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The Blue Notebook: Journal for artists’ books

We welcome submissions of writing on contemporary artists’ books for The Blue Notebook.

Please see our submission guidelines

If you need any info or have any questions, please contact Sarah at Sarah.Bodman@uwe.ac.uk.

Volume 16 No 1, Autumn – Winter 2021

Volume 16 No.1 Autumn – Winter 2021 is the second of two issues dedicated to The Arts Libraries Society Australia and New Zealand (Arlis/ANZ) & abbe 2020 conference presentations on artists’ books practices. In this issue: Dr Tim Mosely introduces the Arlis/ANZ abbe 2020 collaboration: reimagining the material: artists’ books, printed matter, digital transformation, engagement.

Darren Bryant works within the field of printmaking and artists’ books. His article aims to share insights into his current studio research and to initiate discussion around contemporary manifestations of printmaking and the merging of old and new print technologies.

Annique Goldenberg presents a life story about the composition and material environments of a book, its conception, genetic make-up, birth, ongoing evolution, and descendants. It proposes the idea that an artist book is more than just its title, its physical appearance, and conceptual underpinning. It argues that an artist book has the capacity to materially contain and emanate/engender a complete physical environment that is embodied and adaptively changed through successive stages in its development.

Clyde McGill – Space occurs as a flux in three ways for me as an artist: as imaginings, as material, as creative. Libraries are an enveloping example of this space. This essay explores four related artists’ books and their use of how I consider conventional library space; how I approach a sacred site of aboriginal art as a witness to degradation by mining; thirdly, a geographic and temporal border of Broadway as a passage through New York City over a one year transit to draw, photograph and perform along the way; and lastly, library methods of organisation subverted to visual.

In ‘texturing artist’s book discourse’, Tim Mosely reaffirms the critical roles that artist’s book practice and haptic aesthetics play in advancing artist’s book discourse to the level of a critical field.

Michael Phillips discusses his thoughts and some recent works regarding the role of the autographic and materiality in prints. He examines how the micro haptics of the (post-digital) print may re-balance and contribute to an understanding of what Laura Marks identifies as ‘a cultural dissatisfaction with the limits of [optical] visuality’.

Cover, badge and sticker design: GS. Artists’ pages: Ben Jenner and Sarah Hemings.
Subscribe to Vol 16 for £10 including worldwide postage here.

Blue notebook Vol 15-2 cover
Cover design: GS

Volume 15 No 2, Spring – Summer 2021

This is the first of two issues dedicated to Arlis ANZ / abbe 2020 conference presentations on artists’ books practices. Dr Tim Mosely introduces The Arts Libraries Society / Australia and New Zealand (Arlis/ANZ) abbe 2020 collaboration: reimagining the material: artists’ books, printed matter, digital transformation, engagement

Marian Crawford explores the slipperiness of the character of certain artists’ books as case studies, and considers whether the form and content of these hand-printed artworks present an opportunity to test conventions of both the book and the portrait.

Paul Uhlmann posits that select artists’ books are material objects existing as unique vehicles of literature, simultaneously occupying visible and invisible realms. The books are embodied creations. The pages are the stuff of matter—of oil, pigment and paper—but are also always objects of the body; their purpose is to effect change, to convey sensations and feelings to others.

Caren Florance – The field of Australian artists’ books is a broad and active one, and its development and various histories have been both helped and hindered by the rise of digital culture. The internet has fed and sustained cross-pollination and connection between our regional communities; however, it has also failed us by proving to be unstable, quick to overwrite itself, and expensive in terms of archiving for the future. In the short term, it allows us to find creative solutions for quick-turn needs, as we are discovering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ana Paula Estrada responds to Ulises Carrión’s ‘The New Art of Making Books’. She aims to contribute to a better understanding of ‘the new art’ by presenting two examples – an artist’ book which investigates how papermaking and the book’s materiality can be used to draw the reader closer to the subject matter. The second is a digital artwork that aims to translate oral speech into a form that explores technology as a means of connectedness between aged care residents and the rest of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Angie Butler – By setting phenomenology within the context of art-making it is possible to investigate how we use our minds and bodies through the experience of practice. This discussion considers that contemporary artist-publishing activities that employ the letterpress process, are embedded in how practitioners articulate their bodies and senses to engage with materials, equipment, and presses to develop their work.

Artist’s intro page: Robert Good
Cover design: Tom Sowden

Available to order at the UWE online store.

Blue notebook Vol 15-2 cover
Cover design: Tom Sowden

Volume 15 No 1, Autumn – Winter 2020

Vol 15 No. 1 October 2020 includes a great set of articles from writers in Australia, Norway, USA and the UK: ‘Codex Polaris – book projects from the North’ by Imi Maufe – CODEX POLARIS established in 2013 – is a book artist group based in Bergen, Norway that creates opportunities and exhibition platforms for artists who make books in the Nordic region. Alongside the exhibition programme Codex Polaris invites guest co-organisers to work on various networking projects, and writers to contribute with text works to raise the profile of book arts, spanning both local and international perspectives; Aaron Cohick, founder of NewLights Press writes from Tucson, Arizona, USA and asks – What role can a micropress/artist-publisher play in dismantling white supremacy?; ‘Filling in the gaps: 25 Years of the Field Report’ by Sue Hartigan (Australia) – The Field Report has been filling in the gaps as an assembling publication since 1995 on the peripheries of the art world; ‘Movable type: birds, thoughts, print’ by Caroline Harris – Type Flight is a hand-typeset and hand-bound limited edition poetic artist’s book that disassembles and reassembles a simple three-line poem to experiment with questions of metaphor and its layering, the type letter as a thing in itself, and relationships between human and nonhuman in the making of material poetries; ‘Place and nature in the work of Helen Douglas’ by Maria White examines the importance of Deuchar Mill and its surrounding area in the Yarrow Valley, Scottish Borders, in the work of the artist.

