|The Blue Notebook:
Journal for artists' books.
ISSN 1751-1712 (Print)
ISSN 1751-1720 (Online)
The Blue Notebook launched in October 2006 as a peer-reviewed journal, published twice a year.
|The journal is published in two
formats: an electronic colour version to be accessed at any time online,
and a paper, black and white version. Subscription covers both formats at
£10 GBP including UK or international
Current issues and back issues are available to order at the UWE online store.
Current and future subscriptions are £10 per annum. Back issues are £5 each.
If you prefer to pay by sterling cheque or postal order, please download tbn.pdf and return your order in the post.
Our referee panel reviews written contributions: Dr Anne Béchard-Léauté, France; Maria Fusco, UK; Susan Johanknecht, UK; Jeff Rathermel, USA; Dr Paulo Silveira, Brazil, and Ulrike Stoltz, Germany.
We welcome submissions of writing on contemporary artists’ books for The Blue Notebook, if you need any info or have any questions, please contact
Artist's page contributions are at the invitation of the art editor, Tom Sowden. Please see the submission guidelines for written contributions.
Volume 8 No 1, October 2013
Essays and reviews for this upcoming issue:
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)
Guy Bigland (UK) has designed a brilliant textwork cover, badge and sticker for this issue.
Volume 7 No 2, April 2013
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
Volume 7 No 1, October 2012
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.
Volume 6 No 2, April 2012
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: 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.
Vol 5 No 2 April 2011
Essays and reviews in this issue:
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 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.
Vol 5 No 1 October 2010
Essays and Reviews in this issue: 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: Angela Callanan
Vol 4 No 2 April 2010
Out of Print
Essays and Reviews in this issue:
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’.
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.
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, UK; Karen Hanmer, USA; Natalie McGrorty, UK; Andi McGarry, Ireland; Richard Price, UK.
Cover design: Tom Sowden.
Volume 4 No 1 October 2009
Cover design by: the artist Stephen Fowler - who has also designed the badges and stickers for this volume.
Essays by: 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
Vol 3 No 2: May 2009
Essays by: 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
Vol 3 No 1: October 2008
Essays by: 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. Beth White is a freelance designer; her cover, sticker and badge designs for The Blue Notebook are based on rebus puzzles, some of which are phonetic.
Vol 2 No 2 : April 2008
Essays by : Martin Antonetti & Mike Nicholson: 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 : out of print
Vol 2 No 1 : October 2007
Essays by : 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 £5
Vol 1 No 2 : April 2007
Essays by : 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. out of print
Vol 1 No 1 : October 2006 (out of print)
Essays by : 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.