| Artists’ Books Exhibitions
at the School of
Creative Arts, Department of Art and Design
University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
Special Collections Room, Bower Ashton Library
28th January - 28th February 2010
I like to make small work, in a way, quite unnoticeable.
It’s not too loud and always small. I don’t like the way big work looks. Big can be vulgar. I like how personal a small piece of work can be. The way only one person can look at it at one time. Only one person can share that experience and for a short while their world is that book. The way you can pick it up and see all the tiny details like a pen stroke or a slight dent in the paper that you might miss looking at a big piece of work. My work might not grab your attention straight away, and there is a chance you could walk straight past it and not even notice anything was there. To me that is part of the work, the chance that something is there and that not one person might see it.
Birds have always been part of my work. The first artist’s book I made was using birds. I made a book using The Outsider by Albert Camus, and used a bird shape to represent the Outsider. Since then, the bird motif has stuck with me. For the Final Show of my Foundation Course I cut out one thousand birds. This involved taking a sheet of A1 paper and drawing around a small template of a simple bird shape that I had drawn freehand in rows across the paper, until the paper was completely covered with the outline of the birds. Then I cut out the bird shapes individually. The whole process was very time-consuming, but I consider this to be a factor of my work. After completing this task I felt I couldn’t stop at just a thousand and carried on cutting them out, and pushed myself to cut out more, even with aching fingers and bruised thumbs. So in the end the final number was something around two thousand four hundred and fifty. Due to the sheer amount I cut out, and the amount of time it took to complete this task I don’t think I could cut a bird shape out again even if I tried.
I have chosen to make this exhibition about birds as I want to honour them and show that even though they might not be the main focus in the work. I will always use them, however big or small their role may be. I have always had a fascination with birds. The sheer beauty of a bird, the amazement of a bird flying, the incredible detail of a feather and the way birds have inspired so many others.
I have handwritten and drawn everything myself, cut the paper and hand bound every book, so all these books are one-offs and there will never be one the same.