Artists’ pages by Sara Elgerot, Jessica Ho, Leyla Moazzen, Steve Parsons / Sue Vallance. Cover, badge & stickers designed by Sarah Bodman for the collage challenge #wishiwaswhere.

Available to order at the UWE online store.

Blue notebook Vol 15-1 cover
Cover design: Sarah Bodman

Volume 14 No 2, Spring – Summer 2020

Vol 14 No. 2 includes a great set of articles from Sweden, the USA and UK: ‘Some intervals in artists’ books’ by John McDowall; ‘What is material-based poetry?’ A conversation between Joakim Norland and Lina Nordenström; ‘Con·nec·tion’ Rebecca Korn writes about the practice of US artist Lise Melhorn-Boe; Paul van Capelleveen on ‘Five Fragments of Introductions To Robbin Ami Silverberg’s Books’. Roelof Bakker discusses his artist’s book ‘The Spots That Never Went’, a personal reflection on the devastation of AIDS in the 1980s/90s and the lasting impact of the AIDS crisis on a generation of gay men and their friends and families.

Artists’ pages by Csilla Bíró, Mike Dutton, Heather Green and Nigel Robinson.

Cover design: Tom Sowden.

Available to order at the UWE online store.

Blue notebook Vol 14-1 cover
Cover design: Tom Sowden

Volume 14 No 1, Autumn – Winter 2019

Articles in this issue: Ella Morrison’s article Hand to page: touch, performance, and the artist’s book presents a new phenomenological method of analysing the inherent complexities of the artist’s book. Using the work of Czech-born Australian artist Petr Herel (1943-) as case study, it argues the necessity of embracing the experience of the encounter. To do so, it proposes a new interdisciplinary methodology that combines tactile interpretation and the use of first-person with reference to performance theory, Surrealism and philosophy to analyse the book as art object. Applying this methodology to the analysis of Herel’s book I, I am a Blind Man: Three Poems (1999) clearly demonstrates the possibility for an interpretation of the artist’s book that is necessarily scholarly, subjective and experiential. Rather than limiting analysis, examining the experience of the encounter generates room for critical engagement with the previously ineffable, affective qualities of the artist’s book. By proposing a contemporary and experimental approach to the analysis of the artist’s book that combines touch and use of the first-person, this methodology has larger implications for other tactile and experiential objects that sit uncomfortably within the canon.

Altered Images: An interview with David Ferry, on the occasion of the exhibition David Ferry: The Invader’s Guide to the Museum (and other places) at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, UK, March – June 2019. Guest curator Stephen Clarke (Lecturer in Critical and Contextual Studies at the University of Chester) interviews the artist about his work and influences, from his early childhood in Blackpool, UK, to his later, long-term interests in British farce, collage and printmaking.

Documenting Craft: A Discussion of Recordness in Book Art by Robert Riter, explores how works of book art can operate as documentary objects. Books that take as their subject the processes of their creation can function as book art records. These works can be used to make more visible the elements that make up book practices. They can also be collected as records that preserve the history of the book arts. A discussion of recordness in book art is provided through an examination of three works that document hand papermaking, letterpress printing, and bookbinding.

A spit roasted chicken, Metro tickets, the Plan of the Cemetery at Bagneux, and a typewritten text feature in the diary entries Daniel Lehan made during a recent trip to Paris. These entries form part of – DAYPAGES – a collaged diary he has kept daily since 23 February 2015. Pages not featured in his visual essay, record the lack of electricity in the flat where he stayed, a baker who left Afghanistan when his father, a Communist, threatened by ISIS, fled to live in Birmingham, and Lehan’s futile search for the gravestone of the artist Henri Rousseau.

Celebrating the 10th birthday of the imprint The Book Tree Press, Lucy Roscoe reflects back on 10 years of practice. What began as a postgraduate research project, grew into an artist’s imprint, publishing sculptural books which explore how the book form can be used to tell stories, and questioning how these creations might be published. Lucy reflects on the relationship between making and her teaching practice, whilst considering what the future might hold.

Artists’ pages by: Jane Cradock-Watson, Leonard McDermid, Sylvia Waltering and Maria White.

Cover, badge and sticker design: Chrystal Cherniwchan.

Available to order at the UWE online store.

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Cover design: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Volume 13 No 2, Spring – Summer 2019

Articles in this issue: Amir Brito Cadôr writes about The book as performance, from the perspective of artists’ books practice in Brazil. His article is based on an exhibition he curated in Belo Horizonte in 2013, and a guest lecture on performative books at the State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia in 2014.

In Mark To Impress: Utilising New Tools, US-based artist Maria G Pisano of Memory Press discusses the pros and cons of some of her working practices. Relief printing plates have traditionally been carved with knives, gouges and been engraved on wood, stone, metals, etc. This is a laborious process, and in older times different artists specialised in creating the design, cutting the printing matrix and doing the printing. Creating fine detailed images was extremely difficult; laser plates do not have these constraints, once the photographic digital image is rendered, the machine responds to the finest line and detail. There is a hiccup however, laser-cutting text in relief creates problems – there is not enough remaining surface to hold the closely cut letters, and to actualise the cutting and printing the plates of two book works, Colors of Memory and Caudex Folium, this new technology required a novel approach.

Ana Paula Estrada is a Brisbane-based artist working in photography, oral history and artists’ books. She is currently undertaking her Master of Visual Arts by research degree at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. In Documenting Life Stories through Artists’ Books, Estrada considers the ethical implications of, and her approaches to working with two individuals, Kevin and Esta to present their stories. She examines how the artist’s book could contribute to alternative ways of recording and presenting oral histories.

Artist Cat Miller reports on the first in a series of talks curated by Egidija Čiricaitė, Sophie Loss, Jeremy Jenkins and Richard Price at the British Library, London, UK. Artists’ Books Now :: Vol 1 :: Here and Now (April 2018) brought together artists, curators and librarians for an evening of talks about, and handling of artists’ books.

