Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Notes from BABE 2015

The hurly-burly of the weekend is over, and BABE is done and dusted once again. After what seems like a fairly long time to prepare, it felt like the weekend was over in an instant . . .

Checking my display,
and looking out, in the quiet time, before the doors open to the public.
(Is a Press the plural noun for a mass of book lovers?)
Perched behind a table for a couple of days is surprisingly tiring. Possibly because I spent a lot of time bobbing up and down like a demented cork, as I couldn't decide whether it appears more welcoming to sit or stand. 

And, to talk or not to talk! 

Working out which of your visitors wants to talk, and then keeping on topic, is not straightforward. And, I'm astonished by the more personal revelations visitors disclose. However, I guess that means my work has struck a chord, which must be a good thing . . . 

I think this may be specific to BABE - but I'd like to mention the terrific tea trolley and cool cake brought by lovely (tea) ladies Beryl and Violet, it do keep a girl going when she's alone on a stand, and is very much appreciated.
Back in the studio, books still in bags . . . ready to tidy away and organise myself for the next project. Allowing all the ideas that are invariably generated by a show to develop in my sketchbooks (to be filtered, distilled), always a favourite time. 

I'm anticipating getting some ink on my fingers!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Birthday Book for Dad.

It's funny, but it usually takes a wedding or a funeral for connection between wider family members and I ask myself why wait for special events . . . but I've gone and done that thing, with this project! I suppose we're too busy and live too far apart. 

Note to self - Stop and smell the roses!

Dad is 80 this month, and I thought it would be fun to put together some reminiscence about him from his family and friends. Turns out to be a lovely thing to do. 

I've been sent lots of great photos, which I've never seen before, and received such heartwarming and funny stories it makes all the hours grumbling at my computer (editing under/over exposed, scratched and oddly focused old photos) well worth it.

Dad always signs off All the Best so it seems an apt title for a book about him . . . 

Here are a few pages from All the Best.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Cover-to-Cover 2015 - a sketchbook exchange

42 Open Studios artists over 5 months are taking part in a sketchbook exchange project, designed to push us creatively and to stimulate new work, which will be exhibited in May 2015.

The aim is to develop how we explore themes that interest us as individuals and as artists and how we can seek contribution on our ideas from other artists.

Monday I collected my 5th sketchbook, the theme: Human Impact. I'll have to exercise caution with this one, I do have a tendency to write in my sketchbooks and with this subject matter . . . well lets just say there are a lot of statistics out there in google-land.

Book 2: Nature, Landscape Trees

For this sketchbook I took myself off to my favourite hedgerow, sat down and drew what was in front of me . . . luckily for me this is part of my ongoing practice, and will inform a new series of linocuts.
Book 3: Happiness

This sketchbook was in my possession over Christmas, which I think influenced my choice of image. I allowed the subject to indulge my love of bright, hot colours, and of course teacups!

It's funny, but initially I struggled with the concept . . . then just allowed myself to go with the flow (no preconceived ideas) and made images that are just not like my usual work . . . maybe I should challenge myself more often and work without an end-point, just see what happens?
Book 4: Nature

A sketchbook that returned me to more familiar subjects and once again I found myself outside, walking the local hedgerows and field margins for images.
Book5: Water

Water - a great reason to stride out along the sea wall at West Mersea with snow falling and to draw the strood channel
A selection of various artists sketchbooks from the exchange . . . what a great variety of work is emerging.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

A slight refractive error - here's one I made earlier

Last year I joined Stroud Artists' Books at Stroud Valley Arts, a space for artists to meet up monthly and share their ideas for books and practice. 

Each month there is a theme and the theme for February 2014 was, Lens, and for that I used the format of a maze book.

I've just retrieved the single copy I made and looking at it now, I've decided it is a good idea to put this into production for BABE 2015: Bristol Artists Book Event at the Arnolfini 

This event is in 10 weeks on Sat 11 and Sun 12 of April (crikey)!
In my trawl around the net I discovered that the letters used in an eye test are Optotypes (test symbols).

They are not, however, letters from any ordinary typographer's font, they have their own particular, simple geometry in which the thickness of the line equals the thickness of the white spaces between the lines, and the height and the width is five times the thickness of the line . . . 
The type in the title is designed to fade away . . . just as our eye sight is prone to do with age!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Making Sourdough in Northamptonshire

Where did the month go . . . when I arranged Mr B's Christmas present (a day course in making sourdough bread with Vanessa Kimbell) it seemed so far ahead, and now suddenly it's upon us!

Friday 28 January dawned sharp and clear for our drive up to Northamptonshire, and The Sourdough School. Of course, the best thing about arranging this course is that I can include myself!

I'm a somewhat erratic bread maker, with unpredictable results, mostly good, but occasionally not so good. Last Friday taught me that that is mainly down to over-proving . . . Vanessa's classes, although relaxed and informal, are clear on why certain principles need to be adhered to. However, she also shows how 'recoverable' errors are, and just how forgiving the process of making sourdough is . . . and, we get to return home with our own sourdough starter. No excuses!!

Clearing up at the end of the day. Bread proving in well dusted, cloth lined, wooden proving baskets from Bakery Bits.

Proving time estimated to allow us time to get home to cook the loaves tonight.
Getting ready to take my goodies home.
Back home, and what could be better than a good glass of red, some very tasty cheeses and an utterly delicious sourdough loaf.
Feeling just a tiny bit proud of my first sourdough . . .
Henny, tapping on the window and requesting her share!