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‘Somatic Linguistics’ artist book

16 Apr

Here is an artist’s book ‘Somatic Linguistics’ which I bound for artist Shane Murphy for an exhibition held in The Library Project, Temple Bar, Dublin. The exhibition, on from April 14th – 20th, 2014, explores the process of home taping and the ideas that come with it. Each artist presented an artwork in the form of an audiocassette, accompanied by an artist’s book.

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This book explored issues of phenomenology using the writings of Merleau-Ponty. Fragments of his work are reproduced in braille and printed text, accompanied by tape drawings which investigate the gaps between sound and vision.

I worked closely with the artist in order to develop a binding style that would reflect and amplify the book’s theme. I incorporated various elements into the design e.g. using cassette tape reel to bind the book, whilst establishing a cohesive look and layout for the whole book.

 

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‘Recognition’ Artist book

4 Dec

I recently made an artist’s book called ‘Recognition’. It deals with themes of self-recognition and how one’s sense of self has changed rapidly since the advent of photography, in particular digital photography.

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This binding is called a drum leaf binding. It is a contemporary binding which allows the book to lie completely flat, allowing images to be read as a whole across two pages. It is ideal for artist’s books and also works well as a portfolio.

It was recently exhibited at the Temple Bar Gallery in Dublin as part of their annual Artist Book Fair. 

Boxes for photographic collections

30 Jun

Over the last few months I have been working collaboratively with an artist who wanted a set of boxes to display his photographs in. He was particularly interested in having Tibetan imagery or colours incorporated into the design as he has an ongoing relationship with this country and Buddhism.

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On the spine of each box there is a strand of the Endless Knot – a common motif in Tibet. Each box combined together forms a complete Endless Knot when standing side-by-side. The number 108 is important in Tibetan Buddhism and is reflected in the design – there are 12 boxes which will have 9 photographs in each box. So every part adds up to a bigger whole!

The technical name for this box is a Solander or Clamshell Box. This style has two inner boxes (one fits into the other) and both are encased by a hardback cover. The boxes make a lovely whooshing sound when shutting.

A customised classic

24 May

I was asked recently to personalise a softback novel as a gift. The novel was of special significance to the client’s friend and she wanted to give him a one-of-a-kind version.

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As this book ‘Heart of Darkness’ is set in the jungle in Congo, I thought that the brown undergrowth coverpaper would suit its theme. I paired this with fern green endpapers, hinting at the green growth of a jungle. I also added lighter endpaper directly to the text block. This handmade cream paper is made from banana leaves.

NIVAL Collection

27 Jan

I recently found out that two of my artist’s books are part of the NIVAL collection in NCAD, Dublin. The National Irish Visual Arts Library was set up in the 1990s with the aim of documenting all aspects of 20th century and contemporary Irish art and design and providing public access to the collection.

The library has a large collection of artist’s books and often exhibit them at fairs. It was at this year’s Dublin Art Book Fair that I came across one of my artist’s books on their stand!

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There are many definitions of what an artist’s book is but simply put, it is a work of art realised in the form of a book. They are usually published in small editions and sometimes are one-of-a-kind books.

Above are photos of ‘Roll call’, an artist’s book containing an alphabetical list of Ghost Estates in Ireland and ‘Invisible Lines’, an artist’s book based on a participatory art project I organised.

Pop-up book workshop

13 Aug

This summer I took part in a 3-day workshop on Pop-up books in Oxford. The course was facilitated by Heather Hunter who is a whizz at the art of pop-ups. The first day of the course was dedicated to single slit pop-ups. These are pop-ups that use only one cut to produce a 3D effect. We learnt about shaped, symmetrical, asymmetrical and cut away pop-ups, experimenting with the different effects each one created.