In The sketchbook and the Collider, artist Ian Andrews describes his collaboration with particle physicist Kostas Nikolopoulos. Beginning from a series of hand drawn books, breaking out into site-specific collages and light-box mounted pieces. The work attempts to find equivalents between the visual language of the artist and the particle characteristics and interactions studied by the physicist.

Artists’ pages by: Lee Shearman, Noriko Suzuki-Bosco, Iro Tsavala and typochondriacs (Gen Harrison).

Cover design: Tom Sowden.

Blue notebook Vol 13-2 cover
Cover design: Tom Sowden

Volume 13 No 1, Autumn – Winter 2018

Published October 2018. Curated by Caren Florance, University of Canberra, this issue draws upon a symposium called Poetry and the Artist Book, which was held at the University of Canberra (UC), Canberra, Australia, in April 2017. Organised as a component of the assessment process of her practice-led PhD, the symposium featured Caren Florance, two of the assessment panel members, Lisa Samuels (University of Auckland, NZ), and Susan Wood (Charles Sturt University, Wagga), along with UC colleague, Monica Carroll, and her initial supervisor from the first year of doctoral study at Monash University, artist Marian Crawford. The missing panel member, Paul Uhlmann (Edith Cowan University, Perth), was not able to get to the symposium, joining the panel the next day to experience her graduating exhibition, Reading Spaces. This issue is a brief reflection of the outcomes.

Marian Crawford is a printmaker who has always worked with poets in her artist books but had not spent much time around the academic poetry community. Her presence at the symposium built some new relationships, and highlighted the Venn space between artist books and poetic approaches to book space. Her paper, Invented people who never existed (Javier Marias 2016): printmaking and the ghosts of letterpress, is steeped in the poetics of the letterpress process and its material contribution to the creation of contemporary books.

Susan Wood is an artist who works with textile and printmaking processes: embroidery, quilting, collage and letterpress, to make objects and books. Her work often reworks stories and recycles materials, and her reflections here look at the concept of reciprocity as an ethical creative practice. She hooks onto my doctoral questioning of the use of poetry as source material for artists’ books and explores it for herself.

All of the three sets of artist pages in this issue have relationships with the symposium and my research. Writer Monica Carroll fills the gap left by Lisa Samuels by sharing four pages from her own doctoral thesis. An exploration of the philosophy of Phenomenology, each assessor’s version of Monica’s thesis was an individual work, not a reproduced copy of her research. They are unique manuscripts, with hand-stitching through the pages and exercises for the assessors (which sometimes meant responding to instructions to interact with pages by cutting, drawing and other interactions). After assessment, each copy was reluctantly returned, to form a deeply material collection of her research outcomes. Monica is now an artist’s book researcher, having made the connection that she is, to the core, an artist’s book maker.

Paul Uhlmann has contributed images of himself wrangling his latest artist book. As a graduate of Canberra’s iconic Graphic Investigation Workshop, poetry and poetics are a natural component of his creative practice.

Nicci Haynes (ANU School of Art + Design) started working with poet Angela Gardner when I introduced them during one of our working sessions for my doctoral work. Canberra is a small city, and one of the joys of working at two campuses is the chance to cross-pollinate artists and poets. Nicci’s work is deliberately absurd and chaotic, dedicated to asking real questions, like ‘what does this actually mean?’

Cover, badge and sticker designs: Caren Florance & Angela Gardner.

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Cover design: Caren Florance & Angela Gardner

Volume 12 No 2, Spring – Summer 2018

Published April 2018. Articles: Looped is an installation by artists Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison, presented in partnership with State Library Victoria. Each glass-panelled cabinet case around the domed reading room’s original heritage dais becomes a page. Together, five artists’ books read as one tale told through collage and the written word. The exhibition is currently on display until August 2018, in the La Trobe Reading Room, State Library Victoria.

Joseph J Field describes Life Stories – a book arts project that the author has undertaken at Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester. It developed from volunteer work as an artist on the wards, through research on the value of reminiscence therapy for dementia patients and more generally, how exchanging “life stories” can build empathy between individuals. The process of collecting stories is explained as is the author’s approach to designing artists’ books around the narratives.

Meeting in the Middle: An open-ended visual arts collaboration, examines the collaborative practice of Tamar MacLellan and Philippa Wood through three of their most recent artist’s book projects. Having taken the decision to undertake new ways of working, their aim is to share something of this journey drawing upon pivotal blog posts which enabled the exchanging of individual, intellectual and emotional responses within the development of each project. A conclusion of each project provides observations of the challenges and shifts in practice encountered alongside the resulting collaborative approaches adopted.

Mike Nicholson – ‘Hiding In Plain Sight: A Brief History and Rationale of the ‘bio auto graphic’ series. The Who, the When, the What, the How and the Why? Caught in a flagrant, ever-decreasing circle of self-regard, artist/writer Mike Nicholson considers the achievement of creating thirty editions of his graphic narrative ‘bio auto graphic’.

In context of his earlier creative activities, the self-publishing project he began in 2004 with a speculative ‘Issue Zero’ tests the notion of his relationship to an audience, as well as releasing him from old patterns of process.

AMBruno at Tate Britain Archive: Themed Artists’ Books.An article by Sophie Loss and Cally Trench about AMBruno, a group of artists who make artists’ books to themes. The article is based on presentations given during Tate Britain’s Library and Archive Show and Tell by AMBruno, on 5th May 2017, when nine sets of AMBruno’s book works were on show, along with two sets of limited edition prints and some filmic works. In the article, five of the artists discuss different themes: Black Circle, Lines, Red, words and [sic]. AMBruno Co-ordinator Sophie Loss introduces the group, and explains how it came into existence and how its uniqueness lies in its making and exhibiting of themed sets of books.

Book handling as a research method– Tim Daly: How do we conceptualise touch? Unlike most visual art, touch is a fundamental aspect of interacting with artists’ books and it is not until you have a physical interaction with the artefact that you can fully make sense of it. Despite this, there is no obvious syntax for us to report our experiences of handling an artists’ publication.

