Thursday, 3 August 2017

In Limbo.

In Limbo, part of the first spread for Inferno.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Plan B and Selected Material on show.



 I am very pleased with the cunning plan of using mirrors to allow the viewer to see the text block and the binding at the same time. I think this is very important as the totality of the book is easier to understand.

 A twist, the text block is on show with the binding being viewed via the mirrors.


Plan B and Selected Material on show at the Art Workers Guild In Bloomsbury, London. http://www.artworkersguild.org/

Thank you Leigh for the images  (iphone)

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Output.....

The pleasure of old school conversations, face to face, a glass of cordial or another form of refreshing beverage and an open bag of crisps. Clear evening sun light streaming through the pub window after the hurried flurry of a summer rain storm.

In a series of conversations I have been having with a much respected friend over a number of months, our topics have been diverse and often entertaining. One of our more recent diversions has kept our attention for some time, a subject we return to with fresh vigour. I thought I might share, as it raises a number of issues that either may or are having an effect on my work. The theme is .. output of work.

In my youth I painted, I sold and I lived by my work. Yes, I did chalk drawings of popular animated cartoons and you would often find me sitting with my portfolio in Castle Square, pen and ink with water colour wash of Lincoln Cathedral and other land marks in my home city.

I would paint on wood and found objects, canvas and clothes. Commissions and selling at  exhibitions, either solo or group. For these exhibitions I would not think twice about producing upwards or 20 works for exhibition in a few months. I do not mean I was working on the posh shop production line style, more it was my job and I worked 6 days a week for a minimum of 7 hours a day…. A job, not a few hours a week in an evening class or as a nice thing to do on a Sunday afternoon. So my output reflected the work involved, the hours worked and the medium. There were complicated works from ~Bricollage~ through to flat stuff.  My work then, as it is now, followed a stream or streams of thoughts or themes. To explore or re-examine, to stretch the perspective of the viewers involvement. Trying new materials and ways of working..

I would be commissioned to paint a view of a clients house or whatever.. as long as it had a little bit of ‘Cockram’ in it they were happy. With repeat clients I would always endeavour to keep the work fresh and in context whilst trying to bring out the individual nature of the work in progress.
One client asked for works of their house, same view in the seasons. In effect four views. It was great in the summer but as the year moved on the weather changed. I wanted to capture the way the limestone used in the building of the house (Circa 16th century) changed in the different light and weathers.  Dashing to either photograph the house in chilling sleet ( a mixture of snow, ice and rain) or gale force winds all at the same time of day in the middle of each season is no fun. By the end of the year I had finished the four views, the client was delighted. There was a hanging party, I talked about the work showed my notes, photographs and sketches. That much I remember. Oh yes, I got paid, in retrospect about the equivalent  as I would for four of my design bindings  today.  Needless to say the four views were not my sole output for the year….

Looking back I cannot find a time, when at any one point I was told I was producing too much work, working too fast or spending too long on a particular theme. In fact I was often asked if I had more work to show… This is often the case with artists. They work on more that one piece at a time, not sitting around waiting for the paint to dry but making the most of their time or mood etc.

It is the same in nearly all aspects of making or doing jobs.  Professionals work to the best of their ability, to the maximum output without compromising the quality of the work. The Kitchen Porter for example.. if he/she is able to work quickly to the required standard no-one is going to complain.. In-fact, if the pots and pans are cleaned quickly then the KP is to be congratulated.

There is a fabulously rich and diverse history of the artist and multiples.  Posters, limited edition prints, unique prints, sculpture, ceramics, themes and so on being utilised by the artist as a platform to communicate and of course to earn a living. Many iconic artists have used the impact and immediacy of the quickly made multiple or ready-made to great effect. No one thinks twice about an artist producing an extensive body of work on a theme for an exhibition, in fact it is expected.

I have worked in the field of fine contemporary binding since graduating from college some years ago. Over the years I have not lost my interest in the wider field of the arts and indeed I draw from my experiences and incorporate them in my work. I think that it may be fare to say that I try to push myself and my work when it comes to working with the book. I try to respond to the book. 

