I’m teaching a book arts, altered books & zine-making workshop at the Whitstable Biennale in June this year, and in the run up to it I’ve been getting so enthused about art book making and book binding that I can’t stop trawling the internet for more interesting finds.
Apparently springing from the rather terrifying loins of poet and artist William Blake, book arts, or artist’s books, encompass a rather broad spectrum of physical artwork and now digital artwork. Artists’ books take many shapes, including scrolls, fold-outs, concertinas or loose items contained in a box as well as printed text blocks that are perfect bound just like the books you find in a shop. Artists have been active in printing and book production for centuries, but the artist’s book is primarily a late 20th-century form.
I got into book arts after taking a seminar at the National Print Museum of Ireland in artist book making.
“Artists’ books are books or book-like objects over the final appearance of which an artist has had a high degree of control; where the book is intended as a work of art in itself.” – Stephen Bury
I’ve been working on a number of different creative things in the past few days –
turning my novels over in my mind
starting a short story
how to depict myself in a comic strip.
It struck me this morning that these are not all separate projects at all: these are all part of a larger work, and feed into each other. A larger, modular work. I’m creating the Ikea of creativity…or stories or something. If that makes sense.
I have no idea why it took me so long to realise this.
I have no idea how I didn’t realise before that I think in collage.
I’m always finding or making connections between disparate materials or scraps of information.
An ad on TV, a panel from a graphic novel, a topic to write for a client’s blog posts, a scene from my novel…the shape of the trees outside my window, someone’s photographs on tumblr, a piece of quantum mechanic theory, the shape of computer code with the visuals all stripped away. My mind moves at a billion miles a minute but that’s how it is and I’ve just realised that I should embrace this fact.
These constant connections and ways of making and of being make me and my work who I am and what it is.