During my recent practice as research doctoral study, it soon became apparent that there was no clear framework to describe my experience of handling books, yet this was a fundamental part of my research. Without handling a book, entire swathes of intertextual nuances could be missed – the deliberate material choices of the artist and the reader’s own rich experiential past never get the chance to make meaning.

Artists’ pages by: Kate Bernstein (UK), Darren Marsh (UK) Paul Minott (UK) Miguel Sbastida (Spain).

Cover design by Tom Sowden.

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Cover design: Tom Sowden

Volume 12 No 1, Autumn – Winter 2017

No More Happy Ever Afters. Lyn Ashby writes about his time as a Siganto Research Fellow at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia in 2016 and his thoughts on the narrative in artists’ books. Artists’ books, he concludes, present readers (and makers of these books) with a storyform without prescription or conclusion, that sidesteps the usual limitations and conventions of traditional narrative. In doing this,

he suggests, they offer an honest and contemporary template of sensibility.

The Small Publishers Fair – A Community. The Small Publishers’ Fair (est. 2002) is an annual celebration of books by contemporary artists, poets, writers and book designers, held in the UK. Organiser Helen Mitchell reflects on the community of exhibitors and visitors that bring a unique identity to the event.

The Polar Tombola. Over the last seven years Nancy Campbell has researched Arctic cultures during residencies at Upernavik Museum and Ilulissat Kunstmuseum in Greenland and elsewhere in the region: My understanding of Greenlandic culture has been enriched by my tentative steps in learning Kalaallisut (West Greenlandic), designated a ‘vulnerable’ language in UNESCO’s Atlas of World Languages in Danger. This article describes some of the issues I have encountered while working with Greenlandic that are relevant to my own work as a book artist and poet, and describes my approach to representing the challenges facing contemporary Greenlandic speakers through The Polar Tombola, a participatory art project.

Opening Times: Carrión’s The New Art of Making Books as Creative Stimulus. Jim Butler of Anglia Ruskin University, UK considers different ideas of time and space within the book form. These are examined in relation to other artists’ books and considered in relation to creative stimuli for some of his own bookworks. Butler is particularly interested in how theoretical ideas and texts can be used as creative stimuli. One text he frequently returns to is Ulises Carrión’s 1975 essay, The New Art of Making Books.

Artists’ pages by: Phyllida Bluemel (UK), Deirdre Pretorius (South Africa), Same Same Press (Leonie Bradley & Catherine Cartwright, UK), and Cathey Webb (UK).

Cover, badge and sticker designs Rebecca Weeks.

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Cover design: Rebecca Weeks


Volume 11 No 2, Spring – Summer 2017

In ‘Damp-in-Ditchwater: A satirical staged narrative revealed through an artist’s book’, Dr Jackie Batey explores the balance of text and image in a multi-layered exploration of the absurdity of everyday life, and posits an alternative to the crude polemic in making criticisms of the role that industry plays in the life of the community. Omiros Panayides introduces us to contemporary artists’ publishing practice in Cyprus, through curating contributions from four local independent artists/publishers working with independently printed and published forms of speech and image.

In ‘Unconventional narratives’, Otto presents his personal alternatives to conventional narratives, as explored in his practice as book artist and illustrator, from his first book ‘Helping you back to work’ to recent experiments with format and content. Nancy Campbell interviews book artist Ken Campbell, discussing his new publication, ‘You all know the words’, and the signal works created during 40 years of artistic activity. Campbell recalls his wartime childhood in the East End of London and its influence on his way of seeing, and describes how his early books emerged in the punk culture of the 1970s as a synthesis of his interests in graphic design, fine art and poetry. Noëlle Griffiths reflects on her part in the RE-TAKE/RE-INVENT project featuring fifteen artists responding to the art collection at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. Noëlle Griffiths selected a painting by John Hoyland to examine her own creative process making a series of paintings and related artists’ books.

Artists’ pages by: Marian Crawford, Daniel Lehan, Ton Martens, Philippa Wood.
Cover design: Tom Sowden

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Cover design: Tom Sowden


Volume 11 No 1, Autumn – Winter 2016

Articles:

In ‘Translating Travels’, Bergen-based, British artist Imi Maufe reflects on some of the inspirations for her artists’ books produced in response to travelling. From their early roots in her journals made on childhood trips, to recent works as artist-in-residence; from a year in tiny village in Northumberland, for Visual Arts in Rural Communities (VARC), to the Tall Ships Race, sailing from Ireland to Sweden via Greenock and Shetland, Scotland and Stavanger, Norway.

Carried on from a presentation at ‘The Artist’s Book in Theory and Practice’ conference held at Cardiff University in December 2015, Jeremy Dixon’s ‘A sense of humour, a sense of Cardiff, like – Geoautomusicalbiography in the books of Hazard Press’ explores the personal history of his artist’s book practice. The article looks at the links between Cardiff (and Wales Cymru) in his books and how they have rather unexpectedly formed an on-going project of autobiography based on poetry, memory, queerness, music, images, and a delight in the accidental forms and diversions that the journey of planning and making an artist’s book can take.

In ‘The Gardens | Edinburgh and La Géométrie Pratique’, Jane Hyslop provides a brief introduction to the ethos within her work, the themes repeatedly explored and its context and then goes on to describe The Gardens | Edinburgh and La Géométrie Pratique. These are two major artist’s book projects that were made for exhibitions in Scotland in 2015.

In ‘Making the Book to Discover the Subject’, Ken Botnick explains his meticulous project inspired by Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers. Botnick’s project began in 2009 as a visual investigation of the eleven plate volumes of the Encyclopédie during multiple trips made to the Washington University library’s special collections to photograph the engravings. Six years on, Diderot Project was completed, and deservedly awarded the Minnesota Center for Book Arts Biennial Prize in 2015.

