Yesterday, a bleak, grim winter’s day, when the sun forgot its way and the cloud sulked low to the hills, and my husband and I brewed a winter virus, the postman rang twice.
Sometime in the naughty nineties, I enrolled at the University of Tasmania Art School. Specifically the Paper Mill with a view to learning about paper, binding and artist’s books from the inestimable Penny Carey Wells.
It was a fabulous time – not least for the people I studied with who became such friends. Most had degrees in Fine Arts and were teachers of Art. I wasn’t, but it didn’t matter because the level of paper knowledge and binding was pretty well even throughout…
So much talk lately on being published and not being published.
There’s actually another sort of book: the artist’s book . A book that is conceived by an artist, formatted and bound by that artist. It may have a graphic interior, text, or it may be blank, a rendition of the old-style journal. It will often be made of the most glorious paper and sometimes will be manipulated and folded to create a different style of book: a concertina book, a pamphlet book, an octavo, a ‘fat’ book, so many different sorts. It may have a box specially created to contain the book. And then there are the bindings: a traditional single-case binding, a Japanese side-binding, a Coptic binding and hundreds of other decorative styles.
I have a penchant for artist’s books. I like that there is a creative imagination behind so much of the piece. I like the feel of it in my hand, I like the smell of the paper and the faint squeak from a binding as the book is opened. I LOVE the covers that many artists design for their books.
To illustrate my point, here is a selection of artist’s books from Salt Studio. Salt Studio has a special place in my heart because the artist concerned designed the covers for The Stumpwork Robe and The Last Stitch.