, Moon Juice, illustrated by Elīna Brasliņa, published by The Emma Press.
Rachel Rooney, Poet and Chair of the CLiPPA 2017 judges praised the winning book; Moon Juice is a book brimming with surprises. Some of the poems are playful, some are more thoughtful but all of them draw the reader into worlds that both delight and convince. Kate Wakeling tunes us into the musicality of words, the pauses between, and the white space on the page - making the poems equally pleasing to the eye as to the ear. This is a skilled and confident debut collection that demonstrates the power and breadth of poetry for children. Yes, Moon Juice is infused with subtle and unusual tastes and it refreshes - exactly as the title suggests.”
Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said: “At CLPE we live and breathe poetry. We know it offers a path to literacy learning for all children whatever their age, cultural background or personal experience. This is the 15th Anniversary of CLiPPA, our annual Poetry Award and I am thrilled to say that children’s poetry is thriving. Judging by the increased number of books submitted this year incorporating a variety of poetic forms, we see a bright future ahead for this significant strand of children’s literature. Moon Juice and all the shortlisted titles deserve their places in this, our largest ever celebration of children’s poetry.”
Booked by Kwame Alexander, published by Andersen Press, was highly commended.
Run by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education since 2003, the annual Poetry Award is the only one of its kind in the UK, encouraging and celebrating outstanding poetry published for children. The announcement was made at the finale of The Poetry Show at the Olivier in the National Theatre, a lively celebration of poetry with children at its heart. CLiPPA 2017 shortlisted poets alongside winners of the children’s Shadowing Scheme and poet and chair of judges Rachel Rooney performed to a packed house of poets, educators, publishers, media and schools. Former Children’s Laureate, author, illustrator and political cartoonist Chris Riddell brought the ceremony to life, live-drawing the whole event from the stage.
Kate received a cheque for £1000 and both Kate and Kwame received beautifully bound copies of their book created by bookbinder, Mark Cockram.
More than 6000 children from 196 schools from across the UK took part in the Shadowing Scheme, an increase of more than 160% on schools participating in 2016.  The Shadowing Schools submitted 250 films of children performing their favourite poems from the shortlist. The winning performers were invited to the National Theatre to meet the shortlisted poets and take part in specially planned theatre workshops. The winning children then performed on the Olivier stage alongside the shortlisted poets before the winner announcement.
CLiPPA is made possible by the generous support of Arts Council England, Crest Nicholson, The Ernest Cook Trust and St Olave's Foundation Fund.
for her first collection for children, Moon Juice, illustrated by Elīna Brasliņa, published by The Emma Press.
Rachel Rooney, Poet and Chair of the CLiPPA 2017 judges praised the winning book; Moon Juice is a book brimming with surprises. Some of the poems are playful, some are more thoughtful but all of them draw the reader into worlds that both delight and convince. Kate Wakeling tunes us into the musicality of words, the pauses between, and the white space on the page - making the poems equally pleasing to the eye as to the ear. This is a skilled and confident debut collection that demonstrates the power and breadth of poetry for children. Yes, Moon Juice is infused with subtle and unusual tastes and it refreshes - exactly as the title suggests.”
Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said: “At CLPE we live and breathe poetry. We know it offers a path to literacy learning for all children whatever their age, cultural background or personal experience. This is the 15th Anniversary of CLiPPA, our annual Poetry Award and I am thrilled to say that children’s poetry is thriving. Judging by the increased number of books submitted this year incorporating a variety of poetic forms, we see a bright future ahead for this significant strand of children’s literature. Moon Juice and all the shortlisted titles deserve their places in this, our largest ever celebration of children’s poetry.”
Booked by Kwame Alexander, published by Andersen Press, was highly commended.
Run by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education since 2003, the annual Poetry Award is the only one of its kind in the UK, encouraging and celebrating outstanding poetry published for children. The announcement was made at the finale of The Poetry Show at the Olivier in the National Theatre, a lively celebration of poetry with children at its heart. CLiPPA 2017 shortlisted poets alongside winners of the children’s Shadowing Scheme and poet and chair of judges Rachel Rooney performed to a packed house of poets, educators, publishers, media and schools. Former Children’s Laureate, author, illustrator and political cartoonist Chris Riddell brought the ceremony to life, live-drawing the whole event from the stage.
Kate received a cheque for £1000 and both Kate and Kwame received beautifully bound copies of their book created by bookbinder, Mark Cockram.
More than 6000 children from 196 schools from across the UK took part in the Shadowing Scheme, an increase of more than 160% on schools participating in 2016.  The Shadowing Schools submitted 250 films of children performing their favourite poems from the shortlist. The winning performers were invited to the National Theatre to meet the shortlisted poets and take part in specially planned theatre workshops. The winning children then performed on the Olivier stage alongside the shortlisted poets before the winner announcement.
CLiPPA is made possible by the generous support of Arts Council England, Crest Nicholson, The Ernest Cook Trust and St Olave's Foundation Fund.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

8 Studies in Pink. A miniature artists book.









I like Pink.

An artists book. A hair under 3" in height.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Surviving Material. Finished and on show.

 The binding, stencil work, collage, spray paint and screen print.

 The first spread.

The second spread.
 The third spread.
The final spread.

Though I love working with and creating creative bindings for beautiful books, I am fascinated by the total, complete or artists book.  I have to say that I am becoming more comfortable with this particular working style. The Drum Leaf structure for the text block is a cool way to work and is attributed to Tim Ely , I would strongly encourage all to have a look at his work www.timothyely.com

I feel that I am going to work with this idea of the book for a little while. To explore and expand. I am particularly interested in how I can use this book structure as a vehicle for an aspect of my work that people may not be aware off. Before I became involved with the book I was an artist. You know, someone who paints and does arty stuff.  It was my living and gave me the foundation for where I am now.

I have always started my bookbinding projects from the artists perspective. To create in my minds eye or on the page of my sketch book the design and then work out how I am going to achieve my goals.

The challenge is not to be constricted by your self and others. To be creative is hard work, really hard work. I do not mean the struggle of being an artist, the starving artist is a thing of the past and largely fiction, the image of the damp room with a lone easel, a stretched canvas and the tormented artist has been created by writers wanting to romanticise the inner soul of the artist.
I agree that there has been throughout history the occasional artist that is strange or not the norm for society as it was but in the main, one never hears of artists dying of hunger. Sex, drugs and rock and roll .. yes. Paint, brushes, canvas, stone and mallet cost money... Away from the pages of the novel, the artist will have a job, perhaps in the service industries, night shifts at the super market or as street artist. In fact any job that will enable them to continue in their passion.

Being an artist is hard work.