Wednesday, 3 February 2021

the wood itself

 'the wood itself' is an A6 book inspired by my love of a silver birch tree that grows in my garden.

The tree is fully mature and I love to watch it change through the seasons. It offers habitat to many birds and wildlife, which is a part of nature in which I've become much more interested in recent years.

The cover is made from recycled brown paper with a layer of tissue paper glued on top. This, I think, resembles the peeling, flakey bark of the trunk.

I have extracted text from information about birch trees at to create the poems/phrases, some of which are lists of words that are beautiful when read out loud.

Cover: 'the wood itself'

Title page

Extracted text from 'the wood itself'

Extracted text from 'the wood itself'

Monday, 25 January 2021

Salt in the Wound

Salt in the Wound is a small concertina book with a short poem about truth and loss.

The sea metaphor suggests a loss of life as the final act at the end of a relationship.

I stretched a large sheet of thick paper on a board and using a brush, washed oil based printing ink and water based drawing ink over the surface. The oil and water repelled in areas, created an effect of the sea, waves and ocean depth. 

Once dry, I cut the paper off the board and drizzled water based ink down from the top to create the back of the book.

The text was printed onto newsprint, then cut and glued to the folded book.

There are 6 copies of Salt in the Wound.

Salt in the Wound 2021
9 x 25cm Concertina book
Handpainted cover with inkjet printing on newsprint.

Salt in the Wound 2021

Salt in the Wound

My thoughts, once reasoned,

Now flying, tossed on blown spume.

Undertow calling.

The ragged untruths,

Spilling over my edges.

Drawing me under.

Your silence completes.

Surrendering, drowning cuts

Like salt in the wound.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

I See Myself

The short piece of text for 'I See Myself' came about after a very restless nights sleep, with ideas and thoughts running around in my head, leaving me tired & wired at the same time! When the alarm went off at 6am, the first line of the text popped into my head, quickly followed by the second and third. I quickly started to write them down, knowing how easily they can slip from the mind.

I later tweeted the verse, then decided, again without much deliberation, on the style of book and the papers I would use.

It really is wonderful when book making ideas happen in such a straightforward way, especially as some, by contrast, take an age to formulate! Happy day!

'I See Myself' measures 10.5 x 6cm and is inkjet printed on newsprint. The card is 175gsm Artcard with a tracing paper insert and a cover of Abaca paper.

Front cover: I See Myself 2020
10.5 x 6cm 

Inside text

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Solomon Browne

The Solomon Browne was a Penlee lifeboat with crew from the Cornish village of Mousehole. In December 1981, a crew of eight answered a call from a cargo ship called the Union Star. In heavy seas and hurricane force winds the Solomon Browne and her crew battled to save lives aboard the stricken ship.

However, despite their courage, all eight crew members from the Solomon Browne lost their lives that night, as well as those aboard the Union Star.

This disaster was the last time the RNLI lost an entire crew in action. Every year on 19th December, the Christmas lights in Mousehole are dimmed in memory of the 16 people who lost their lives.

My A6 handmade book  was inspired by a song about the Solomon Browne by folk group Silvington.

I researched articles online and extracted text from the RNLI page about the incident. The resulting prose, I hope, conveys the unfolding tragedy and the disbelief and grief from such a sad event.

I hand painted the artwork on a large sheet of cartridge paper using ink and water. I scanned images from the the artwork for the inside and then cut the artwork up to make the covers for the books.

Solomon Browne is an edition of six.

Solomon Browne
Front cover

Solomon Browne
Example of inside page

Solomon Browne
Example of inside page

Saturday, 23 March 2019

The Museum of Loss

The Museum of Loss is a series of A6 books about my parents and relatives.

My mother wrote her (unpublished) autobiography in her retirement years, making copies for myself and my brother before she died.  In it she talks about her childhood, reminiscing about traditional family stories as well as baring her soul from times long ago. Having researched family history, back as far as 1750, she also documented details of the lives of her parents, grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles.

The autobiography has been an important source of information from which images and text have inspired my book works. This highly emotive subject has taken a long time to evolve into hand made books and the process has been quite daunting at times.

I have used extracted text, written poetry and hand written lists to form the first three booklets in the series, titled, '...and in memory of my father who never had a son', 'Molly Shaw', and 'Fifield'. There are 10 copies of each.

'....and in memory of my father who never had a son' 2019

A6 Inkjet printed on 175gsm Artcard real grey
and 55gsm newsprint

Molly Shaw 2019

A6 Inkjet printed on 175gsm Artcard pristine white
and 55gsm newsprint

Fifield 2019

A6 Inkjet printed on 175gsm Artcard china white 
and 55gsm newsprint

Monday, 4 March 2019

France 2018

Inspiration for drawings comes almost every time I go anywhere! Usually I am drawn to the countryside and seascapes in the southwest of the UK, but this selection of small drawing came via a visit to France in 2018. 

I took photographs of the beautiful chateaux in the Loire Valley and some interesting buildings in towns in the area. Once home, I worked the drawings onto French newspaper and mounted them onto grey card.

I then made a simple A5 booklet by binding the 12 pages with a bulldog clip. The drawings are all originals and there is only one copy.

France 2018
210 x 148mm 2019
Inkjet printed in newsprint. 
Cover: 270gsm Colorset card.

Inside: Original drawings
Ink on newsprint

Inside: Original drawings
Ink on newsprint


Assemblage is a list of objects found nestled into the nook and crannies in a garden wall in Calstock, Cornwall.

Naturally, seeing a collection of objects like this, I wanted to make a list of them!

I took photographs of each object so that I could make a written list at home. I thought for quite a while about the design and layout of the book, before settling on the short landscape layout. I chose to handwrite the list as a continuation of my interest in repetitive writing tasks.

My next train of thoughts surrounded the ever present use of plastic used in the making of the majority of the objects, especially children's toys. I decided to use bight coloured card for the cover, representing the colours of many of the toys, but also to use recycled card and paper in the books. I have drawn attention to environmental concerns over use/reuse and recycling of plastic in a label attached to each book.

So far I have made two books, each with a different binding.

Assemblage 1 2019
210 x 74mm
Ink on 270gsm Colorset recycled card

Assemblage 2 2019
210 x 74mm
Ink on 270gsm Colorset recycled card

Inside: Handwritten list
Ink on 120gsm Colorset recycled paper