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On the second day, we moved on to double slit pop-ups. As the name suggests, this style uses two cuts to make a pop-up. Building on the previous day’s knowledge, we developed our designs creating more complex structures. We used the last day to develop the array of pop-up techniques we were introduced to. I particularly enjoyed this day and used it to develop multiple combinations of pop-ups within one page.

For the last hour, we made our books into a simple book using double-sided tape to stick the pages together. The spine of my book was made out of an old Tyvek envelope. This is an amazing material which I hadn’t come across before. It is a lightweight synthetic material that is impossible to rip or tear. I’ll definitely try to use Tyvek for future book projects. The completed book is lovely to have as a how-to guide for pop-ups.

President Michael D. Higgins presented with one of my books

16 Dec

President Michael D. Higgins visited the F2 Centre in Fatima, Dublin 8 to launch ‘A Local Imagine Nation – An Arts Plan for Rialto’ on 8th of December 2011. During his visit, he was presented with one of the series of books I made for the F2 centre – I was really delighted!

This book is a twisted accordion book made with 300 gsm white paper. The butterfly on the cover is Fatima’s symbol for its regeneration.

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It was suggested that, as he is a poet, he could use this blank book to write his poetry in. I hope he gets good use out of it!

If you would like to see a video of this visit, check out this website.

Flock of sheep

27 Apr

This flock of sheep is the second ‘book’ that I made for the Sheep and Wool Centre. The Centre gave me 12 samples of wool from a range of different sheep breeds and asked me to come up with a way to display them.

After much discussion, we opted for a child-oriented display: something eye-catching and durable that could also be used as part of a game.

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The Centre had some MDF wood left over from old shelves and wondered whether it would be of any use. I really enjoy making new things from recycled materials and, having dabbled with decoupage before, I thought that this might be an appropriate method to display pictures of the sheep alongside the wool sample, using the wood as a base.

The sheep are free-standing, but can also be laid flat on the ground. The wooden dowels that help them to stand are removable. The front bears an image of the sheep breed on a grass background. On the back is printed a fact about the sheep breed, alongside a sample of wool from that breed.

Aoife O’Toole from the Sheep and Wool Centre collaborated with me on the flock of sheep.

Woolly book

26 Apr

Over the past few months, I have been working closely with the Sheep and Wool Centre in Leenane, Co Galway. The Centre has recently made many changes, including commissioning three books as part of its new display.

The idea was that the first book would display a range of Aran knitting samples, with information about each type of stitch. The wool samples had originally been part of the old display. They were a range of different sizes, colours and thicknesses, which meant it was a challenge to bind them.

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After some experimenting, I decided to crochet a wide border around each sample, using white wool, in order to create a uniform page size and thickness. I resisted the temptation to mount the samples onto another material, as this would have complicated the look of the book and would have restricted the viewer to only seeing/touching the front of the stitch sample.

There was a concern that the pages might be too floppy and might stretch over time. In order to avoid this, I inserted a thin flexible wire around each of the wool pages. I used a nylon-coated fishing wire as I didn’t want it to rust in the salty sea air – Leenane is on the Atlantic coast. The wire is hidden inside the wool and provides a subtle frame for each page.

Before each woollen page, I designed a transparent sheet, which outlines the stitch and gives its name and some information about it.

The book is covered with a highly durable, waterproof book-cloth. The raised design is a ball of wool running from the front to the back of the book. For the front page and end pages, I decided to use Aran stitch patterns as a motif – I was intrigued by the language of knitting patterns.

The book will be on display in the Sheep and Wool Centre in Leenane, Connemara, Co Galway if you happen to be passing by!

Architecture Portfolio

25 Feb

This side-bound book was made to showcase an architect’s portfolio. I worked in close conjunction with the architect to produce a minimalistic cover that complemented the portfolio’s subtle design.

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The cross on the cover mirrors the crosshairs featured throughout the text block’s design. I also fitted two extra spacer lengths along the spine of the book. When the architect wishes to add more pages to his portfolio, he can remove the spacers, thus creating extra space for pages.