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:

Karen: karenbaileystudio.com/2015/03/28/patterns-in-nature-a-new-artistic-collaboration/

Gale: sticksstonesnpaperstew.com/2015/04/06/water-sketchbook-collaboration/

Cathe: amaryllislog.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/collaboration/

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.
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50 thoughts on “Collaboration book – the circle of life

  1. The book is really beautiful Anna, I am so glad you incorporated your prints into the book and I love the little tags. A very thoughtful theme that gives me loads of ideas on what I might do in it. As usual I cannot wait to see what it looks like in person. Karen

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  2. Gosh – it is looking so inspiring. There is trust between the four of you that the containers of all this love (the books) will continue to be loved, respected and added to when handed on. I like the way you have to let go each time…and then take into possession something which somebody else has also let go.
    The work is quite quite delicious, Anna.

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    1. Someone else mentioned trust to me the other day – its funny, I hadn’t really thought about that, but it is absolutely true, we are all trusting one another to do the right thing and enhance one another’s work. It’s actually quite a good discipline, as it is so easy to be precious about one’s own work. This book demanded more of me than the previous ones because every bit of it is my creation – which made it harder to start. But there is something quite liberating about sending it off into the world, to eventually return as something transformed, and then take responsibility for someone else’s baby! I’m so glad you like it!

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  3. It will be so interesting to see how each book develops on its journey; I love the idea of this project though I completely agree with Julie about the trust element. Your drawings are beautiful and I love the cover, complete with tag.

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    1. Thank you so much Anne – the progression is something I am looking forward to as well! I will keep you updated on how this one – and my contribution to the others – goes. (You did see the links to the other three books above?)

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  4. Anna, wow! Your book is stunning and visually rich! I love the theme and your approach. It gives me lots to think about. I look forward to seeing it first hand! The layers and images, incredible. So much richness for my eyes.

    I had not thought of trust either, but I feel certain that we will lovingly treasure each other’s books while we add our marks. Such an interesting process. I know I will grow from this experience creatively and can’t thank you enough for starting this idea!

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    1. Oh Cathe, I am so pleased with the way the little spark of an idea has unfolded! I have great faith in the three of you, not only excellent artists, but people of integrity and thoughtfulness. Working like this has already made me think differently – each book will challenge us and stretch us all. Thank you for being part of it!

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  5. This looks so delicate! I love it…and despite it being of an Australian plant, you definitely are in Japanese mode at the moment. I must ask, what are you going to do with them all once the collaborations are over?

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    1. Thanks Janina – I think you are right, Japan seems to have entered my thinking recently! The plan is that we will each keep the book we made in the beginning but I would love to exhibit them all together somehow …. We will need to do some brainstorming I think!

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  6. Anna, you’ve outdone yourself! I’m blown away at what you’ve created and your theme is perfect for all of us. I’m feeling a tad intimidated to know I’ll be adding to this incredible book, but hopefully that will calm down over time. So looking forward to seeing it in person!
    Thank you for starting this collaboration!

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    1. Gosh, thank you Gale! Well, one of the reasons I was slow starting was because I wanted to measure up to yours and Karen’s (I hadn’t seen Cathe’s at that stage) but maybe that feeling pushes us all to do good work! I’m so pleased you respond to the theme. It will go to Karen today, beginning its long journey!

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  7. It’s truly a wonderful project Anna . I’ve loved looking at the other Artist’s books . How good it must feel pouring yourself into these very original creations , and then as has been mentioned earlier *letting go for another’s new vision to grace the pages …
    Lovely layering techniques and attention to details here in your work x

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    1. Thank you Poppy – it has been more than I ever expected, a bit of a brain teaser in some ways, but thoroughly enjoyable and stretching! It’s particularly nice to have a kind of collegiality that it is usually impossible to have working alone as most of us do.

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  8. Hi Anna, just letting you know that the book arrived safely and I am so thrilled to see it in person. Looks even better then in photos. It going to be a rainy weekend so will spend some time planning what I will do in it. Great theme!

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  9. Hi Anna, I was away and I am now catching up on things, including your blog. How beautiful! I especially love the colors of the front and back covers. The yellows are strong yet the drawings so delicate. I continue to love these collaborations and the way you describe the friendships that have developed with people you have never met–the way you have gotten to know them through their art. Nancy

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    1. Thanks Nancy, the front and back covers were part of the series of experimental drypoint prints I have been doing recently – I am really inspired to get back into printmaking again! The collaborations are a joy. There will be a bit of a break now for a few weeks as I am going away, but then they will be back on again!

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  10. 🙂 just checking I’ve not missed anything Anna ! Wonder where your travels have taken you …. sketchbook ever at hand ….

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    1. Travels have taken me to London Poppy – helping daughter move house which has proved a full on (but satisfying! ) experience, and more sadly to my mother’s funeral. A trip of mixed emotions, but no time for sketching. I am looking forward to getting back to seeing what everyone else has been up to in a week or so!

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  11. I love this one, too, Anna. I don’t know why, but your blog hasn’t been coming up in my WP feed or something. I have been missing your posts. Of course, you could be posting on the very days I don’t check anything! HA!!! Anyway, this is such a great journey for you and your friends, but also the rest of us get to benefit from your creativity! Again, a lovely idea! Love your work and the other ladies!

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    1. Thanks Patsy – I know, I have missed a lot of your posts too, but I have been away for a while, and not been able to access the reader which may be the answer. I’m so glad you are enjoying this series – it is a challenge, but incredibly fulfilling.

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  12. So GORGEOUS! You and Karen create such lovely works of art. Your work is also SO inspiring! I am on Facebook more often, and love being able to admire your posts there. Thank you for sharing and letting others admire your creations.

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