I understand the constraints when working with the book, the many complex materials and mediums coming together all of this combined with a history as rich and diverse as we who created and use it. I often refer to the book in its totality as Alchemy. I choose to work with the book, it is my chosen medium for the simple fact that it can be all artistic mediums and expressions.

Over the last few years I have been exploring the more artistic side of my work and my output.
It has meant taking a back seat, concentrating on finding a way of working that is suitable for me. I have been very fortunate in working with a number of artists from different disciplines from around the world. This has given me the chance to step away from the sometimes corseted world of fine binding.

Recently I have been working with a structure for the text block referred to as Drum Leaf. This structure is attributed to Tim Ely, a much respected and likeable book artist based in the USA. I have found the  method of text block production to be an answer and a perfect vehicle for the way I am currently working.

Monday, 17 July 2017

News for release: Friday 14th July 2017, Poet Kate Wakeling wins CLiPPA



Press Release – Friday 14th July
Winner announced for CLiPPA 2017 (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award)
  • Kate Wakeling announced as CLiPPA 2017 winner
  • More than 1000 children took part in the 15th anniversary celebration for the award
  • UK school children performed on stage alongside shortlisted poets at National Theatre


News for release: Friday 14th July 2017, 1600: Poet Kate Wakeling wins CLiPPA 2017 for her first collection for children, Moon Juice, illustrated by Elīna Brasliņa, published by The Emma Press.
Rachel Rooney, Poet and Chair of the CLiPPA 2017 judges praised the winning book; Moon Juice is a book brimming with surprises. Some of the poems are playful, some are more thoughtful but all of them draw the reader into worlds that both delight and convince. Kate Wakeling tunes us into the musicality of words, the pauses between, and the white space on the page - making the poems equally pleasing to the eye as to the ear. This is a skilled and confident debut collection that demonstrates the power and breadth of poetry for children. Yes, Moon Juice is infused with subtle and unusual tastes and it refreshes - exactly as the title suggests.”
Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said: “At CLPE we live and breathe poetry. We know it offers a path to literacy learning for all children whatever their age, cultural background or personal experience. This is the 15th Anniversary of CLiPPA, our annual Poetry Award and I am thrilled to say that children’s poetry is thriving. Judging by the increased number of books submitted this year incorporating a variety of poetic forms, we see a bright future ahead for this significant strand of children’s literature. Moon Juice and all the shortlisted titles deserve their places in this, our largest ever celebration of children’s poetry.”
Booked by Kwame Alexander, published by Andersen Press, was highly commended.
Run by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education since 2003, the annual Poetry Award is the only one of its kind in the UK, encouraging and celebrating outstanding poetry published for children. The announcement was made at the finale of The Poetry Show at the Olivier in the National Theatre, a lively celebration of poetry with children at its heart. CLiPPA 2017 shortlisted poets alongside winners of the children’s Shadowing Scheme and poet and chair of judges Rachel Rooney performed to a packed house of poets, educators, publishers, media and schools. Former Children’s Laureate, author, illustrator and political cartoonist Chris Riddell brought the ceremony to life, live-drawing the whole event from the stage.
Kate received a cheque for £1000 and both Kate and Kwame received beautifully bound copies of their book created by bookbinder, Mark Cockram.
More than 6000 children from 196 schools from across the UK took part in the Shadowing Scheme, an increase of more than 160% on schools participating in 2016.  The Shadowing Schools submitted 250 films of children performing their favourite poems from the shortlist. The winning performers were invited to the National Theatre to meet the shortlisted poets and take part in specially planned theatre workshops. The winning children then performed on the Olivier stage alongside the shortlisted poets before the winner announcement.
CLiPPA is made possible by the generous support of Arts Council England, Crest Nicholson, The Ernest Cook Trust and St Olave's Foundation Fund.
for her first collection for children, Moon Juice, illustrated by Elīna Brasliņa, published by The Emma Press.
Rachel Rooney, Poet and Chair of the CLiPPA 2017 judges praised the winning book; Moon Juice is a book brimming with surprises. Some of the poems are playful, some are more thoughtful but all of them draw the reader into worlds that both delight and convince. Kate Wakeling tunes us into the musicality of words, the pauses between, and the white space on the page - making the poems equally pleasing to the eye as to the ear. This is a skilled and confident debut collection that demonstrates the power and breadth of poetry for children. Yes, Moon Juice is infused with subtle and unusual tastes and it refreshes - exactly as the title suggests.”
Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said: “At CLPE we live and breathe poetry. We know it offers a path to literacy learning for all children whatever their age, cultural background or personal experience. This is the 15th Anniversary of CLiPPA, our annual Poetry Award and I am thrilled to say that children’s poetry is thriving. Judging by the increased number of books submitted this year incorporating a variety of poetic forms, we see a bright future ahead for this significant strand of children’s literature. Moon Juice and all the shortlisted titles deserve their places in this, our largest ever celebration of children’s poetry.”
Booked by Kwame Alexander, published by Andersen Press, was highly commended.
Run by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education since 2003, the annual Poetry Award is the only one of its kind in the UK, encouraging and celebrating outstanding poetry published for children. The announcement was made at the finale of The Poetry Show at the Olivier in the National Theatre, a lively celebration of poetry with children at its heart. CLiPPA 2017 shortlisted poets alongside winners of the children’s Shadowing Scheme and poet and chair of judges Rachel Rooney performed to a packed house of poets, educators, publishers, media and schools. Former Children’s Laureate, author, illustrator and political cartoonist Chris Riddell brought the ceremony to life, live-drawing the whole event from the stage.
Kate received a cheque for £1000 and both Kate and Kwame received beautifully bound copies of their book created by bookbinder, Mark Cockram.
More than 6000 children from 196 schools from across the UK took part in the Shadowing Scheme, an increase of more than 160% on schools participating in 2016.  The Shadowing Schools submitted 250 films of children performing their favourite poems from the shortlist. The winning performers were invited to the National Theatre to meet the shortlisted poets and take part in specially planned theatre workshops. The winning children then performed on the Olivier stage alongside the shortlisted poets before the winner announcement.
CLiPPA is made possible by the generous support of Arts Council England, Crest Nicholson, The Ernest Cook Trust and St Olave's Foundation Fund.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

