Book Arts

MiniBABE: Bristol Artist’s Books at Home, at Arnolfini

03/05/20 – 07/05/20

Every other year we collaborate with Arnolfini on BABE, the Bristol Artists’ Book Event. Our next BABE is scheduled for 2021, but in the interim, this Spring we got together virtually to present MiniBABE: Bristol Artist’s Books at Home, during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Each day from 3rd – 7th May a series of events and activities were presented online on Arnolfini’s website.

MINIBABE | Book Walks in Lockdown saw Angie Butler, Melissa Chemam and Eilis Kirby (EAK Press) present their responses to walks around and life in their neighbourhoods in the city of Bristol.

On Monday 4th MINIBABE | Desert Island Books included our top books for lockdown, selected by Sarah Bodman, Jon Hill, Phil Owen and Tom Sowden. From books that could be used to spur activities, to works by local artists, or ancient manuscripts, and book works held in Arnolfini and CFPR’s archives. Visit them here until 30th June 2020.

On Tuesday 5th May, MiniBABE | The Balanced Aquarium Workshop was published with instructions from artist Stephen Fowler to create your own hand printed aquarium. As Stephen explains: The ‘balanced aquarium’ was conceived in the Victorian era, inspired by terrariums (small glass-enclosed, indoor garden/ecosystem where photosynthesis, respiration, and the water cycle can be observed) zoologists sought to create something equally as self reliant and meditative. Except with the addition of animals this proved somewhat problematic in practice, several of the inhabitants were often eaten by their not so friendly neighbours. The workshop is online here until 30th June 2020.

Wednesday 6th May saw the results of members of UWE’s Artist’s Book Club’s collaboration at a Word-binding party with Beth Calverley of The Poetry Machine. Beth hosted an inclusive conversation to draw out what book art means to us all. After everyone had contributed, Beth created a poem on her typewriter that incorporated all ideas into one collaborative piece. You can read the poem online until 30th June here.

And finally, on Thursday 7th May, the MiniBABE | Collaborative Tribute to On Kawara in Lockdown took place. Organised by Tom Sowden, this tribute to On Kawara’s ‘I Got Up’ series of artworks saw 180 people send in an image of where they got up that morning, from Ballybeg to Bristol, Barletta to the North Boambee Valley. You can view the collaboration by searching Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #igotuparnolfini.

Many thanks to Arnolfini staff, especially Phil Owen, Jon Hill, Sara Blair; ABC at UWE, Angie Butler, Beth Calverley, Melissa Chemam, Eilis Kirby, Stephen Fowler and everyone who participated in the collaborative artworks. We look forward to seeing you at the next BABE in 2021.