After undertaking a 5 week artist’s book making project, I have finally completed my first Artist’s book. I have been making pages using different print techniques with a view to binding them into a book but I didn’t really know how it would be bound or what to expect so I just worked hard on creating lots of different pages to fill it with. I chose the pages I wanted to include before starting the binding process and discounted quite a few that had ink stains on them or were similar to other prints etc.
I folded the chosen pages and put them into signatures before stitching all the signatures together so all the pages turned as one body like a book. I then glued the spin and placed skrim over it and weighted all the pages down, just to help keep the book together. I was already so pleased with my book and it didn’t even have a cover, I couldn’t believe that my 5 weeks had amounted to this and it was all coming together so well. I cut a front and back cover and a spine and covered them with book cloth before gluing my book in place in the cover and leaving it to dry.
I am so pleased with my Artist’s book, it links to my subject work and has a connection to nature. It incorporates different ways of printing with nature as well as hand-made paper with nature embedded in it. Turning through the pages of the book It definitely makes me feel connected to the natural world. I have employed so many print processes and without undertaking this project I would never have explored the possibilities of creating a connection between art and nature through print. It is so satisfying to know you made the book down to the paper and hand printed the title etc. I am very proud of my artist’s book and will treasure it. I have learnt a valuable new skill and I would like to make more books in the future.
Having not been focussing on my subject module for a matter of months, I found I needed to experiment with different techniques and make work slowly easing me back into my nature inspired project. I was thinking about the fact that so many of our art materials actually derive from nature and how to some extent, without nature, art may not be so extensive. Obviously paper comes from trees and pigments and oils and shellacs etc derive from the natural world, but also I paint on board which led me to think about making some woodcuts.
Carving into wood goes far back in history and I feel that eventhough I am not using the raw materials I have found outside like I have been doing within my project, I am still to some extent calling upon nature for the material to allow me to make my prints.
I started by simply cutting out simple imagery of the Brecon Beacons Mountains using line and mark making, then painted shellac (another material originating from nature) over the carvings to seal them and printed them to see the kind of marks that I was achieving from the woodcut.
I was suprised by the prints and after seeing how just some simple marks could create such an interesting outcome I decided I would experiment with layering woodcuts on top of each other and cutting more out of the carving eachtime to create different layers of colour peering through each other.
I have never experimented with this technique before but you learn by experimenting and I am pleased with the results. It was quite difficult to get my head around at first because everything that you carve out will be the colour that you printed out before but I got it in time. This was a very time consuming process and even though I am very happy with the outcomes I don’t think it will be something I will be revisiting this year as I do have a time limit.
In Producing an art project where art has a connection to nature, I think it is important to be experimenting with materials that come from “art” (board, paper, paint, brushes etc) and materials that come from nature (leaves,twigs, moss) in order to find a relationship between the two. I have done a lot of experimentation with both areas within this project and I now feel that I am more equipped to decided what I want to produce towards and as my final outcomes of the project.
After attending a collagraph workshop and thinking about different ways that I can incorporate nature into art, I decided to collagraph some elements that I have collected on walks through natural environments and see what kind of detail would come out in the prints. I simply glued the elements to square pieces of card, painted shellac over the top of them, allowed them to dry and inked them up to print. Some of the plates came out better than others. It is interesting taking prints directly from nature itself. The marks in my opinion, have a greater connection to nature than if you were to draw it from observation. As well as the Prints, I think the plates are very beautiful objects and definitely artistically depict nature.
Some of the leaves and foliage I picked up wasn’t that textured or raised from the card and so didn’t print as well. But overall the prints I produced are quite successful. They show all the veins of the leaves and document some of the textures of nature that you may not see with the naked eye. This was a worthwhile experiment and has allowed me to document nature in a new way.
I think I am going to print these collagraphs again onto paper to go in my nature themed artists book that I am working on in and outside the artists book making workshops I am attending on Thursdays. I want to include a variety of different printing techniques into the book, depicting natural elements so these collagraphs will be a great addition.