Emma Bolland’s ‘Category Error / Category Terror’ questions the validity of attempting to define the category of ‘artist’s book’ through materiality and form, proposing instead, that the artist’s book is not an object (whether analogue or digital), but a dialogic – trialogic – relationship between artist/writer, object/text, and holder/reader, that results in highly subjective and individuated desire-based categorisation. Drawing on ideas of aura as external construct, Lacanian psychoanalysis, and frame analysis, the article reframes the artist’s book as a mutable experience.

Artists’ pages by: Elizabeth Lebon (Switzerland) and Alex Simopoulos (Greece/UK).

Cover, badge and sticker design by Linda Parr.

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Cover design: Linda Parr


Volume 10 No 2, Spring – Summer 2016

Articles: In ‘The Four Guardians of the Sky’, Ousama Lazkhani discusses his artists’ books practice, multi-cultural inspiration, and techniques employed within printmaking, laser cutting and the artist’s book.

‘Why books? – From image to readable text’. Lina Nordenström of Grafikverkstan Godsmagasinet, reflects on twenty years as a printmaker and book artist working with visual language, a practice balancing on the edge between writing and drawing.

‘Arctica’. Stevie Ronnie – writer and multidisciplinary artist has been working on his ‘Arctica’ project for two years, producing multi-stranded work on the subject of climate change. He recounts his experience with the Arctic residency aboard the Barquentine Antigua and the book works made as a result of these travels.

Helen Scalway’s ‘Free Speech’ considers the artist’s book project ‘An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street’ within the context of recent history. Asking pertinent questions about freedom of speech particularly with respect to books and examining some of the background to the bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street, the street of booksellers in Iraq in March 2007.

Na’ama Zussman considers the artist’s book as authentic space evolving from an abstract entity into a concrete one; a place. The article delineates the degrees of that rhizomatic passage through two of British artist Sam Winston’s works, and reflects on similar structures which could be read as possible precursors for the artist’s book as a ‘Place’.

Artists’ pages by: Mark Addison Smith, Julia Borissova, Siobhán Britton, Friederike von Hellermann.

Cover design Nancy Campbell.

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Cover design: Nancy Campbell


Volume 10 No 1, October 2015

Articles: Mark Waugh (UK) on Eric Lesdema‘s Drowning the Moon; Lucy May Schofield (UK/Japan) reports on her book arts residency at Mokuhanga Innovation Laboratory; Radoslaw Nowakowski (Poland) on How to write a worst seller.

Csilla Farkas (UK) explores Liberature: At the Border of Literature and Book Arts; Mary Cowley-Takaoka (Japan) on artist Kumiko Shindo’s book works responding to the Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami; Danny Aldred (UK): Drifting Through the Looking Glass [a road less travelled], Making living books with old and new tools.

Artists’ pages by: Charlotte Biszewski, Egidija Čiricaitė and Deborah Stevenson (UK).

Cover, badge and sticker designs: Jessica Williams (Norway).

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Cover design: Jessica Williams


Volume 9 No 2, April 2014

Articles: Paul Soulellis on Performing publishing. Infrathin tales from the printed web; Jude Lau, on John Bently, Artists’ Books and The Printhaus: looking for community in books; Angie Butler investigates the draw of letterpress printing and practice by reporting on findings from an online survey in Running My Fingers Across The Surface: Letterpress printing and artists’ books; Logan Sisley outlines the project, Scientia Civitatis: Missing Titles, an imaginary library of knowledge about cities realised by Vagabond Reviews for the exhibition, Phoenix Rising: Art and Civic Imagination, at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. In The E-dge of the Book, Anna Cooper offers elements that help determine ‘bookness’, as a means of considering digital ‘book’ forms and keeping an open dialogue regarding these forms in relation to book arts practice.

Artists’ pages by: Ros Blackmore, Noëlle Griffiths, Rachel Marsh, Richard Roberts and Elizabeth Shorrock.

Cover design by Tom Sowden.

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Cover design: Tom Sowden


Volume 9 No 1, October 2014

Articles in this issue:A Place Where Things Meet: Creative and Conceptual Blending by Emma Robertson (Australia); After midnight – The workings of the Two a.m. Press by Lisa Wigham (UK); Books about nothing by Amir Brito Cadôr (Brazil); Futura Has Always Been The Future by Antonio Claudio Carvalho (UK); Reading Cabinet by Amador Perez (Brazil); Research Residency in Artists’ Books at the Edinburgh College of Art Library by Julie Johnstone (UK).

Artists’ pages by: Craig Atkinson (UK), Emily McVarish (USA), Pineapple Falls (UK), Nathan Walker (UK).

Cover, badge and sticker designs: Molly Lemon (UK).

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Cover design: Molly Lemon


Volume 8 No 2, April 2014

Essays and reviews: Tension, Style, and the Modern Psyche. A Stylistic Analysis of Philip Zimmermann’s ‘High Tension’ by Alison Gibbons; Jeremy Dixon: Aliens, Sunset, and Radioactivity: visiting three artists’ books in Philadelphia; Ciara Healy: And the night was kind. ‘Ruskin’s Ponds’ book works by John Woodman; Pete Kennedy: Lucy Lippard’s Activism and Artists’ Books Activate Me; John McDowall: Some artists’ books and literature; Mat Osmond: The Mingled Measure, Interpreting and Adapting S. T. Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’.

Artists’ pages by: Mat Birchall (UK), Kate Bufton (UK), Amir Brito Cador (Brazil) Jesse England (USA) and Sara MacKillop (UK).

Cover design by Tom Sowden.

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Cover design: Tom Sowden


Volume 8 No 1, October 2013

Essays and reviews: One Hundred Years and On: 100% Books by Canberra Artists. Caren Florance (Ampersand Duck) discusses the decisions and connections made when curating a showcase/ survey exhibition of artists’ books in Canberra, Australia.

Letterpress on the Underground. From the perspective of a screenprinter and letterpress printer, Danny Flynn looks at some of the work that has been produced by these mediums; and the particular letterpress prints that cross over from book-art and print-art to that of guerrilla street art.

