Sarah Grace Dye
How did you become involved with artist’s books?
Years ago when I was teaching at the Arts University Bournemouth we taught a unit about artist’s books. During the unit the students learnt how to make paper and had sessions to introduce them to a number of book binding techniques. I think I learnt as much as they did and I was hooked. I stayed behind after their sessions and made lots of paper trapping bits of my drawings in the layers of paper and my first book just kind of happened.
In recent years, Artist’s Books have become integral to my practice because they are portable and can be made anywhere with anything. I travel a lot so need a portable practice but more importantly having moved and down-sized twice in the past year I am aware that whatever I make needs storing in small spaces.
What is the focus of your practice?
I think this is very much still evolving! I am someone who loves a process and playing and it is only later on that I understand why I’ve made what I have. I enjoy materials, especially paper, so I am always collecting particularly papers that others have discarded.
I collect stories real or imagined, I love finding objects and imagining where they came from and who owned them before me. But, also making a book is about trapping a moment in time, memories and thoughts and keeping them safe and away from harm. Drawing, cyanotype and collage work really well in this process.
Over the last few years, I have lost each of my immediate family members to cancer and with that inherited so many objects that have stories and memories attached. I am now the sole keeper of many memories which sometimes weighs heavily giving a great sense of responsibility. I think this has fed into my practice and challenged me to reimagine ways of collecting and recording memories, people and ‘stuff’.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have a series of matchbooks to finish from a trip around South India earlier this year. I collected all sorts of ephemera as I travelled around and a diverse range of matchboxes. I have made thirteen matchbooks so far and have about three left to do. I am also in the middle of a project that is a compilation of holiday scrapbooks from my childhood summers in North Wales, reimagined into a deconstructed old Welsh story book that I picked up in a charity shop in Porthmadog on a recent trip. Finally, I am just beginning to put together work for a publication of recipes, drawings and stories from my travels that will focus on gluten free food.