When my (forty nine years is) Seven Times Seven project was in its first seedlings of germination I hadn't yet decided to make it a project of seven artists' books. At this time I was also experimenting with the plastic from milk bottles, work which would develop to become Milk Wood. Already knowing that I was interested in sevens, I made a number of plastic elements using this constraint. It felt important that these should be incorporated into a book somehow and after playing with various ideas I decided to use photographs of seven of the elements shadows. I worked with these further to create digital repeating, yet not fully symmetrical, collages which were then printed and prepared to make this lotus fold book.
An exercise for my degree with the Open College of the Arts led me to discover Japanese boro textiles. I was inspired to find out more which I have written about on my uni blog here. Through researching the practice I discovered some debate around cultural appropriation when using a traditional Japanese textile practice as a non-Japanese person. The main argument I found was around using the words boro and sashiko without any understanding of the history behind these. Having carried out some research I feel that, although not an expert, I have shown respect by finding out more about the background of the technique.
When I started finding out more about the history of books and different forms I came across palm books for the first time. This coincided nicely with me having picked up a pack of 5×8″ index cards for a pound from a charity shop without any idea of what I would do with them. I knew I wanted to make something that included lots of the plentiful information I had been gathering about the number 7 and putting it in a form inspired by the palm books seemed like a good experiment to contribute another element to my (forty nine years is) Seven Times Seven artists' books project.
A while ago I saw some Instagram posts from an OCA Foundation student who had collaged pieces of printed papers onto baby board books. We chatted about it and she said she had originally seen the idea on Pinterest. I started looking out for board books in the charity shops so I could give it a go too.
On a recent visit to our annual local maker’s festival I was drawn to a group of women demonstrating the Turkish map fold. Perfect - I wanted to make a book focused on place for my (forty nine years is) Seven Times Seven project.
This book forms a triangle shape after each sheet is folded in a way reminiscent of the fortune tellers I used to make back in school. Once stuck together and given hard covers the pages of the book can be turned, the flaps can be opened and the whole thing can be opened up to become a more sculptural form.
This book was made for an exercise towards my creative arts degree with the Open College of the Arts. Asked to make something in response to the idea of 'windows and mirrors' I combined elements of the skills I had worked on in micro courses from the unit to make this large flag book.
I had just finished making my part art manifesto/part art therapy large scale double accordion book on sustaining my art practice when I saw that the fantastic printmaker John Pedder had announced a date for the next round of his simple instagram charity fundraising initiative #oneofmanypostcards I'd been thinking I would like to join in on the next round and so I set to making some mini versions of my big book.
I had been wanting to have a go at making some different types of folded books for a while. This is one of the many things I love about my degree – I can slot something I want to do into the course and therefore give myself the ridiculous but nonetheless necessary permission to do it. (I appreciate this is my problem but this is working for me so I’m going with it!!!)
I came across Vanessa Marr’s Domestic Duster’s project on Instagram. The project invites people to commit their ideas about women and domesticity to a duster. The project has been running for a few years and well over 100 dusters have been contributed. Any views and methods are welcome and the collected work has been exhibited around the UK and as far afield as Florida!
Way way back in lockdown #1 people were putting rainbows in their windows to support the NHS and to give their neighbours something to spot on their daily walk. I decided to make a kind of rainbow window hanging out of pompoms. I used hamma beads (those small plastic beads children put onto a plastic peg board and then iron to melt into a picture) as spacers, planned it all out of paper and attached to a net curtain wire (see image below). It was lovely to spot passers by looking at it or pointing it out to their companions.