Collaboration book – the circle of life

circle_01frontwebThis is the next stage in the series of collaborative works, a hand-made book. I am working in conjunction with three other artists, Karen Bailey, Cathe Jacobi and Gale Everett Stahlke – we each make a book, around A5 (210 mm x 148 mm) in size, with 12 pages, choose a theme and set to work. The first page in each is to have contributions from each of us, then each person completes one double page spread, the last spread is combined and the final page has thoughts about the theme, presented however we wish.

This is an international project, Karen in Melbourne and myself in Sydney both in Australia, and Cathe and Gale in different parts of the US. None of us have ever met, we know each other through our WordPress blogs, but I feel we have become good friends as well as collaborators over the development of this idea.

The theme I decided on for my book is The Circle of Life – so much of my work is motivated by explorations of plant forms that this seemed an obvious path to take, and one that the others can interpret in ways that are meaningful to them. So, my drawings portray the life cycle of Christmas Bells, an Australian native plant, from buds and flowers, the development of seedpods pushing through the withered petals to the dry, twisted seedpods after they have burst and scattered the seed. The drawings are graphite pencil and coloured pencil, Faber Castell Polychromos.

The cover of the book is made from the drypoint prints that I have been experimenting with recently, and some small etchings. The heavy paper is printed on both sides, using several plates overprinted to make intricate images. The imagery was inspired by lichens, fungi and fern leaves. I made a small label, also using a print, and attached it to the front with a narrow leather strap, with the title handwritten on it.

So, in the next few days this book will be going to Karen in Melbourne, and I can start work on my pages for hers!

To see all the other books so far (which are stunning I have to say!) go to:




Inside front cover and first page.
Inside front cover and first page.
My double page spread of the seedpods popping through the dried petals.
My double page spread of the seedpods popping through the dried petals.
The spread that we all contribute to - my drawing is of the seed head after the seeds have gone.
The spread that we all contribute to – my drawing is of the seed head after the seeds have gone.
Inside back cover.
Inside back cover.
Back cover of the book.
Back cover of the book.

Miniature bookshelf


In August I will be participating in an exhibition of miniature works at the Gosford Regional Gallery with the Australian Society of Miniature Art. As there is a Japanese Garden attached to the gallery, the theme of the exhibition is anything related to Japan or Japanese gardens.

The prints I have been doing recently have had a Japanese feel to them, quite unintentionally, so I decided to make use of this and create a collection of small books out of some of the prints.

I decided to make the ‘books’ first, and keep them to around about the same size, then decide on a container of some sort later. Eventually the idea of a slatted bookshelf came to me.

I have made every element of this small sculpture – on the top shelf is a slip case filled with five small books. Inside each are pages made from tissue, with abstract images printed on them, three in an ochre colour, two a dull red. At a later stage I may add words to the pages, I am not sure yet. They are tied with paper string that can be fanned out a little. On the next shelf is a double concertina book, which is a concertina in which I have cut slits in the valleys between the pages and inserted another smaller concertina. This is pushed in tightly and so creates a spine as well as small pages within the book. This was then tied at top and bottom edges to hold it together. At the bottom is a folded box, and inside that are two small tissue concertinas attached to a base that can fold in half to be put in the box, or be opened out to make fan shapes.

The bookshelf was made from flat wooden strips, each about 20 cm long, 6 mm wide and 1 mm thick. They were brightly coloured so I painted them all black, then cut them to the lengths I needed, glued them to make the shelves and sides, then glued them together to make the whole object.

There is nothing really Japanese about any of this, it is just an impression or feeling, so I hope it will be accepted! I have done a miniature painting, and hopefully will have more artworks before the exhibition.

Below are pictures of the individual elements. The box is 15 cm high, 6 cm deep and 6 cm wide.

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