Some undisclosed points of remove. Vicky Falconer reflects on her experiences working on the site-responsive artists’ books project at Chelsea College of Art & Design Library, UK, showing publications and mixed-media artworks by Melanie Counsell, Sara MacKillop, Anne Tallentire, Sabine Tholen and Joëlle Tuerlinckx

I Appropriate, Therefore I Am. Dr Nola Farman looks at the artist’s book and its quixotic relationship to the established order and major genres. Its role is to détourne ideas, configurations and postures with persistent resonance. When considered as a form of renewal, appropriation draws art practice into a non-linear logic that resonates in its circularity across a number of planes of activity.

S.M.S. Shit Must Stop: A compendium, A presentation, A poem, An insertion of postcards. James A. Holliday’s essay is a textual response to some of the artworks viewed in S.M.S. William Copley’s artists’ portfolio series from the late 60s.

My Life Unfolds. Natalie d’Arbeloff describes the making of her monoprinted accordion book, included in the exhibition Open Books: Sixteen artists and the Chinese folding-book which opened at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth last year and is currently on tour.

Artists’ pages by: Rodrigo Arteaga (Chile), Sophie Artemis Pitt (UK), Helena de la Guardia (Spain), Claudia de la Torre (Germany) and Laura Russell (USA)

All four-letter words cover, badge and sticker design by Guy Bigland (UK).

Blue notebook Vol 8-1 cover
Cover design: Guy Bigland


Volume 7 No 2, April 2013

Essays: A history of alternative publishing reflecting the evolution of print. An edited extract from Chapter 2 of a new book by Alessandro Ludovico, offers an analysis of the strategic use of print, by avant-garde artistic movements throughout the 20th century, as well as in the context of the underground press from the 1950s through the 1980s, and finally in light of the most recent developments in underground publishing (such as the production of technically perfect ‘fakes’ made possible through digital technology).

Beth Williamson in conversation with Helen Douglas, explores Douglas’s Traquair House, a bookwork commissioned in 2012 as part of Reflective Histories: Contemporary Art Interventions at Traquair House. Responding to the oldest inhabited house in Scotland, and its contents, this manuscript book echoes the small devotional books in the library at Traquair. In its dialogue with both house and reader, this contemporary manuscript calls forth the histories of the house and the book in a fashion that reclaims their importance for the twenty-first century.

Emma Powell explores the development of we love your books – a book arts collaboration that held its first exhibition in 2005. The article charts the eight exhibitions that have been held: Meeting in the Middle; Full Circle / Random Journey; ABC; re: closure; (e)motive; Crop and minute. This is integrated with a discussion of the work of twelve book artists who have exhibited with we love your books. The book-work of Melanie Bush and Emma Powell, co-founders of we love your books, is then explored and the article concludes with a summary and a Call For Entries.

Jim Butler explores printmaking and the artist’s book. While the rise to prominence of printed multiples opens up new possibilities, it presents particular problems for the printmaker, especially those working with non-digital media. This is due in no small measure to the economics of the artist’s book. The development of the concept of an original limited edition print in the late 19th century established an artistic and economic framework for artist printmakers which is still largely valid today. The article considers how this framework might apply to artist printmakers working in book form.

Artists’ pages by: Ellen Golla, Alexander Mouton, Benedict Phillips, Aymee Smith and Daniel Speight.

Cover design by Tom Sowden.

Blue notebook Vol 7-2 cover
Cover design: Tom Sowden


Volume 7 No 1, October 2012

Essays: Holly Pester reviews the publishing collective Information as Material’s anniversary event at the Whitechapel Gallery, London in January 2012. The event, Sucking on Words was a celebration of both sonic poetry and conceptual writing. Also explored is the output of IAM over the past ten years and how their year-long residency manifested their key objectives for art and publishing.

Barrie Tullett of the Caseroom Press, Lincoln, UK, selects key works from the last 250 years as he looks at the book from a design and content perspective, from the novel to the artist’s book and back again.

Andrew Blackley on Publishing Exhibitions, written alongside the organisation of WhiteWalls: Writings by Artists, 1978 – 2008, at Golden Gallery, Inc (NY.) The essay describes a curatorial methodology that has been influenced by the author’s artistic and curatorial experiences in publishing.

Nicolas Frespech presents Invent the digital artist’s book! A short essay exploring some ideas for digital developments in artists’ e-publishing.

Gustavo Grandal Montero Some thoughts on artists’ books in HE teaching and learning. Exploring the collection at Chelsea College of Art & Design Library in London, a re-evaluation of the use of artists’ books collections, to enhance and improve the quality of learning and teaching activities in Higher Education.

Julie Barratt talks to Monica Oppen about the catalogue and exhibition, The Silent Scream: Political and social comment in books by artists. The project evolved over four years, and includes 77 books and bookworks by artists responding to history’s darker moments: from William Blake, through the two world wars and on to contemporary publications.

Artists’ pages by: Rodrigo Arteaga, David Dellafiora, Jeremy Dixon, Dave Dyment, Bas Fontein and Kate Morrell.

Cover, badge and sticker designs: Anwyl Cooper-Willis.

Blue notebook Vol 7-1 cover
Cover design: Anwyl Cooper-Willis


Volume 6 No 2, April 2012

Essays: Jane Simon considers the book form’s juncture with photography as a place for looking differently at domestic detail. Her essay explores the effects of Anna Fox’s use of the (very) small book form upon the viewer’s mode of looking at the domestic.

Ampersand Duck in Canberra, Australia provides a showcase of letterpress printing activity in her local geographic area, in relation to the wider national and international transformation of letterpress printing from a bibliographic by-product of commercial output to an art and design genre that is gaining a new following and a new audience.

Adam Murray on Preston is my Paris, co-founded by Murray and Robert Parkinson in June 2009. The project originally began as a photocopied zine specifically focusing on the city of Preston in the UK, but has since developed into a multi-faceted photographic archive consisting of 40 self-published works that address themes relating to everyday life and social consciousness.

