Archive | February, 2011

A recipe for escape…

25 Feb

Reading is a form of escape – you begin the story, turn pages, absorb the characters. Curious, you continue. You are hooked, making that world your own. You ‘become’ the book. This act of stepping into stories is the concern of my current altered book. I am using paper cuts, print and hand drawn letters to explore the way our consciousness shifts and imagination opens up once a book ‘lets you in’, as it were.

Below is the first page. Click on the image to see a little further into the book.

I will be exhibiting the finished piece at Cardiff Central Library’s book arts exhibition in March, so come along to see it in the flesh.

Angela Carter once remarked that “Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.”

So perhaps readers as well as artists are alterers of books? Carving the settings and characters and ideas to create their own version of the text…

I’m escaping Cardiff myself to attend the Bath Literature Festival which kicks off this weekend. There’s folk music and discussion to be enjoyed at Electric Eden on Saturday evening followed by a talk by another of my literary heroines, Marina Warner, on Sunday morning.

Lastly, today I found a woodcut of a peacock that I made a few years ago. I’d cut away some of the image, but below is what was left on the wood –

Have a marvellous weekend!

Excuse me…

20 Feb

Here are some things I’ve been doing recently – in between workshops & events & visits & planning forthcoming Edinburgh trip & general juggling.

An illustration that began on a list of tapas dishes:

Click here to see the original drawing in my mangle sketchbook…

I’ve also discovered that empty tea boxes can become book covers with some nifty scissorwork:

Click here to see the inside of this book, and further experiments in book covering…

and I’m preparing work for an exhibition taking place in March to celebrate International Women’s Day:

Come and have a look and tell people about this, lots of brilliant book artists exhibiting!

Pencil alphabet

9 Feb

These pencils look like the cast of a play about to bow to applause. They are almost used up, remnants found at the back of classroom drawers. I love them – the printed and hand drawn as one…

Source: fuckyeahbookarts (check it OUT!)

Writing letters

3 Feb

Last weekend was the end of an era. My parents gave up the keys to their farm – on which I spent my whole childhood getting muddy, learning how to look after new lambs, exploring for hours on end the fields, barns and woodland. While walking from empty shed to open field in a methodical tribute to the place, I came across my name written in the ground.


I can’t remember writing this – but this proves. I was there, I existed,  a four year old making her mark in the wet cement. What story would a graphologist draw from this writing? Definite capitals letters spelling certainty, a child asserting her identity? For handwriting is a most personal thing, and it can make someone’s day in the form of a scribbled note on the fridge or a long letter, words tumbling from pen to page straight from the heart or mind. I now have several friends I communicate with more through letters than modern technology. A postcard from Borneo, a printed card and a recipe arrived for me in the last fortnight – you get out of correspondence what you put in. Why not send a letter or a postcard today? Receiving a piece of hand crafted post is always a delight, against the cold bills, forms and junk mail that flood the hallway. Send something, and you’ll more than likely receive something in return.

This is an idea you might like to try. My friend Alex and I are having a little conversation through the post through swapping recipes.  So far they’ve been written in small, handmade books: below is what I’ll be sending off tomorrow. A recipe for delicious orange cake in a circular stitched pamphlet. It’s a simple book to make using a three hole pamphlet stitch. There’s also a postcard to go with it, a brief hello, hurrah and how are you to make contact… You could swap crafts, pictures, recommendations, tips, advice, maps, stories – collaboration and correspondence often conjure some brilliant ideas!

Enjoy!