Sunday, 21 December 2014

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Bad Boy....

Joseph Cornell Shadowplay Eterniday Completed.

I am happy to say that  Joseph Cornell Shadowplay Eterniday is now finished. The whole process has been very liberating. One of the keys to Cornell's work is play and I feel that I have certainly played with this book. When I have shown the students the book they begin to move the sand on the back board, to be transfixed by the sand revealing the eye.

The various elements of the binding come together, the colours and textures. The images and the forms.


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Joseph Cornell Shadowplay Eterniday

Now that Joseph Cornell Shadowplay Eterniday (full title) is nearing completion I am able to stand back and look. Really look. From the outset I wanted to create a binding that evokes Cornell's work, not to just copy. It would have all to easy just to whack a couple of parrots on the cover in gold, perhaps turn one upside down (daring) and so on.
What I wanted to capture was more the theatre of Cornell's work within the book. To step away from the limitations of the cover, to expand and ignite interest.
Every time I pick the book up a new binding appears, the sound of the sand shifting, the text that is revealed at each turn of the head.
The back board invites us to play as a child would, tilting the book this way and that. Waves of sand cascade over the ridges, yet when the book stands the sand becomes a solid mass, the ridges cast shadows... we begin to play with light. The frame roughly cut, painted and sanded down many times is soft to the touch. We can run our hands over it. The unseen bumps and gentle undulations are sensitive perhaps warm. There are nooks and crannies, text and image is glimpsed, small sign posts.
The front board, with its half frame and map is perhaps more contemplative. The sand, with time, as it feeds from the yellow widow to the deep red window opens up to an eye. We let time slip through our minds eye. Again, there are those little echos and pointers. Read the book and the binding begins to give up its secrets.
Again our hands can understand what lies beneath the surface. Where the craft skills of the bookbinder need to be employed, then I have done what I can. However I have not sanded away the tiny imperfections, paper is layered, I have not hidden the working lines nor the intention that those layers make. The art is in the making but the appreciation is in the interaction with this book.
Taking time to interact with this binding is what it is all about. Yes it has a sculptural quality (but then so does every book) Yet. in the hand this book becomes alive and moves towards a new and ever changing theatre.

Cripes I go on a bit don't I...........

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Cornell, over the last few days.....

Now to move on to the front board. half framed, a twist. Like Cornell, throughout the binding I have used found materials, up-cycled and re-used. 

All morning looking at maps of France. So much time spent looking, testing and placement. I think very few people outside of our world understand that though the application can be quick, the preparation can take so long.

Still looking.


Friday, 31 October 2014

Rethinking Cornell.

Back to Cornell. A small change of plan to the back board. I have exchanged the original boarder with wood. More in keeping with the work of Cornell and stronger. The joints are a little uneven, cut with a very basic jig, the screws will be covered with leather pads. The leather pads will help to protect a table surface and the book. I am truly having great fun with this binding. Exploring depth and surface. Moving away from the expected, I hope.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Monday, 13 October 2014

Cornell, holes and eyes.

Trying to get the correct balance of sand and speed for the front board has been more time than I imagined. The glass has been cut and the final stages of construction can begin.

The whole work is becoming hypnotic. The movement of the sand, the gentle sound and the the notion that the finished work/binding will never be the same is arresting.

Filming this is going to be fun.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Cornell, two holes and a corner.

After the working break in Tokyo back to the bench and Cornell.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Cornell, book binding with sand.


First trials with sand in the back board. It has gone beyond my expectations.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Monday, 4 August 2014



Cornell. Bookbinding with shadows. Front doublure, ladies in waiting.

The front doublure, first layer is the constellations then hand tinted images of the sun.

A hand coloured map of Paris.

Finally, a series of perspective bending ladies.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Cornell. Bookbinding with shadows. Colour and the back doubler.

Colour and texture to the boards, mixed media applied to create depth and layers. Words high-lighted others hidden.

Work now begins on the duoblres. First the back doubler, French text, the Mona Lisa.

Acrylic paint (rough worked)

Then removing layers. Still not complete but now my attention turns to the front doubler.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Cornell. Bookbinding with Shadows. Leather and covering.

After much sanding to smooth out the small lumps and bumps the spine and tail of the boards are leather bound.

The leather was then worked over with a 400 carbide paper and placed vertically in a finishing press.

When working with mixed media I prefer to have the book in a canvas like state. I can see all of the surfaces, how the relationship of the design to the book and the transition of the design in 360 degrees. 

Next is the layering of paper for the head and tail of the boards.

Though seemingly random, the paper is placed with considerable care.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Cornell. Bookbinding with shadows.

Cornell. Bookbinding with shadows. The boards have been attached with full aero linen along with the spine piece. This will be left to dry for a number of hours and then the sanding can begin.
 The forwarding process is critical to the finish of the book, get it wrong now and it will never be right.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Cornell. Bookbinding with shadows.

After a little searching I have found the cabinet for the Cornell book. 5 glass panels, doors that open... very Cornell.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Last night was the C L P E Award

Last night was the C L P E Award. A fine evening. The heat of the day radiated from the buildings and pavements around the revitalised Kings Cross area. Birds darted in the evening air and children played in the fountains. One of those perfect UK evenings that linger well past dusk.
Poets and other literary bods gathered at the House of Illustration, followed the Kings Cross Poetry Trail, chatted, listened to readings and drank Pimms.
The evening moved on with the sky moving through shades of pink, a hush fell and the speeches began. The usual thanks, ripples of claps and the knowing nods of agreement. Finally, Roger McGough took the stage........ The runner up.....Bookside Down by Joanne Limburg........ The winner of the 2014 C L P E Award goes to... Wayland, The Tale of the Smith from the Far North by Tony Mitton.

A Charming evening.

The presentation binding for Bookside Down.

The presentation binding for Wayland, bound in pewter with a swans feather.