bookish

Alice Fox book binding experiments

I have books on the brain at the moment – if I’m not writing words for one, I’m playing about with book forms. On a recent workshop I was teaching, where simple book forms was a small part of what we did, I was inspired to try out some new bindings. I used some of the demonstration samples to experiment with and now they have become little books.

Alice Fox making book signatures Alice Fox making book

I recently got a copy of Little Book of Book Making, out in America (and I think a UK version is coming out later in the month under a different name) in which my work is featured alongside some amazing book artists. Making books is just a small part of what I do and I only use very simple structures, so I feel very honoured to have been included in such a collection.

Alice Fox handmade book

collar books

Alice Fox Shirt collar book #1 d

Now that the Shirt Collar Project exhibition is open and the final pieces have been revealed I can share a few images of my finished work. There is a full explanation of the process and decisions that led to these pieces over on the project blog. I ended up making three small book forms using the prints I made from my collar. I find the 3D nature of these pieces very pleasing. I often feel drawn to working in a more three-dimensional way and perhaps this project has taught me to go with that impulse. I really allowed the experimentation with the materials to lead me this time, with no particular outcome in mind: a really useful challenge.

Alice Fox Shirt collar book #3 a Alice Fox Shirt collar book #3 b Alice Fox Shirt collar book #2 c
Alice Fox Shirt collar book #1 b

Alice Fox Shirt collar book #1 a

folding and binding

Shirt collar books wrapped

I’ve been working on my contribution to the Shirt Collar Project and it has taken me in a direction I didn’t expect.  Pictures of the final pieces from all ten artists will be revealed over on the project blog but here are a few images of my process as it unfolded (or folded!). I didn’t expect to make book forms but having printed from my collar on to both paper and fabric I then tested various routes and this was the one that I ended up following.

Alice Fox Shirt collar prints cut upAlice Fox shirt collar book bindingAlice Fox shirt collar book folding

production line

There’s nothing quite like a production line to give you a feeling of satisfaction at achieving small goals.  Making and writing Christmas cards in between other jobs this week I have been reminded of how rewarding repetitive tasks can be.  Whether it is weaving, stitching, folding paper… once in your stride the task is repeated fluidly and with rhythm.  Paying attention to the smallest detail of the movements; applying just the right amount of pressure; placing something exactly where it should be; enjoying the physical movement of each small element; mind focussed yet available to explore and reflect at the same time.

>miniatures

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While I was away on holiday last week I got rather a lot of work done. Maybe that was partly a result of having no internet access! I’ve been working with samples and leftover bits and pieces from my natural dyeing experiments over the last few months along with a new batch I dyed just before going away. I took the newly dyed batch with me to dry out slowly on the wooden porch.



I then opened them up, once some time and fresh air had done its stuff, to reveal these lovely little concertinas and marked units.



I’m using paper of different weights that has been folded, clamped and dyed with onion skins and some with red cabbage (giving a lovely blue).



I have rough grids and squares and little units, which I’ve brought together to make little assemblages. Some pieces have squares of wool felt that have been clamped and dyed in the same way as the paper. The dye on some is so dark (aided by the metal in the clamps) that they look charred. There are also rust marks from the clamps that merge with the onion skin colour.



Copper wire stitches bring everything together and each piece is mounted on board ready to pop into a frame.

>getting going

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On Monday I cleared my space at college of all last semester’s work. Through the week the space has slowly filled up with new things.


I’ve used the photo copier a lot this week: quick experiments in shades of grey; deconstructing.


Also lots of folding, changing angles, shifting lines.


And as for that green wall at the Hepworth…


Friday afternoon listening: The Parlotones, Stardust.