How did you become involved with artist’s books? I’d always been interested in books and illustrated books in particular. I was developing my work with a strong printmaking approach and discovering historical work by George Cruickshank-( see The Tooth-Ache, 1849) and other historical graphic artists.…
How did you become involved in artist’s books? During an MA in Glass at Sunderland University in 2008. I struggled to find a context for the screen-printed enamelled glass I wanted to make so I approached Newcastle’s Literary and Philosophical Library to which I belonged. …
How did you become involved in artist’s books?
I’d been a writer for about twenty years when I began to feel I wanted more than words. Photography is an old love of mine that I’d kind of forgotten for thirty years. I started taking pictures of friends, lovers and strangers, and began to make photobooks. In the beginning my practice was so private that I just did whatever I wanted – with a bit of help from YouTube videos! Then I allowed myself to do bad illustrations and made zines out of them. I guess, in a way, it all happened organically – this search for other ways to engage with the book form – but was also unexpected. Writing was always how I identified what I do, then gradually I was an artist. Then, about five years ago, a weekend bookbinding workshop at City Lit in London changed everything and opened up new possibilities for me. What I realised as soon as I started studying bookbinding, is that my love for books is just as much for books as objects than it is for what happens inside them.
What is the focus of your practice?
My main focus is trying to make sense of the world. Relationships, sex, Brexit, trauma, PTSD, life in a war zone, how we survive and keep going. I’m very interested in what happens when two people are in a room alone together, and I’m interesting in exploring ways to make sense through mark-making on paper, through abstraction. After a lifetime of relying solely on words – writing is the hardest artform – I like the playfulness and experimentation that visual art allows.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just finished a big artist’s book called Brexit. That was exhausting and abstract, so I’m back to words and trying to finish a couple of novels I’ve been working on for a while. I’m also working on a photobook about sweets and chocolates.
How did you become involved in artist’s books?As an artist I started making books during my time on the Sheffield Hallam Fine Art MA course, and this interest has continued through my current PhD research.
What is the focus of your practice?
I am interested in both the conceptual system and material object of the book, and how these might be used to explore how sense is sought in language. I use drawing, photography, and writing to materialise error, distraction, and association as part of my disruptive devotion to reading. Fragmentary techniques are employed to reject immediate coherence, opening spaces to reflect on minor processes of meaning-making.
What are you working on currently?
Currently I am working on a set of three books for the practice submission of my PhD. Their status is ambiguous as to whether they are art works, remain as practice research artefacts, or function between these possibilities. Each book object accompanies a particular chapter of my thesis but has also existed in a previous form, definitively as an art work, exhibited or shown as such, but additional material has now been added, the original reformulated, as part of the on-going process of cutting together-apart. One of my interests is how art practice might offer ways of visualising and materialising the thinking or sense-making process in relation to the transmission of physical language. I am using art practice to draw attention to thinking, materialise acts around the construction of sense, as well as celebrating interruption and error as tools for breaking a seemingly never ending flow of information.
social media: twitter @rachelartsmith
Marches Book Arts Group comprises makers at every level, from those just discovering the joys of book arts to professional artists renowned for their artist’s books. We come from, and share our skills, in a variety of disciplines from textiles and paper sculpture, to calligraphy, graphic design and printmaking.
Based in the English/Welsh border “Marches” region of the United Kingdom, the group formed in 2009. We meet every month to share knowledge, skills and information. We exhibit individually and together at numerous local and national events during the year, aiming to bring book arts and artist’s books to a wider audience”.
How did you become involved in artist’s books? I first came across artist’s books at the exhibition Certain Trees: The Constructed Book, Poem and Object 1964-2008, tucked away in a room at the top of the V&A Museum in 2008. Locked away in a case was…