Tim Mosely seeks to contribute to the emerging critical discourse on artists’ books by locating the “haptic” within the making and reading of books by artists. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in their seminal text A Thousand Plateaus bind the haptic to “smooth space” within creative practices. Their theoretical framework and critical terminology of the haptic warrants an application to artist’s book practices.

A Williams proposes an argument for Artists’ Publishing as a theoretical vehicle to move toward a terminology/taxonomy reconciling artists’ books practices with new media developments and shifting attitudes to the ‘Book’ in the digital age.

Artists’ pages by: Alexandra Czinczel, Jon Dunning, Cath Fairgrieve, Nicolas Frespech and Christa Harris.

Cover design by Tom Sowden.

Blue notebook Vol 6-2 cover
Cover design: Tom Sowden


Vol 6 No 1, October 2011

A themed issue on Books and Travel.

Essays: Katie Herzog’s cycling librarians hold their ‘unconference’ on wheels; Steven Daiber’s series of collaborative adventures with artists in Cuba on the making of Privacidad: Privacy. Simon Goode’s book arts pilgrimage to the USA (May to July 2011), as he went on a self-funded fact-finding mission, and his resulting call to action. Pauline Lamont-Fisher walked the route of a found map through the streets of London, to create a new bookwork. Hanne Matthiesen shares her experiences in Lithuania and South Korea with book related excursions in The Wonders of Travelling With Book Art. Maja Wismer & Hinrich on the multi-part exhibition Travelogue as Allegory. Artists’ books, publications and printed matter in the various forms of travelogue, photo book, explorer’s account, sci-fi novel, all became the core of the constellation of the exhibited material relating to the narrative of travelling. Joan Stoltman reviews the jenny-press’ At the Turn of the Centuries: The Influence of Early 20th Century Book Arts on Contemporary Artists’ Books (2010; New Haven, Connecticut).

Artists’ pages by: Hazel Grainger, Jon McNaught, Heidi Neilson and Michalis Pichler.

Cover, badge and sticker designs by Hazel Grainger.

Blue notebook Vol 6-1 cover
Cover design: Hazel Grainger

Vol 5 No 2, April 2011

Essays and reviews: READING versus WATCHING by Radoslaw Nowakowski. Dr Anne Hammond on artists making books in Hawai’i. James Merrick’s essay Words, explores the Book Works of CJ Robinson. Tom Sowden reports on his project Paper Models, to encourage more book artists to explore the amazingly creative tool of laser cutting. David Trigg interviews Sarah J Trigg on her recent project and resulting publication Unsaid Words. Chris Newlove Horton reviews a random dispersal of dust (mutely understood) by Sean Kaye & Jenny West.

Artists’ pages by: Helen Allsebrook, Kevin Boniface, Mishka Henner, Barbara Tetenbaum and Agnes Wolkowicz.

Cover design by Tom Sowden.

Blue notebook Vol 5-2 cover
Cover design by Tom Sowden


Vol 5 No 1, October 2010

Essays and Reviews: Doug Spowart: Every photo deserves a book: the rise of the photobook in contemporary self-publishing. The connections of photography with the book and the key drivers for the emergence of this new author/producer aspect of book making. Lorelei Clark: Making New Worlds: collaboration and its potential for transformation. Andrew Eason: On Making Reading. What is the nature of the relationship between book artists and the people they want to see their work? How does this compare to other versions of the relationship between books and their authors?

Kasia Wlaszczyk reviews White Heat, at KALEID editions. Twenty-two artists from various professional backgrounds such as fine art, fashion, photography, book arts, printmaking, painting, interactive digital media and sculpture. Daniel Mellis reviews Detroit City Map by Kati Rubinyi, which presents a picture of modern day Detroit together with a skillfully disordered account of a 1943 race riot.

Anastasia Denysenko gives an overview of Ukrainian artists’ books and a short introduction to the current state of book arts in Ukraine, featuring the works of several selected Ukrainian artists shown at the Museum of Book and Book Printing of Ukraine in March 2010.

Sarah Jacobs presents an online 8-page piece, Apology Typology, which records a visit made to her ebook, Deciphering Human Chromosome 16: We Report Here.

Artworks by Djeribi, Dr Book (aka Guy Begbie), Jo Moore, Colin Sackett and Klaus von Mirbach.

Cover, badge and sticker design by Angela Callanan.

Blue notebook Vol 5-1 cover
Cover design: Angela Callanan


Vol 4 No 2, April 2010

Essays and Reviews: Sally Alatalo of Sara Ranchouse Publishing in Chicago, reviews three beautiful yet disturbing artists’ books by the American artist Ann Tyler.

Clinton Cahill gives a reflective account of practice-based investigation of issues concerning text and image, including the nature and scope of illustration, through his visual interpretations of James Joyce’s novel Finnegans Wake. Michael Carosone proposes a critical lens to apply a queer analysis, perspective, sensibility, and voice to artists’’’ books and zines, and offers some examples in A Queer Critical Analysis of Artists’’’ Books. Michael Hampton presents an overview of unique books in The Grand Plasto-Baader Books at Kaleid Editions, London, and focuses on the tendency of some of the artists involved to quiz their audience, either through unusual treatments of material, or concealment of means. Dr Emma Powell selects aspects of her recently completed PhD research, investigating the location, selection / rejection and collation habits of 108 creative practitioners. All used rejectamenta – any discarded item, to create work, which Powell uses in her own books. Karen Sandhu provides an overview of the seminar, the idea as book : the book as idea, held in association with MA Poetic Practice Royal Holloway and the ICA, London. The seminar explored the artist’s book in relation to conceptual art and concrete poetry. Dr Paulo Silveira, our Blue Notebook referee, reports on the Perspectives of the Artist’s Book conference, which took place in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in November 2009.

Artists’ pages by: EAK Enterprises – Éilis Kirby, Karen Hanmer, Natalie McGrorty, Andi McGarry and Richard Price.

