Artists Books, how to cut, tear, fold & share.

Artists books are all about the joy of tearing, cutting, folding and sharing stories, however abstract that may be. I grew up in a house bulging at the seams with books which moulded me into being a lover of books as objects. Having dyslexia has also shaped my relationship with books that has at times been an awkward one.

There is something so delightful about collecting ideas whether thoughts or marks and encasing them within a protective exterior. These are artists books. The process of making artist books fulfils my love of multiples and repetition. There is an element of control in what I make and often a desire to keep something safe and personal away from harm. But making books is also very simply about touch, the feel of different papers and the joy of folding, cutting and collaging together something that makes me smile and my spine tingle.

The alchemy of the everyday

My ethos dictates that it is important to waste nothing. Everything has a purpose and an inherent beauty to be examined, explored, elevated and a new purpose discovered. Many projects start with a collection of household waste or ephemera collected from walks, from travels or from charity shops and flea markets. A combination of papers and often textiles are central to the work.  I often make my own paper using some of the found papers or waste materials that hold a connection or a story. See more about paper making here.

Anything can be used to create a book, especially when there is a story attached to the materials being used. Everything is embedded with story telling and connections deep in its materiality. The sound, touch or smell of the paper can evoke a memory or an idea. How the pages turn can hint to something about the theme. As a result every aspect of each book I make is important.

If you would like to explore more from individual books you can find many more examples on YouTube or Instagram.

Matchbox books – Memories in a tiny package

On a trip around the south of India a few years ago I discovered the delight of making matchbox books. Matchboxes had drawn my attention for a long while. Something that represents a particular place or time that can evoke memories and bring a smile is a joyous find! But actually making a book with ephemera from a specific place and subsequently housing it in a tiny box from that place seemed like an ingenious idea! As someone who loves to travel, making keepsakes that are the size of a matchbox is the perfect companion to travelling light. Not everywhere in the world still uses matches so when I find one it is a moment of pure joy!

Remembrance – The art of remembering well

“But first, remember, remember, remember…” C.S.Lewis

The art of remembering well is something I’ve been exploring over the last few years of my life. In particular remembering precious moments, documenting my collections, honouring family members and recording amazing places I have visited. So by combining those memories into my visual art practice either as objects or stories, they naturally manifest into artists books. Having an object that encapsulates a moment that can be explored whenever the mood takes is a gift. It is a delight to help others to explore the best way for them to remember well too.

For more details about my project Keepsake take a look here

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