8 Studies in Pink. A miniature artists book.









I like Pink.

An artists book. A hair under 3" in height.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Surviving Material. Finished and on show.

 The binding, stencil work, collage, spray paint and screen print.

 The first spread.

The second spread.
 The third spread.
The final spread.

Though I love working with and creating creative bindings for beautiful books, I am fascinated by the total, complete or artists book.  I have to say that I am becoming more comfortable with this particular working style. The Drum Leaf structure for the text block is a cool way to work and is attributed to Tim Ely , I would strongly encourage all to have a look at his work www.timothyely.com

I feel that I am going to work with this idea of the book for a little while. To explore and expand. I am particularly interested in how I can use this book structure as a vehicle for an aspect of my work that people may not be aware off. Before I became involved with the book I was an artist. You know, someone who paints and does arty stuff.  It was my living and gave me the foundation for where I am now.

I have always started my bookbinding projects from the artists perspective. To create in my minds eye or on the page of my sketch book the design and then work out how I am going to achieve my goals.

The challenge is not to be constricted by your self and others. To be creative is hard work, really hard work. I do not mean the struggle of being an artist, the starving artist is a thing of the past and largely fiction, the image of the damp room with a lone easel, a stretched canvas and the tormented artist has been created by writers wanting to romanticise the inner soul of the artist.
I agree that there has been throughout history the occasional artist that is strange or not the norm for society as it was but in the main, one never hears of artists dying of hunger. Sex, drugs and rock and roll .. yes. Paint, brushes, canvas, stone and mallet cost money... Away from the pages of the novel, the artist will have a job, perhaps in the service industries, night shifts at the super market or as street artist. In fact any job that will enable them to continue in their passion.

Being an artist is hard work.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Plan B






Plan B

Binding;
Light yellow book cloth
, decorated w/spray paint through hand cut stencil, collage, more spray paint and collaged titling.

