Saturday, August 13, 2011

Book Art Object - the thinking behind it

I recently showed you all the pictures of the book when it was finished and promised to talk about the thinking behind it sometime. That time is now (altho if you also head over to the BAO blog you'll find a similar, quite similar, post over there!)

Reflecting on the journey, this book has been a constant thought companion for nearly a year; with sketches made here and there, ideas and options tested and trialled. At times I thought I would never settle on an approach and get started; but bit by bit, I narrowed down the options and made decisions.

These are some mid-process drafts...

The book is a response to Claire Beynon’s poem, rather than a rendition of it. If I had chosen a rendition I would have used the whole poem throughout the book and made it the focus. By highlighting particular lines or phrases I created my own personal reading of the poem in a calligraphic way.

There were certain words or phrases that jumped out at me, and told me the underlying story of the poem in a way, and I chose these words/phrases to include in my book.

I am fond of squares and chose to work within the square format. This choice was supported by the covers I found in a funny little art shop which then set the format and colour scheme for the rest of it. Sometimes I need a little push from outside to stop exploring and make the decision, then continue to explore within the new boundaries.

I wanted to give the reader some opportunity to wrestle with paper in the process of reading the book. I also knew I needed/wanted to include Claire’s complete poem somehow in the book; and so the idea of having it held within a Japanese tato on the title page came into being.

Choosing which of these little pockets to use was a fun time in itself; and I had the odd disaster here and there as I trialled them in a remote Aboriginal community where I had no ruler or measuring tool; and the squares are actually formed from rectangular pieces of paper which require specific dimensions and proportions - none of which I could easily or readily achieve!

I did one original calligraphic version of the phrase or line I highlighted and then scanned each of them individually. I had hoped to be able to print the scans direct onto the pages but I ran out of time to master the set up of the pages in the software properly; so they are individually attached to each page. In the end, I like the hand-made and crafted nature of their attachment.

Here is my first test page of writing...

I knew I had to do a simple binding if I was producing an edition, so used a three-hole pamphlet binding and the beads on the outside just added a tiny decorative element.

The whole process was enjoyable, frustrating, perplexing and wonderful all at once and I can’t wait to do it all again!


  1. And the book is lovely! Thank you, Fiona. Sara x

  2. this looks like a fine project, and i love your beautiful script (is the the correct word?).

  3. This looks really lovely Fiona. Thanks for sharing the book and your working process so fully - esp great for those of us "in the other half" of the edition.

  4. I really like the color palette of this book, F, and all the little elements that went into its creation, from within and without! I do think that it is rare for an artist to sit down with a complete idea of what they are about to make and then execute it to the letter. Maybe some can do this, but I prefer the open technique of letting the limits be placed by uncontrollable circumstances and then exploring within them! Lovely work.

  5. Thanks Sara!

    V - thank you and yes I'd call it a script, a little bit of made up writing, but a script nonetheless!

    Yes Amanda one of the hardest things is having two groups isn't it?

    G/TT - I so agree about some external limitations being placed and then getting on with exploring. I rarely know where I'm going before I begin; whereas B is very clear and then delivers!


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