Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A Cup of Tea? . . .

In May this year I worked on a new series of prints, Storms in a Teacup, a metaphor for how friends come together over a cup of tea (or coffee) and ‘put the world to rights’ whether that means supporting each other through the trials and tribulations of life, or just for a good gossip!

This has developed into pushing some ideas around for a concertina book, in which I've decided to use having a cup of tea as my subject matter, employing it again as a metaphor for social relationships. Objects already invested with meaning used to symbolise friendship, memory, ritual, intimacy and shared identities, and with this I hoped to show the narratives of family and social relationships. 

But it's taken me most of the summer to decide on a text, in fact I wasn't really getting anywhere and had rather forgotten my original point (as the text in these images shows) and it had languished on a shelf in the studio for some weeks. 

However, a comment by a friend staying with us lodged in my brain, "a cup of tea?" and I found myself using it today when working on a poem for a new series of workshops at BlueGate Poets, starting this coming weekend with Carrie Etter

And I realised, this is kind of what I want for this project. A simple, pared down narrative.

A cup of tea?
A cup of tea would be nice.
The flicker of a smile
at the now familiar refrain.

Walking to the sink,
noticing golden autumn light
slanting through distant trees,
Filling the kettle
she patiently waits for it to boil.


or, perhaps . . .

Come in, sit down.
A cup of tea?
A cup of tea would be nice.

Removing 
the heavy bag from her shoulder,
accepting a chair
she pauses,
watches,
as memories brew in the pot.

Monday, 18 August 2014

2nd edition, Falling Gently - concertina book

Falling Gently began life as my response to the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition Project.

An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street followed on from the Broadside project that San Francisco based poet, and bookseller Beau Beausoleil initiated back in 2009. A coalition project that was formed as a protest, and to bear witness, to those that were killed or injured in the car bombing on the 5th March 2007, in Al-Mutanabbi Street, Baghdad. The street was the historical centre of Baghdad's booksellers and the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community.

Falling Gently 1st edition.
In 2010 myself and many other artists who make books were invited to create three books for the exhibition, An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street, representing the books destroyed or damaged in the explosion.

I created three books with a deliberately limited palette, to symbolise loss. Family grief lent a bitter edge to my thoughts for this project. A project which grew out of hurt and death. 

I thought of all those that had lost loved ones, the fragility of life and the strength of a family to endure such loss when it is out of time. The project is both a lament and a commemoration of the singular power of books.
Beau Beausoleil and Deema Shehabi have worked together to form an anthology of the work produced, published by PM Press.  

Annette C. Disslin has also put together a website for the project An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street.

Since that time I have produced a 2nd edition of Falling Gently.

When terrible things happen, the immediate aftermath is difficult (to say the least) and with this 2nd edition I wanted colour to play a more uplifting role. In using various and bright colours, I want symbolise the intrinsic nature of people to continue through adversity.

The targeted attack on this 'street of the booksellers', using such indiscriminate brute force to maim and kill, is ultimately futile.

Books, libraries and the people who make them, have been destroyed countless times, since 48 BC with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, through Nazis Germany up to and including Al-Mutanabbi Street. But people will persevere. And, as reliable as the turning of the seasons more poets, writers, artists and philosophers will step forward to bring their ideas into the light.

Letterpress, digital and relief print on concertina fold, hard covers

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Greetings Cards for sale!

I print from hand cut lino blocks using my albion press and add text digitally. The cards are left blank inside for your personal message.

However, if you would like me to write your sentiments inside, send me information with what you would like stated, and I’ll print that digitally on the inside.

Now available in the Teacup Press shop!

Teacup greeting card, no1
Each card is a unique handmade greeting card, printed onto cream card with a cream envelope.
Size 14.5 x 14.5cm
Teacup greeting card, no2
Size 14.5 x 14.5cm
Also sold in packs of two

Sun and Moon
Each card is a unique handmade greeting card, printed onto white card with a kraft paper envelope. 
Size 14.5 x 14.5cm
For Ever
Each card is a unique handmade greeting card, printed onto cream card with a cream envelope. 
Size 14.5 x 14.5cm
Also sold in packs of two


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Memories - concertina fold book

Memories is a book made as an emotional response to the loss of a friend and the acceptance that there are some things in life that we cannot change.

Cloth bound, concertina fold, digital print,  size closed 200 x 130 mm and made in an edition of 50.
Standing between trees this evening, 
thinking of earth scents and distant noises.
Sounds of trees growing
earth turning . . . 

Evoking memories in a silent acquiescence
to the things we cannot change.

Friday, 28 March 2014

The Guardian of the Print Shed

The guardian of the Print Shed . . .
The theme for Februarys meeting of Stroud Artists' Books was Water, which I had to miss as I had a previous commitment to run a beginners-bookbinding workshop. However, with such a very wet February how could I forget Water as a theme . . . and now it's had time to filter through my subconscious I've started to make some mono-prints to use as a basis for my book.

Using cool tones and random (but I hope) watery shapes,
and torn paper templates to create organic forms
I'm building a collection of pages
in which to place text.
The job of a guardian is a tiring thing.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

A slight refractive error

I recently joined Stroud Artists' Books at Stroud Valley Arts, a space for artists to meet up monthly and share their ideas for books and practice. 

Each month there is a theme, and the theme for February was the Lens, and I used the format of a maze book.
In my trawl around the net I discovered that the letters used in an eye test are Optotypes (test symbols).

They are not, however, letters from any ordinary typographer's font, they have their own particular, simple geometry in which the thickness of the line equals the thickness of the white spaces between the lines, and the height and the width is five times the thickness of the line . . . 
The type in the title is designed to fade away . . . just as our eye sight is prone to do with age!