This month has been full of small group events and happenings, and also viewing quite a bit of artwork, not just in London, but in my new favourite city Liverpool as well.

At the beginning of the month was East London Printmaker’s box set exhibition in the 242 Gallery in Hackney. We had one print each on the wall and prints from previous years displayed in arty wine boxes. Sales were very very brisk, which left us as a collective with a warm glow. My print Cocoon from last year’s box set is now sold out, but have had no takers (yet) for this year’s one of my dad called Swan.

After that excitement I got into the world of making books. I have been making little books for the past 4 years, ever since a residency in Caldera Arts Center in Oregon where I was in a studio made of grand wooden beams in the snow with not enough light to make prints, but a wonderful cosy cottage where small playful books took form. At last count, I have made over 45 of these books, which are usually much like a sketch of something that is funny, or intriguing, or surreal. Folds and hidden spaces play a strong role, and I love books which can be read in more than one way.

The latest book is still on the dad theme, he is posing as a strong man on all four sides of the sheet, which folds as a triangular diagonal, and he appears with a huge smile and biceps curl in the centre. It stands up as a sculpture as well as able to be read as a book with pages that turn- if you look across the pages you can hybridise his body and morph him into weird shapes. This has to be seen to be believed…

I participated in a cool and very fun book fair called Handmade and Bound in St Aloyisius Hall, Euston, on 21st November, where I had my very own stall for the first time. I was really pleased to sell books and prints, and it was really packed as they’d managed to get it listed in the guardian guide for things to do that weekend.

As a result of Handmade and Bound, my newest book was then invited to be part of the Folio Magazine inaugural launch party in the Rag Factory, off Brick Lane, on the 27th November. Here is a picture of someone giggling at the book.

 

This month, I was lucky to visit the Liverpool Biennial just a few days before it closed. I was really inspired and impressed by the ambitious installation projects, video works and general buzz of creativity in the city. Sachiko Abe’s performance at the A-foundation (a silent girl in the gloom of a warehouse factory space, sitting up high like some kind of Rapunzel, cutting paper rhythmically and meditatively into thin shreds that tumbled down over the balconette and along the warehouse to a massive mountain 10ft high of soft white glowing paper curls) and lots of the video pieces really stood out in my mind, as well as some of the painting and woodcarving in the Renshaw Street studios.

Another favourite place was a deserted hotel called Europleasure International with broken windows and a huge facade that stretched the length of a dilapidated street. In the darkened gloomy interior there was a video playing of previous employees throwing bricks at the windows, in slow motion you saw their faces jiggle and an expression of glee as they threw a stone towards the glass, then in even slower motion the old glass would shatter and tumble and crash to the interior of the room and bounce into a million tiny pieces. It was comical and beautiful and pathetic all at once.

Funnily enough, one of the most inspiring things that I saw was not in the city itself, but in Sefton Park when I went for an early morning walk in the frost. I have been making these clothes without heads after my recent trip to Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts in August, and here was a real life abandoned bit of clothing in front of me!

It’s not the same, but compare it to this most recent block that I was working on earlier this month

(I will post a photograph of the completed print later).

Back in London I visited the Saatchi Gallery with my sisters and nephew;

Ana Maria Pacheco’s installation called Shadows of the Wanderer in St John’s Church, Waterloo;

and Treasures of Budapest and the Glasgow Boys shows at the Royal Academy. Lot’s of exciting things to take in!

Finally to top it all off, I got to visit a professional fabric print workshop called London Printworks in Brixton. They kindly showed us around their brand new revamped studio complete with non slip resin painted floors, fancy ducting ventilation system and huge expanses of broad perfectly smooth and inviting fabric beds for printing lengths of fabric for the fashion industry. It was great to see, and I got some top tips to implement in the studio, though obviously it will be the budget improvised version in our case!

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