Starting from basics: our first meeting of 2015 began with a workshop led by Clare Nias, facilitator of flying books (www.flyingbooks.net) on a cold Saturday morning. We started slightly earlier than usual at 10.15. (Normally we meet Saturdays between 10.30 and 12.30 in the Green Room, Phoenix Studios, Brighton every 2 months. New members always welcome!)
This was the first practical workshop our Collective had organised and we started right from the beginning, learning about Concertina Books (also known as Zig-zag books). Clare showed us examples of this type of book from her collection, often small and made by her students, one fitting inside a matchbox, another even smaller one bought from a supermarket in Chinatown, London.
She showed us that from this very simple structure it was possible to elaborate in different directions: adding end boards to form covers, and how the concertina structure could evolve into dos-a-dos books (where two or more books are bound together within the concertina). There were different types of papers and card for us to experiment with during the workshop, as well as stencils and stamps. We saw how it was possible to add 3D details with foam card and how the subject matter could inform the shape of the book, for example St. Bartholomew Church, Brighton. There was also an example of a double Zig-zag book for us to look at. In this structure the pages are slit so that a second concertina can be threaded through.
Clare then took us through the practical basics: making the fold. We were each given about 12 inches of till roll paper and shown the folding sequence starting in the middle and then making a series of “valleys and mountains”. Then we were left to experiment and play.
Dorry (Smallman) showed us a book: “Magic books & Paper Toys” by Esther K.Smith, published by the fantastically named Purgatory Pie Press in New York City, a book brim full of ways to manipulate paper and card to make mind-boggling paper structures that I could happily use myself and with my daughters (who attended the meeting and by this time were having a great time collaging, folding and sticking with all the interesting scraps of paper provided.)
Dorry also introduced us to the Hougie board (www.hougiecrafts.com) a “double sided plastic scoring board that gives you accurate measuring in centimetre and inch increments” and seems like an important tool for crafters working with card and thicker paper, “as it really helps to get a good clean fold exactly where you need it”. By this time I was deep into the activity, Paddington Bear style, so there was nothing neat or clean about my folds. But I’m sure that with time and less frantic behaviour (looking through books, finding paper/card/tools, photographing other people’s work, writing notes for the blog, keeping my girls away from the biscuits) I too would master the Hougie board and the concertina book structure. I already have an idea for a piece inspired by the concertina/Dos-a-dos structure brewing in my head as I write this blog.
Here are some images of work-in-progress created by members of the Collective:-
The workshop was followed by a talk by Vanessa Marr, a Graphic Designer, who has completed the MA in Sequential Design and Illustration at the University of Brighton and previously worked for the publishers Dorling Kindersley. She talked us through her work, her interest in sewing and fairy-tales, poetry and domesticity.
She showed us pieces that she had made during her MA, her work based around Cinderella evolving into her latest project, a series of yellow dusters with text embroidered on to them by herself and members of the public. The piece is called “Women & Domesticity: what’s your perspective?” and will be shown in a pop-up space in Eastbourne to coincide with International Women’s Day, on 28th February.
Alice Lunt is a practising interdisciplinary Artist working across Live Art and Installation boundaries using anything that fits her vision including text, image, film and objects. She studied at Brighton and Chelsea and is a keen member of the Book Art Collective, sporadically making books, sometimes to document her performances.