Review your research and create an artist book
After doing the research i decided on using some of the objects i have collected and organising them into a book. I chose “flat” objects, partly because they would be easier to have in a book format. I wanted to create a collaboration between natural material ( leaves) and media through immediate response and emotion upon physical process of application.
I have quite a lot of dried specimens – leaves, twigs, flowers etc. that i collected over a few years while walking my dogs, on holidays or just from my garden. Each piece has a hidden memory – why exactly this leave? or why this particular flower? – of course i do not remember each one but i was hoping to tune in into the conversation that could evolve through process between the object and my mind.
I decided to choose more or less similar coloured leaves/flowers – to have an underlying theme through this and to explore how different my response could be to a series of similar patterns/colours at the beginning.
The leaves were divided in to groups and then glued onto different paper – i kept format the same (A4) but picked paper of different colour, thickness and surface. I used acrylic binder to attach the leaves and then to create a seal over them.
Some of the techniques/processes/mediums used:
Acrylic binder – helps to seal the surface and creates a good working surface for acrylics, inks, oil pastels. Great for creating a inter layer seal – covers and keeps medium in place and allows to wipe some if needed while medium still moist. Not so good with watercolour – it dries but then moves when re moistened.
Metallic paints – create an interesting shine and reflective surfaces.
Pastels, oil pastels as a first two layers , then covered with piece of paper over which a ballpoint pen was used – created very interesting indented textures, imprints and lifting out textures.
Brushes, sticks, hands, pallet knives etc – different marks and lines/dots, textures.
Colours – i noticed that the overall pallet stayed quite similar , perhaps due to the initial choice of subjects- evoked mostly autumnal memory pallet or early morning when the due is still on the surface of foliage and spider webs.
Process of making a book:
After researching different formats it was not easy to decide where to start. First though was to make a had cover sketchbook – perhaps to stitch the pages and have it as a usual book format. But because i had individual sheets of paper i steered away from this after a few experiments of putting them together – it did not really worked for me.
I quite like the idea of a concertina-accordion format that allows for works to be viewed as a normal book – page by page but also to be able to move it into different space . It can be opened fully or just on pages that one wants to see on a particular moment. It could stand as well as laid out flat as a carpet – this is why i chose to go with this format.
I actually tried to do a “crazy accordion” – where pages open in different directions , but after trying a few times and cutting a lot of paper decided that it did not work for my purpose at the moment – too complicated upon viewing because of the A4 format.
Using A1 sheets i cut out a number of strips that were folded and glued together to make an accordion. I had to add a few more times as the number of pieces grew.
Coming back to the hard cover sketchbook idea i made a top cover for this. I feel it works better here rather than two individual pieces ( front and back) as this helps to protect inserted leaves and looks more like a book.
I’ve put the images into a short video
I also laid it out on a path in the garden, not easy to see the images due to length of it, :
It was an interesting project – working on creating a book with underlying theme runs through. I haven’t used words in the project , it is about the process and relationship between the material object with the mood that unravelled itself while creating the background/space around it. The leaves on paper evoked different mood and reaction and i tried to let myself be free with the patterns – feeling the space and evoking memories of places helped to create variety of textures and patterns. In a way it is a part my parallel project – finding images and intuitive painting at that particular time.
If I had to add words they would be (in order) – tangle, autumn,net, frost,mesh, earthworm, seeds, seed heads, wind, spores, river, flow, walk, pollen, morning, catch, glow, light, lake, waves, shadow, dance,path…
I enjoyed working on each peace – i tried to respond instinctively and let my emotion rule the choices of media, pattern, texture, colour. As a practical point this was very useful in discovering new ways of application, learning what works and what doesn’t, what media repels each other and what wants to stay together.
Overall i’m pleased with the result – i learned a few new tricks, found ways of letting the thought to direct the process and in a way created a memory line of my instinctive emotional response to the collection of items. The element of time was a big part of this project – in the act of making the book as well as each image that went into it. Main struggle was how to present it as it is very long when unfolded – that is why i decided to make a small video of pages.
I can see myself in future working on similar new projects as well as organising works that already live in different folders.