Sunday, November 15, 2015

More burning, more books

Most of my major artistic commitments are over for the year, with a few exceptions.  I have to deliver three books to the Al-Mutannabi StStarts here project in the UK by December.

These books have literally been on the back burner for most of the year as I pulled together the work for the exhibition.  But they have been percolating away in my sub-conscious on occasions. I managed a few scribbled ideas, a few notes jotted here, sketches there.

I have finally had time to to test the ideas; not yet to make the books; but to test ideas and start the work.

At first I thought I would work large and tried some writing templates.


I cut one out to see how it looked - all pristine and white it was.  I figured it needed to look more burnt, damaged or as if it had been through a bit at least. So I waved it over a flame to see if I could get the smoke marks I was  after. And I did like them.


On the opposite side I had inked it up with walnut ink to see what that looked like - would the brown link more to burning? I liked it. I smoked that side a bit too; then started to think about scorching and burning the edges of the paper.


Which of course can end in tears if one is not focussing properly! I wasn't actually looking for a full burn-through effect, so have decided not to go with the flame burning and will test something else out instead.


Overall,I didn't really like the large size and how large the letters had to be to try and fill the space, so I went down a few notches in size.

I tested them out with skeleton letters, then the thicker letters.


 And decide I liked it. My mind then turned to which side to cut out from?  I could transfer the letters to the front of the page and cut them out from the front; but then I was left with the need to rub out all the pencil marks - a bit risky with fragile joins and connections on the pages.


If I cut from behind (with the template reversed) then I was left with these extra sort of folded up bits on the edges of letters.


But I could smooth them out with teflon bone folder - I also discovered if I changed the blade more frequently then the the folds didn't appear much at all.


And so I prepared fifteen pages. I cut one template for each of the three quotes, then traced it on to 5 pages.

Here they are before cutting.  Quite a time-consuming process to even get this far. Next - cutting, inking and scorching!




15 comments:

  1. ...if it was easy - everyone would be doing art stuff wot :D

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    1. So true Ronnie. And my work always seems to take this long - I sometimes want to just whip something up quickly and easily! Still, these books deserve the time they are taking...

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    1. Thanks J - probably wow, what a crazy woman I am!

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  3. stunning work Fiona, do you use a no 11 scalpel blade? there's a sound that let's you know when it's getting too blunt just before it starts getting harder to cut & re burning the edges, a damp sponge at the ready helps heaps

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    1. I always forget the damp sponge Mo - and grab at anything I have to hand! I am seriously not sensible sometimes. I use a Japanese knife and I don't hear the sound; that would be helpful. There is nothing worse than a dull blade; and nothing better than a sharp one - the difference is huge!

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  4. To me, the extra burnt out of hand bit really gives weight to the whole concept and especially the message. Very Powerful
    Sandy in the UK

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    1. True Sandy - it definitely makes you realise their fragility and the absence when a part is gone for good...will see how they go in production and what I can bear/manage!

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  5. Wonderful process shots, as always. I do love coming to visit here!

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    1. Glad you enjoy your vista Liz - I am a process kind of gal, so more than happy to share!

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  6. Wow - Fiona, Amazing work, l love the look of the books, you are so creative, l attended Gemma's workshop on the weekend, it was just the best workshop ever, l learnt so much, Gemma really is a great teacher, so many things you can do with pencils

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    1. Thanks Kate - I am enjoying these. You must be riding on a high if you enjoyed Gemma's workshop as much as I did! Hope it was all you hoped for...

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  7. what you need is a Silhouette Cameo electronic cutter. Saves so much time... But then again the hand cutting can be very meditative. Lovely work. Have a great day

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    1. Thanks for that Yogi - shall check it out. But you are pretty right - i enjoy the meditative quality of the cutting - but in a few years my fingers may not! Go well.

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I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.