Print assemblage – ‘Songbook’

Songbook_open5web

A pile of monoprints has gradually transformed into a book – or a sculpture. The theme of the prints was music, in maybe an obscure way. Some of the plates were made some time ago, others are new, but all were destined to be made into assemblage artworks for a travelling exhibition called ‘Music Box’. The imagery was derived from the shapes of instruments, such as a violin, and the inside of a piano. I had made four artworks some time ago (see here) and am now discarding one and adding another.

Songbook_wip5webSongbook_wip6web

Songbook_wip4web

The images above show the main pieces that went to make the pages, and the first stages of putting it together. The pages are printed on both sides then folded in half to make a double page spread. To join them into a book form, I placed a wooden rod within each fold then wove coloured leather straps through small slots on either side of the fold and around the rod, then in to the next spread, and so on for 6 spreads. Finally, the long ends of the straps were glued across the front and back of the book as both an anchor and decoration. (See the last two photos.)

I also added smaller pages or pieces of print inside or outside each spread. Some of these were altered with cuts, folds or pieces inserted in them, to add interest and give a sense of dimension to the book. Although I have called it ‘Songbook’, I intend the book to stand fully opened so each page can be seen, rather than be ‘read’ as a conventional book.

The last two images show the book closed, with the spine and straps visible.

Advertisements

Next collaboration book – Garden Life

Karen+Annaweb

The international collaboration is moving on another step. I received Karen’s concertina book from Melbourne about a month ago and have now completed my contribution, so today will be sending the book on its way to Rebecca in Sweden. From there it will go to Gale in Oregon, then Cathe in Minnesota. (Click on their names for links to their blogs. All of us except Gale are also on Instagram at Anna, Karen, Rebecca and Cathe.)

Karen’s theme was Garden Life, which encompasses all kinds of plants, animals, birds and insects, but I decided to stick with the Bird of Paradise flower which was in full flower at the time I was looking for inspiration around the garden.

This plant is huge and very old, it was well-established when we moved to this house 35 years ago, so is probably over 40 years old, and it dominates the front garden. I feel it has been a constant companion for that time, watching over us, seeing our girls grow from babies to mothers themselves, so it is significant, as well as being exotic and beautiful. The seedheads have a form that fascinates me too, see here and here for recent drawings. I did this drawing in coloured pencil.

Karen has done an amazing amount of work on this book, making not only a front page cover but a box as well. It is created in her typical style, strong, beautiful forms and rich colours, it is a real pleasure to look at!

So now it will be heading towards Sweden for Rebecca to add her hand to the book! I can’t wait to see what is next!

Karen_boxweb
The front of the box
Karen_frontweb
Front cover
Karen_spreadweb
Karen’s spread
Anna_spreadweb
My spread

Small concertina collaboration

The two-part collaboration project with my friend Sue continues – more portraits (see here for previous post) are being done, and the four small concertinas continue to grow. Each has a theme of its own – the garden, household objects, landscape and toys. The one I have found most challenging was the landscape one, but a challenge is good for the brain, and I am happy with my contributions so far!

The first two books (garden and household objects) are bought ones, made by Sennelier – I found them in an art shop sale, couldn’t resist them and when Sue and I agreed to do the concertina collaboration they were perfect for the job. The other two I made, they are the same size, 15 x 9.5 cm, with board ends and folded 250gsm watercolour paper for the pages.

The way it works, we each do a drawing or painting on a double spread, leaving a little bit of the image hanging over to the next spread to anchor the following image. We have taken it in turns to be the starter, Sue started the garden and toys, I started the landscape and household objects ones. The subject matter has been very broad and ranging from very real to completely imaginary. We are working on both sides of the books.

Each one has been a joy to work on, and receiving them back from Sue I’m always excited and curious to see what she has done. Our styles work well together, and the ideas from each push the next forward.

I must apologise for the quality of the photos, I took them quickly before I packaged the books up to send to Sue for her next contribution and didn’t realise till too late that the focus wasn’t great on some of them, but hopefully you get the idea!

Garden1webGarden2webGarden3webHousehold_objects1webHousehold_objects2webHousehold_objects3webHousehold_objects4webHousehold_objects5webLandscape1weblandscape2webToys1webToys2web

Collaborating across the world

EatMeP1web

Minnesota, Oregon, Stockholm, Melbourne and Sydney – five artists who have never met are collaborating across the world on a set of handmade books. In 2015 four of us collaborated on handmade books, and we overcame distance, trepidation and time to have a hugely successful result, and forged firm friendships in the process. So, we have decided to do it again, and this time invited one more artist, Rebecca from Stockholm to join us.

