January Books

I’m on a bit of a book theme at the moment. I’ve made some small books for my first Sketchbook Circle exchange of 2017, the idea being that Mary and I will create a series of books over the year, adapting the size and format to suit the developing conversation.

I’m also making books to explore ideas I’m following in my own practice; I’ve constructed a ‘drawing contraption’ which allows me to fix a mark-making tool and a book to my bag in order to capture my own movement as I walk. 

I find constructing books oddly satisfying. I love the process of selecting and cutting paper; the physical involvement through the use of hand tools; the imperfect charm of the finished item. I am fascinated by the almost infinite possible formats and have been repurposing old book covers, CD covers and different types of paper. I’ve always had a bit of a notebook fetish.


This month we are presenting our work in progress at the ATS interim exhibition from 21st – 28th January at The Art Yard in Cradley Heath. I have been going through a period of intense and prolific making – reading and exploring the ideas that are opened up to me, trying to figure out what it is I’m getting at, and also making work for a new round of Sketchbook Circle. My ATS preoccupations are definitely informing my Sketchbook Circle ideas, and vice versa. 

Anyway, it has been suggested that I should stop making and start selecting in preparation for the upcoming exhibition; try to choose a few pieces which illustrate my thinking. So here’s (some of) what I’m thinking.

All things are engaged in writing their history…Not a foot steps into the snow, or along the ground, but prints in characters more or less lasting, a map of its march. The ground is all memoranda and signatures; and every object covered over with hints. In nature, this self-registration is incessant, and the narrative is the print of the seal.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1850)