Cover design by Tom Sowden.

Blue notebook Vol 4-2 cover
Cover design: Tom Sowden


Volume 4 No 1, October 2009

Essays: Reading in Installments: Book Art Meets Installation, by Elysa Voshell; PROJECT (IN)VISIBLE Investigating forms of presentation of the Artist’ Book, by Frans Baake; Personal Matters: Memories, Photography and the Book, by Kyoko Tachibana; Tongue and Groove – 25 Years of Liver and Lights by Chloë King; Silent Reading – Typography & Sign language by Nancy Campbell; Using Heidegger’s ideas on the nature of time and relating them to Keith Smith’s Book 91, investigating the book as a form of living art/live experience, by Sarah Clark; Blurring the Library by Tate Shaw.

Artists’ pages by: Scott McCarney, Lilla Duignan, Giulia Resteghini, Dmitry Sayenko and Alice Potter.

Cover, badge and sticker design by Stephen Fowler.

Blue notebook Vol 4-1 cover
Cover design: Stephen Fowler




Vol 3 No 2, May 2009

Essays: Emily Artinian – photo essay: Allen Ruppersberg is everywhere. Lorna Crabbe – explores the archives of LCC to look at women’s craft history. Sarah Jacobs – Squirrels’ Tails and Burnished Gold. Linda Newington – takes a closer look at the work and influences of the artist John Dilnot.Sophie Loss & Nicholas Bruce Lockhart – have posed a few questions about how artist’s book fairs might develop in the future. Sally Alatalo – interviewed by Tom Sowden and Sarah Bodman. Clifton Meador has made a special A DIY artist’s book Illuminated by the Light of Television in this issue.

Artists’ pages by: Angie Butler, Nadia Chalabi, Andrew Huot, Emily Larned, Lois Palframan.

Cover design by Tom Sowden.

Blue notebook Vol 3-2 cover
Cover design: Tom Sowden



Vol 3 No 1, October 2008

Essays: Robyn Sassen considers the apartheid army as an unexpected incubator for artists’ books in South Africa; Dr Anne Hammond examines non-narrative sequence in photographic books; Your Turn: experiments in narrative and play is co-written by Patricia Allmer, Jonathan Carson, Rosie Miller and John Sears, exploring the book as a site for game-playing and storytelling.

Kyoko Tachibana writes about the current state of book arts in Japan, where graphic design is prevalent, and artists’ books are often considered to be “designed” by artists; Danny Flynn shares his experiments with laser cutting acrylic to replace wood and metal type for letterpress print; and Tate Shaw’s Enfolded by Holes, considers the implications of our relationship with the open book.

Artists’ pages by: David Faithfull, Nick Thurston, Sandy Christie, Baysan Yüksel, E F Stevens, seekers of lice and Carson & Miller.

Cover, sticker and badge designed by Beth White and illustrated by Penny White.

Blue notebook Vol 3-2 cover
Cover design: Beth White & Penny White


Vol 2 No 2, April 2008

Essays: Martin Antonetti & Mike Nicholson on Parallel Readings; Emily Artinian: Who cares where the apostrophe goes? non/participation in the Wikipedia definition of artists’ books; Jana Harper: ARTISTS’ BOOKS 2.0: DIY with POD; Emma Moxey: chimaerae verae, A Review; Tennille Shuster: Personalising Design Through Book Arts, and Tony White, Production not Reproduction: Photo-Offset Printed Artists’ Books.

Artists’ pages by: David Abbott, Clinton Cahill, Jane Hyslop, Bertie Knutzen and J P Willis.

Cover design by Tom Sowden.

Blue notebook Vol 2-2 cover
Cover design by Tom Sowden


Vol 2 No 1, October 2007

Essays: Melanie Bush and Emma Powell, Meeting in the Middle – A Book Arts Collaboration; Alan Halsey IN THE ABSENCE OF BLANCHOT: Nick Thurston’s Reading the Remove of Literature; Sarah Jacobs Readers 2; Mike Nicholson STAND WELL BACK – Notes from the Locus position; Tate Shaw Walking Through Walls: Meditations on Recto/Verso; Chris Taylor The Top 100, National Gallery of Canada.

Artists’ pages by: Amin Musa, Joan Ainley, Todd Abbott, Jackie Batey and Manya Donaque.

Cover and badge design by Helen Murgatroyd.

Blue notebook Vol 2-1 cover
Cover design: Helen Murgatroyd


Vol 1 No 2, April 2007

Essays: Lynn Sures (USA) VARIATIONS: on the Dialectic between Mingus and Pithecanthropus Erectus; Iain Biggs (UK) Place, Enchantment, and ‘Visual Refrain’: A context for recent book works by Helen Douglas; Frans Baake (The Netherlands) Kirjahduksia Affairs Artists’ Books in Finland; Kyoko Tachibana (Japan)artists’ books news from Japan; Joanne Lee (UK) on the published works of Sharon Kivland; Nancy Campbell (UK) Creating Co-incidences; The Possibility of Poetry from Migrant Magazine to Artists’ Books.

Artists’ pages by: Matt Lumby, Sue Platt, Christian Brett and Alice Smith, Anwen Williams and Nick Pearson.

Cover design by Tom Sowden.

Blue notebook Vol 1-2 cover
Cover design: Tom Sowden


Vol 1 No 1, October 2006

Essays: Nola Farman The Case for Failure in Artists’ Bookworks; Marshall Weber Justice is Beautiful: Expanding the Paradigm of the Artist’s Book; Sarah Jacobs Reader; Mike Nicholson Shelf Life – in consideration of new pages turned, fresh narratives and unexpected characters; Tate Shaw Reading as Prowling, Furtive Roaming; Tim Mosely Integrating artists’ books and papermaking.

Artists’ pages by: Bill Burns, Lucy May Schofield, Kurt Johannessen, Roy Voss and Angie Waller.

Cover design by Tom Sowden.

Blue notebook Vol 1-1 cover
Cover design: Tom Sowden