To make it a little different, this time each of us is making a concertina book, with a double page for each person, encased in a cover of our choice. The image on each spread will spill just a little on to the following one, for the next person to incorporate into their drawing or painting. The closed books will be approximately A5 in size, 210 x 150 mm, and the paper weight around 300 gsm, heavy enough to take whatever medium we apply. After a couple of initial hiccups, where we found some papers simply collapsed on the fold when watercolour was applied, we have all taken different approaches to solving this, reinforcing the back of the folds, or changing paper. I have decided to join the pages at the end when the book finally comes back to me, so have supplied the other artists with sheets of unfolded paper to work on.

We each chose our own theme for our book, but agreed to keep the themes within the realm of plants or animals (I think dogs will feature largely as I am the only non-dog owner among us, but I like to draw dogs so that will not be a problem!) My title is ‘Eat Me!’, and will be portraying any kind of edible plants, in any way that works! The title from Cathe in Minnesota is ‘A Dog’s Life’, Gale from Oregon has chosen ‘Yard Friends’, Rebecca from Stockholm is taking us on ‘A Walk in the Woods with a Friend’ and Karen in Melbourne is featuring ‘Garden Life’. All these titles conjure up so many ideas, I’m looking forward to them all. Karen’s book is with me, ready and waiting for the first mark. We each start our own books, then post them on to the next person, who will do her page, then send them on again, until they finally return to the instigator.

The cover of my book is made from a monotype print that I made just recently, it felt as though the imagery spoke to the idea of edible plants. The drawing was inspired by the display on a stall at London’s Borough Market, a treasure trove of interesting food, I loved the different shapes of the mushroom varieties, with the big red chili on top. It is mainly graphite pencil, but highlights of coloured pencil were added to enhance certain areas.

EatMe1webEatMeCoverweb

To see the works as they progress, all of us (except Gale) are on Instagram: karenbaileystudio, cathejacobi, rebeccacaryandersonart, and me anna_warren_portfolio, Gale is at sticksstonesnpaperstew here on WordPress.

Portrait collaborations

Towards the end of 2016 a friend, Sue Rawlinson, and I agreed to start collaborating on artworks together. There are two elements to the collaboration, one is portraits, the other is small concertina books, which I will document in another post. We agreed on a size – 15 x 15 cm – and on the paper we would use, Arches 300 gsm smooth, and beyond that it was up to each of us to decide what medium, style or technique to use. We would each draw a portrait – it could be a real person or an invention, then pass it to the other to enhance.

To start with we each had some apprehension about what damage we might do to one another’s work, but confidence grew and we both happily added and altered the portraits as they came to us. As we were both involved in other projects sometimes weeks passed between bursts of energy. By now we have each completed about 15 drawings, but some are still works in progress. Below you will see 18, nine from each of us, that have been worked on.

Next year we are hoping to have an exhibition together and the portraits and the concertina books will be a big feature – we won’t necessarily use all the portraits, but choose those that we feel work best, but ideally have a large display. To see more of Sue’s work go to http://suerawlinson.blogspot.com.au

Strelitzia seedhead – large

StrelitziaFinalAweb

The dry Strelitzia seedhead offers me lots of opportunities to explore its wonderful intricate and messy form. This drawing follows on from the smaller one I did recently (see here for images). I have used a different angle, more front on, and enlarged it by about 2, maybe 3, times. The drawing is relatively faithful to the actual object, but I couldn’t resist exaggerating some of the tendrils and dried petals, they were asking to be taken on a journey. I love the abstract qualities of this seedhead, and the eccentricity of it. The glossy black seeds are embedded in bright orange fluff, the only colour apart form the tones of brown.

The decision to add colour was made at the beginning, but its something I still feel unsure of – there are hints of brown in some of the shadows, but the main colour is in the fluff surrounding the seeds. Now I am wondering whether this was a good idea, I think it was, but maybe the colour should be more intense … what I don’t want is for it to look gimmicky, the colour should be a natural addition, not something that is noticeable for its oddity. I will be interested to hear opinions on this! Below is a photo of the drawing on my desk before I added the colour, and a detail while the drawing was coming together.

I used 2B and 8B graphite pencils and a 2B 2mm clutch pencil, which I can sharpen to a needle sharp point. The image is about 32 cm wide and 38 cm deep.

Strelitzia01web

Strelitzia_detailweb

 

 

The Kimberley in July, Part 2

Kimb_July7aweb

Twelve drawings are now complete, so the next stage will be working out how to put them together in a book. I think it will be a concertina, as this gives the opportunity to see the sequence of the images.

See the previous post (here) for more background to where the imagery for these postcard-sized drawings comes from. Below are the final six.