top of page

Books books books....

I always seem to lean towards books as a vehicle for a major body of work. I love the idea that something so small can contain something so large, it's almost a bit of a paradox. I also like the idea that they behave like a metaphor for us as 'beings'. The poet, John O'Donohue, has commented that we all contain a vast universe within us. We are, from the outside, such small containers for so many endless stories and experiences. I first experimented with this idea when I had pursued a project interviewing my parents. You can read about it here:

Essentially, I created an artist's book based on a series of interviews I conducted with my parents, as a way of getting to know more about myself. There, of course, was not enough time to document everything into a books, but I managed to capture and interpret a few highlights from their lives, and write the entire transcript down on copper plates.

Books are so much like people - they require active interaction to discover some hidden secrets, stories or information; you can't just sit and stare at it from a distance - you need to find them and hold them. They require slowness, thought, reflection, touch and time to become familiar with them. I've had a fascination with them since I was a child - and yes, sometimes they were much better if they were illustrated because I could then get lost into another world and allow my imagination to stretch beyond the horizon of the painted landscape (which, it always did). And I've always been attracted to the element of play - particularly in children's books. I have kept and occasionally collect old, out-of-print or rare books - including children's illustrated books, but also books of poetry, reference books, annuals and magazines. They're almost always used and possess something beautiful, playful or delightful about them.

I approach making artists' books in this way - there's often elements of play and delight, and of course, I attempt the 'beauty' aspect as well. Whilst I have an affinity for concertina books, I decided to create a stab bound book for this project as it allows me to experiment with page layering in a way that every other form of bookmaking would not. I had realised this last year when I ran an Artist's Book workshop at RMIT for the annual Arts Education Victoria conference. I had to come up with a lesson plan that was simple, but allowed attendees to make something interesting that they could take back to the classroom. I decided on the stab-bound book - which, I have to admit, was a bit more challenging for students than I had anticipated. But I came up with this trial, that then lead me to realise just how many possibilities there are with page layering. Forgive the one-handed page turning - I hadn't mastered the phone tripod at this stage:

And to see a few other books I've made (and to get an idea of why I love this form so much), you can view past books I've made here:

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page