| Quiet Room at Bower Ashton
Library, UWE, Bristol
Connecting Small Artists' Books - 2012
Organised by Jan Melville, Australia
Artists’ books from the Sidney Nolan Trust, UWE Bristol UK, and Warringah Printmakers Studio, Australia
2nd July - 31st August 2012
In September 2011, I was the Australian printmaker and book artist in residence with the Sidney Nolan Trust, The Rodd in Herefordshire UK. While in residence I had an invitation to travel to UWE, Bristol to meet Sarah Bodman Research Fellow in Book Arts at the Centre for Fine Print Research where I was able to tour their amazing facilities in their print studios.
During my residency at The Rodd, as part of Herefordshire Art Week, I held Altered Books and Box Assemblage workshops and through these workshops met some of the book artists from The Trust, including Lin Charlston and was able to view the artists’ books at their annual exhibition and show examples of my own books.
Before leaving I spoke to Lin about my idea to connect book artists from the Sidney Nolan Trust and UWE Bristol with Australian book artists, a number of whom are members of The Warringah Printmakers Studio (http://www.printstudio.org.au) in the northern beaches Sydney, where I have taught intaglio/relief printmaking for 12 years.
Returning to Sydney I approached Sarah and Lin with an invitation to hold exhibitions in Australia and the UK of small artists’ books no larger than 14 x 8.5 cm (closed). I suggested that each of the three groups select and invite 15 artists to participate with one book each. Both were enthusiastic to be involved in this project with Lin to approach members of the Sidney Nolan Trust Book Arts. Looking ahead at possible space constraints at venues and ease of the books traveling between Australia and the UK, I decided to keep the size of the books small as I first suggested.
Included in the 15 artists that I invited in our Australian group we have an honorary Auzzie with a book artist from NZ and two artists collaborating on one of the books.
Meanwhile meetings held by Amanda Fitzwilliam and Anthony Plant from the SNT with Richard Cox brought on board Cardiff School of Arts. Venues and dates at present confirmed are UWE (2 July - 31August) SNT (6 -16 September) Cardiff School of Arts (19 Sept - 22 October).
In Sydney following my meeting with Manly Library who hold their own biennial Artist Book Awards, the books will be shown there late in 2012 with an exhibition to follow at the Milk Factory Gallery in Bowral in January 2013. As this is the final venue for showing the books I will hold a two-day Book Arts workshop within the gallery.
This project is about building connections onto connections and to encourage the exhibiting artists to connect with others with a view to swap books at the end of the final exhibition.
The project was able to work due to the three groups being enthusiastic about the connecting of the small books with others. Using the art of books between book artists from Australia and the UK may lead into other book artists to start up further connections in the future with similar projects. It would be wonderful to see books just keep on connecting…
The books in this exhibition from Bristol have been made specially for the project by students on the MA Printmaking course, Faculty staff and alumni.
The contributions from UWE were coordinated by Alice Drake.
The Sidney Nolan Trust
Founded in 1985 by the eminent Australian artist Sir Sidney Nolan (1917 - 1992) for the purpose of supporting the work and development of artists and musicians The Sidney Nolan Trust owns and manages a 250 acre organic farm on the Herefordshire/Powys border facilitating projects that bridge artforms and span the arts and the environment.
Book Arts at The Trust began in a small way, growing from the interest of fine art printmakers already working here. The group has grown over the last 6 years, focusing on pursuing Book Art as a fine art process.
The Sidney Nolan Trust,