Wednesday 30 April 2008

The Rape of Masters. A book/box or single page book

Sometimes I revert to the traditional approach to the use of gold leaf in my work.

Gold finishing to the spine of 'The Rape of Masters' very traditional with five raised cords, single line with a red label. The work is held in a finishing press, my hand tool is home made.

The out side of the book/box has been knocked to give it a subtle patina of age, to knock the edges off. Various unctions are applied, the surface is rubbed with rags and steel wool. The finished result looks old without looking forced.

So to the content of the book/box. A series of objects with white washed images by Diego Velazquez, in particular 'Venus with Mirror'

Dice, syringe, clock parts, gold leaf, cobwebs and flies. All found in the studio, please do not ask about the syringe and the flies etc died of natural causes.

The text is on the doubler of the of the back board, typed with a red ribbon.

The Rape of Masters is a book/box but it could equally called a single page book. I will let you decide.

Tuesday 29 April 2008

In reflection one can not be all to everyone.

The last student has gone home, her work well on the way. Now for my selfish time, when the benches are cleared and I can work. Commissions need to be finished, exhibition work to be completed and plans made.

What is important, what makes me do what I do. Perhaps it can be summed up in a few images.

Teaching in Studio 5

Exploring new techniques and methods.

Teaching abroad with no translators, art and craft being the common language.

And the realisation of form, function and aesthetic. The Book .

Thursday 24 April 2008

Studio 5 Print selection 2008.

Last week I managed to complete the first run of the print project. The box has been made and is now ready to be exhibited.
There are ten in total but I will let you glimpse one or two.

Along with the print project I am making a box for a sculptured book 'Instrument'.

I made Instrument a couple of years ago. The white board is made with Gesso, whilst the front board is hinged.

The illustrations and the text are a mixture of 'Soft Plate Off Set' and movable type. It is a little self indulgent as the text and images try to explain my relationship with the making of a book, the printing, the construction, material manipulation etc.

Friday 18 April 2008

Faith restored

As the post thudded to the studio floor one parcel caught my attention. Following on from the after dinner talk at the Society of Bookbinders Training Weekend, some hand tools for Anandwan. Thank you Dermott. You have restored my faith. Cheers.

Thursday 17 April 2008

Hand colouring leather

Though I am going through exhibition hell I still have commissions to work on. One is a fantastic book with some superb illustrations. I hope that when the book is finished the owner will allow me to tell you more about it.

My first training was in art and design. Even to day I will on occasion refer to the leather as a canvas and apply colour as if were so.

So there now follows a number of images of one way of treating leather. Fun to do and spontaneous.

The leather, Fair Goat in this particular case, is first cut to the correct size, pared down to 0.6 of a millimeter, with turn ins of 0.4. The skin is then taped to a board and the colour applied.

The first touch with the swab is always the most daunting. The one problem with leather is that there is no opportunity to do any prep work on the leather as any marks will show and disfigure the surface.

I prefer to dye leather in this way. The colour is built up slowly, thus creating depth and movement.

The secret is to work with a fixed idea of the finished look, but be flexible enough to go with the flow.

It looks easy and it is if you have practised and really understand the materials,the dye stuff and the result of each application.

Slowly adding more dye.

Until the first process is complete. Let it dry, time for a cup of tea.

The final dye stuff is then applied.

A few more applications. As much time is spent just looking at the work as it progresses. It is so important to realise when to stop.

The finished result.

This is only a small part of the total number of steps that have been taken with this particular book. There are any number of different ways of working with leather and colour. My advice would be to practise, to understand the what and why of using any method. Find what works for you.

Sunday 13 April 2008

The After Dinner Talk For the Society of Bookbinders Training Weekend. Teaching in India.

After an uneventful train journey to Loughborough, only relieved with a DVD of Black Books and an assortment of food stuffs from M and S, I realised that half the delegates for the Society of Bookbinders training weekend had been on the same train. There followed the usual mad scramble for the lone waiting taxi.

Warora, the nearest town to Anandwan.

As we waved good bye to the unfortunates who had been unable to cram into the taxi I realised the joy of the train. I had arrived on time and with all my bags. B A take note.

I was due to talk at 7.30 and arrived at Loughborough University (the venue) at 4.30. This would leave me plenty of time to set up and relax. After the almost military like signing in process I made my way to the lecture theatre. There then followed the usual intake of breath from the resident tech support guy as I pulled out my Mac. The now familiar 'Sorry mate we only do PC here' and after the customary hunt for a memory stick and the pushing of many buttons, my images were PCed.

Once that particular task was complete I was free to wander the trade fair. Like a market of old I gazed at the wondrous gems that were on sale. The various vendors tempting me with free wine, offers of vast savings and nights of passion. I bought nothing.

Shopping in Warora.

I was allowed food and was escorted to to the eating hall by my good friend David. By this time I was in a state of pre lecture nerves and could only eat a few mouth fulls. Those of you who have seen me eat food may find this lack of enthusiasm out of character. I cannot even remember what I had.

The evening meal in Anandwan.

As with any event of this nature, things began to run out of schedule. Normally this would not pose any problems but I had a 9.30 train to catch back to London as I had workshops in the studio the following day.

Patients at Anandwan.

At last, people began to filter into the lecture hall. The opening speeches and the rules of engagement for the weekend. Finally I managed to deliver the talk about teaching in India. As usual no questions. As usual all the hand outs I had prepared were pillaged and two people (from a total of some 110 delegates) gave their contact details to receive more information. I thank those 3 wonderful people as it is important to have an initial response.

Finally we were allowed to move to the bar area for refreshments and chat while others demonstrated their various skills in areas of bookbinding.

One and a half pints later I was in a taxi retracing my steps of earlier in the day. Was it worth all the effort, the days of practise and the nerves ? Perhaps, as the delegates have time to reflect on the weekend they may remember the talk and consider how they can help. I for one am what we call a slow burner (things taking some time to sink in)

The bookbinding students at Anandwan.

I would like to thank the organisers of the event and the members of the Society of Bookbinders for giving me the opportunity to share what I think is a worthwhile cause.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

Results at last

After the frustrations of last week I manage to get on top of the print thing. Sitting on the bench are three finished prints. One week and three prints, not a good ratio of time, effort and result.

Once I get clear time and space in the studio I will be back to the press. Then I will firnish you with images.