Friday, November 21, 2014

Annie's Blog from the meeting of Sussex Book Art Collective, Saturday November 15th

Here's Annie Kerr's terrific blog from the morning, packed with lots of interesting details:
In Saturday’s session at the Phoenix gallery, 3 group members gave 5 minute presentations of their work in progress and our special guest Amy Strike came to show and talk about her work.  

Annie Kerr - Pocketbooks

Annie Kerr works as a musician and writer. She loves the visual arts and makes most of her own pocketbooks and sketchbooks for her creative projects at her kitchen table. Currently in progress are a series of folding forms that she hopes to turn into pocketbooks soon.

Annie brought the dummy for one of these new projects which is a fold out pocketbook. It can be viewed from any angle and can be folded and re-folded in varying ways to reveal or hide segments of the text or images. The base format is made from one sheet of paper and uses Annie’s own text piece - Unfold these rooms - and collaged magazine images, to explore the idea of unfolding sketchbook plans to reveal a 3D home.

Annie also brought some small format shop-bought swatch books which contain writing, music and sketching prompts. One of these opens to reveal one of her extended poems which is written like a series of views seen from a train window on a long journey.

Annie is interested to explore the folded forms that can be made from a single piece of A4 and is learning more unusual folding techniques by trial and error. Some of these were inspired by seeing the extravagant folded napkins at a dinner party and while she doesn’t want to take it that far, she hopes that some of these shapes and angles will find their way into new pocketbooks soon.

Annie’s music sketchbook is online at
She has a slightly neglected blog at

Jane Savage - Tracing the Numinous

Jane's current work, under the umbrella title of Tracing the Numinous, explores our moments of upliftedness, or encounters with the numinous. It considers our awe-responses to architectural space, to sound, nature and light, using languages of materials and stucture within the book form. Jane’s work attempts to evoke rather than illustrate these moments of connectedness.

Her beautiful watercolour piece - Speed of a brown hare - hopes to give you a moment of the memory or the feeling of seeing a hare race away, with rhythmic foot falls, across open ground.

Jane is interested in exploring the idea that a book works beyond its physical confines, and a great example of this was truly magical in its opening. A red hardback book cover revealed a beautiful coppery inner light that played with the odd colours accidentally screened across the room by a projector.

Jane is fascinated in how light might work through architectural spaces and a small book called Red fort at Dehli tells the story of entering a dark chamber and of having the mirror-decorated ceiling illuminated into life by the strike of a match.

Some of the work Jane brought to show us uses folded forms. The life force of trees impacts through the use of a folded book form laid on top of a flat sheet.

Written and painted in a semi-transparent booklet, human history and memory weave haunting pathways through the forest.

Sax solo is a tiny folded music score that just begs to be picked up and played again. As Jane commented - “It holds six minutes of unrepeatable joy, impossible to capture, many tiny bursts of improvisation.”

Jane does not have any work on-line, but is hoping that might change soon.

Mariya Ustymenko - Fear of Disappearance

Mariya Ustymenko is a London based visual artist, who uses analogue photography to create work ranging from installation to live performance.

Mariya’s current project Fear of Disappearance  sets out to explore the notion of identity in relation to urban landscape, produced as a technically challenging book-object that will encompass elements of photography, sculpture, and print.

Mariya brought the folio she has made to show us today and outlined the stages, challenges and frustrations involved in bringing the piece to completion.

Essentially, Mariya wanted to make a pocket-sized, keepable folding image booklet. Not a business card. Not a flyer. But a self-supporting booklet.

After experimenting with landscape and portrait formats and the layout challenges these different image formats brought up, Mariya decided to embrace the limitations of the folded form and has produced a folio that wants to be turned in your hand and seen from other angles.
Mariya says - “I am planning to upload my folio as a free pdf and add it to my website soon. So I will send out an email when it's done to all in case someone finds my layout template useful for their own purposes.”

The project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Hosted by bookRoom Farnham, with additional mentorship by AKINA, it will run from September 2014 until the end of the following year, accompanied by a series of public events. The new photographic work-in-progress associated with the project will be first shown as part of the group exhibition titled State of Origin at Unit 24 Gallery London. The exhibition will run between the 13th of November and the 9th of December this year.

Please take a look at Mariya’s website where you will find more details about the her work, this project and also the exhibition and events that accompany it. Mariya blogs at

Amy Strike - Our special guest of the morning

Amy Strike is a book artist, set designer and illustrator living in London.
Her book art practice involves cutting, folding and sculpting found books to create the structures and creatures of her imagination. Often, these pieces resemble miniature sets with rooms, buildings and ships created out of the structure of the book.

Paper, leather, gold leaf and thread, glue, fonts and ink are used with all the materials found within a book to create these other worlds. Amy’s work is both a celebration and an exploration of the book, and the ways in which we stitch together stories.
We were so lucky to have a closer look at the 2 book art pieces which Amy brought to the meeting - one inspired by the Voyage of the Beagle and the other by the story of Snow White.

Initial work on both these pieces involved cutting down through the main body of the book to create a space in which to hide images and to build the 3D objects that can then emerge from this space. The books don’t open. They become solid 3D objects, but they can be very fragile, necessitating the use of a rigid frame on which to construct ships, buildings, rooms and cities.
Although the Snow White piece uses twigs around the main surface of the work, Amy usually finds that any natural objects needed for the piece would be made out of clay. The apple core here was moulded from clay and then decoupaged with text from the book itself.

Amy told us that people don’t tend to read the text in her work. Although the text used in the Snow White piece is significant and secret to Snow white, often she will hide a quote somewhere you would not expect to see it.

Book jewelery is made to look like books, It isn’t made out of the books themselves The piece Amy brought for us to see has 3 small leather bound volumes containing cut out letters. These tiny books are attached to a dark neck chain. Maybe the letters create a hidden message?

Amy’s work reminds us that by starting simply with a scalpel, glue and varnish, you can create something very poetic and beautiful.

Amy displays her work at exhibitions across the UK and sells it on Etsy and at various UK art markets. Her beautiful website is at

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