Monday, 4 February 2019

Oxford Artweeks 2019

The 2019 Oxfordshire Artweeks festival guide is here!

Not long now before you can come and visit amazing art in hundreds of wonderful places. There are village trails to follow, city streets to explore and galleries and gardens across the county of Oxfordshire where you will find something inspiring and fresh.

Choosing from hundreds of different artists, visit their homes and studios to see work which will vary from the traditional to the contemporary, with printmaking and painting, from furniture to fashion, showing silverware, sculpture, mosaics and more, there's lots to go and see and it's free!

Oxford City                Sat 4th May - Sun 12th May
South Oxfordshire     Sat11th May - Sun 12th May
North Oxfordshire     Sat18th May - Sun 27th May

And some of us make books . . . these images are from work made in Shetland, inspired by the local birds while staying at the Bressay lighthouse.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Stony Stories

I took part in a workshop at Rabley Drawing Centre some years back where I made a series of photographs of collected stones that at the time I didn't use and so, the stones in question joined my Stony Stash.

Why do we pick up pebbles on a walk or at the beach? . . .

What prompts us to take them home as a keepsake? . . . 

For generations and across cultures stones have been used as markers; to indicate paths and trails, and  to indicate a visit when placing a small stone on a grave to show respect and recall the past.

It struck me that it may be a very ancient thing that stones are frequently used as talismans to our memories, and that when a child picks up a stone today, to take home, they are following a very long line of pebble collectors.
Fast forward ten or so years and I found myself handling those stones, they look beautiful, and remembering the photographs and the workshop I'd enjoyed taking part in, making memories that resulted in a book. 

Stony Stories, is about remembering, and retaining a connectedness to a shared past, and so, prompted by pebbles that I have picked up on my travels over the years which I've kept like lucky charms and, by the stones that my children have picked up and given to me, I created a book about the memories that simple stones can evoke.

Monday, 7 January 2019

One of a kind - Wedding Guest signature book

I love making a unique wedding guest book. It's always one-of-a-kind as no two couples are alike, and I enjoy the insight it gives me to the couple, particularly when they chose the text to run along the bottom of each page.

Transferring the design and cutting the block for the end papers.
I still need to hang drying racks in the studio . . .  consequently my bookshelves are regularly commandeered for drying purposes!
Endpapers sewn into the book
In this instance the text running along the bottom of each page is September, by Earth Wind and Fire.

I remember when it was released in 1978 (hazy memories of discos and platform shoes) suffice it to say the couple that chose these lyrics wouldn't be even a gleam in their daddy's eye for at least another ten years!

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Books, books and more books

Books, books and more books, that was Turn The Page 2018 . . . such variety!

It was a busy couple of days, full of lively chat (some glorious Norfolk accents!) and I met some delightful people from my side of the table.


The work you can see from my view-point is that of Thule Wright who makes enchanting, delicate paper reconstructions.

However, you cannot see my favourite work - Lost Between Shores, by Annette Kreiser beautifully printed and suggesting both fragility and sentiment.

Looking up from my table prompts me to ponder the mix of old and new.

I see the church of St Peter Mancroft through the enormous glass structure that is the Forum. Building work on the church began about 1430, not long before the first use of moveable type in Europe and the first great popularisation of books.

The Forum, built as a millennium project and finished in 2001 is home to the Norfolk & Norwich Millennium library . . . today it's filled with an enormous variety of artists books.

This is a casual connection, serendipitous, but a lovely connection nonetheless. It makes me think about the links through time and space to people and places and ideas . . .

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Prepping for Turn The Page

25 - 26 May 10 until 5

Only a couple of days away and I'm busy getting new work ready for tpp 

Meresig is a new piece, inspired by listening to curlews on the estuaries around West Mersea.

It’s magical hearing the curlews call late of an evening in Mersea, this atmospheric song is surely one of the most evocative sounds of the British countryside, but curlews are in crisis. On mainland Britain between 1995 and 2016 the number of breeding curlews plummeted by a whopping 48%!

The RSPB are running a Curlew Recovery Programme, looking at how to manage land in a way that increases curlew numbers.

Please take a look

Memories. We all have favourite places, it could be some far-flung location, the coast or perhaps, your own back garden. This is a contemplation on a time and place, and the memories that can be held for us in particular locations.


Thursday, 1 March 2018

Mini Flutter Books

Sometimes it’s a good idea to try something new, to try a different approach. This isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do when one works alone, sometimes it’s difficult to challenge myself especially when I’m deeply embedded in a comfy rut . . . so, some outside input was required! 

With this in mind I signed up for a booklove e-course at 

Because of prior commitments I knew at the time I wouldn’t be able to keep to the class schedule, but that was no reason not to take part as everything is online for a few months and I could keep going at my own pace. I’m so glad that I did.

To get us going, in chapter one we bind a series of fluttering mini books.

Creating mini flutter books is a fun thing to do and it’s a great form of thinking play . . .  it’s a refreshing change to let my hand and eye do the thinking rather than my usual, more convoluted, planning in one of my many sketchbooks (of course some are more successful than others, but isn’t that often the case?) 

As someone who always gravitates back to the concertina fold, making pamphlet bound books feels like a novelty and the mini books small scale means its a quick process, which I do rather like!

Also because there’s not a particular project in mind, I’m freed up to make books without spending too much time reflecting and mulling over all the possible permutations of a particular idea or thought. 

And it was the perfect opportunity to indulge my inner stamp making queen. 

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Hinterland - walking along Mersea sea-wall in the Autumn

Hinterland is inspired by walks along the sea-wall in Mersea, observing the constant shifts in light and mood over the strood, and watching birds in flight.

I had it in mind to use a drum-leaf binding because of the small size of the sheets that I'd marbled. I thought that this would reveal the unique nature of each page, and in turn suggest the changing nature of the salt marsh and the tumbling display of a marsh harrier.

However, the book felt too small, too enclosed . . . I wanted a feeling of empty space and expansiveness. 

My desire to create a book reflecting the mutability of a watery landscape (which is always subject to change) prompted me to think again.

Handwriting, by its nature variable, would add an element of flux that print wouldn't and hand-printing stencils vary each time they are printed, so would further this effect, but subtly.

I set to and soon had a series of proofs waiting to be bound . . .

The format of this book is slightly larger and concertina bound. 

Alongside the negative space on the page, the effect of opening out a concertina bound book also suggests a sense of space, and I liked the effect. Although if I'm honest, this may not be the final incarnation of Hinterland . . . I feel something more is required, but as of yet I don't know what. 

Maybe a change of scale . . . or paper . . . 

Oxford Artweeks 2019

The 2019 Oxfordshire Artweeks festival guide is here ! Not long now before you can come and visit amazing art in hundreds of wonderful pla...