Text block;

4 spreads white Canford medium press (approx 160gsm) spray paint through a hand cut  stencil, collage,  more spray paint, finished with hand painting, collage and collaged  text.

Plan B makes comment on a dystopian society (Perhaps now and perhaps ours) the nightmare of the victim.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Post Clay Travels. New work on the bench and towards New York.

 I was recently chatting with a studio guest, about how I came to end up doing what I am doing. I recounted aspects of my school life and after, the usual art, Paris trip thing. It was much later that I reminded myself of one thing I did at school.

 For the last 2 years of my time at South Axeholme Comprehensive school in Epworth, a guy in my class called Nick Snow from West Butterwick ( I think) and myself made the school magazine.
 I am pretty sure other people worked on the magazine and we were under the eyes of one of the teachers of course. We did all sorts, it was great fun. This was of course before there was even the thought of a computer in the school. everything was typed with a typewriter (lots of correction fluid) real cut and paste and lots of photo copying.
 We interviewed teachers, not via fb or emails we actually got off our arses and went to the teachers office and asked real questions to a real person in real time. I know... very heady stuff. We did comic strips, adverts for the tuck shop. Term times and events. I even remember us doing a cross word. 




Perhaps I have not lost that initial buzz of the making, the achievement  of making the 'Zine' of our first sale......

Friday, 23 June 2017

Iskandar Jalil, Clay Travels. Finished.


The final work..... completed.

I have enjoyed every moment.

Iskandar Jalil, Clat Travels. Box making and labels.

The box is made, recessed linings, full Buckram, 2 Tray Drop Back Box.

I suppose it is ordinary practice to title a box in order to know what is inside. I suppose. However, and this is perhaps were  I move from the ordinary practice and into my practice, that I title  perhaps in a different way. If this box were to be in a library of identical boxes then it would be an idea to title with the content. But, how to title. The point is simple, any collector of any art knows exactly were each and every piece is. They are able to glance at a box or crate, fraction of a frame or section of a plinth and know what they are looking at.

So, the title gives us an indication of what is inside, in this case what is on the box is not just an indication of what is inside it is what is inside.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Iskandar Jalil, When Clay Travels. International competitions, education and waiting.


With the doublers finished and the book allowed to rest for a while it was my intention to get on with the box. A simple affair in dark blue with a touch of special to the spine... However... things get in the way and the best of plans etc.

Some time ago, months in fact I had been asked if I would be one of three judges for an international book binding competition. One is of course flattered and I agreed. It was only after agreeing that I realised that being a judge is with its ups and downs. More of this later.. but a day went with me and my fellow judges pondering books from the resolute traditionalist to the conceptual artists/performance book. Pleasant but still hard work

The following day was spent sitting in a meeting of an education committee. Nuts and bolts time.

The box is taking shape. All will be complete in a few days time. It has been a good.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

When Clay Travels is drying... Surviving Materials....

A new Artists Book, for exhibition in the Art Worlers Guild during the summer.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

IskandarJalil, Clay Travels.....

Work moves from the outside of the binding to the inner boards, the Doublers, sometimes referred to as Doublures... I prefer Doublers as it is easier to type because it is a letter less than Doublures.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Edge decoration, Clay Travels with Iskandar Jalil.

A detail image of one of the edges of the boards. The edges of the text block have been coloured white, the slight movement of the sections being kept.... Texture.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Iskandar Jalil, Clay Travels and other things in the studio.

 Above, detail of one of the 4 spreads for an artists book.
Below, the 4 spreads that form the pages of the book.

Below.  Iskandar Jalil, Clay Travels. The outside of the binding is now completed. I say completed, I have to live with it for a few days to make sure.
 I have truly enjoyed working with this binding. The materials and the finished look and textures have been inspired by the books contents.
 Soil from Singapore has been incorporated into the modeling clay.
 Textures and drips.

 Now for the Doublers, there will be soils, clays, text and more drips.... I feel I am on the final stretch with this binding. I have learnt and remember so much.