yToday, we took part in a book-making workshop with Sarah Edmonds.
She started off by showing us a range of her own books that she’d brought, including a range that she’d hand made herself; then we got to make our own. Sarah showed us two easy techniques of how too fold a basic book using just one piece of A3 paper.
- This technique was done by folding the A3 piece of paper in half once horizontally and then twice vertically, then by cutting slit the middle of the paper like in the first photo below. When folded, the book should look like the second photo below. This technique creates an A6 size book.
2. This technique was done by folding the A3 piece of paper in half four twice – twice horizontally and twice vertically, then by cutting the slits in the paper as in the first photo below. Once folded, the book looks like the second image below. This technique creates an A7 size book.
Next we got taught how to make pockets in a book and got to make our own prototypes. I designed my book with a young audience in mind so made what could be used as a learning book to teach a child their colours. Each page has a different colour on it with a pocket on each, and the child is would be able to pick out an object from the pocket which is that colour. For example, on the ‘Red’ page, in the pocket there is a red apple. Because I wanted my book to be A5, I had to join together three A2 pieces of paper to ensure it was the right size once folded – this made the folding very fiddly and I think if I were to do it again, I would make the book A6 instead to avoid this. Here is a photo of my pocket book prototype:
Finally we made our own proper books with a hard back cover and binding. I started folding A5 pieces of paper in half to create the pages, then used a scalpel to cut out some decoration on the front page, and then pieced the pages together. I then binded the pages with a needle and thread.
Next I made the cover by using foam board and covering it with fabric. Then we attached the book pages to the inside to finish it.
Since making the book itself, I have completed the front cover design and have been drawing decorative borders on each of the pages. I plan to fill the book with short poems or stories and perhaps do some letter pressing or printing in it.
For this project, I chose to create my own interpretation of the word ‘lost’ through image and wanted the end piece to tell some sort of a story. I started by gathering a range of different ideas for my final piece – my main thoughts when I thought of the word ‘lost’ was emotion, particularly sadness and loneliness. I decided to focus on this. I chose to look at the eye in particular as I feel that the eye can tell a lot about a persons’ feelings this way and you often hear the phrase, “I could see it in their eyes.” Eyes are extremely good at portraying emotion. I captured a photograph of my own eye using macro settings that I felt portrayed deep emotion and decided to use this.
Other images that I developed included a simple drawing of a slouched figure, looking lost and depressed; a skull to suggest loss through death; and even a child to suggest loss of a child, or anyone at all for that matter. In my tutorials both with Ray and then Suzanne, it was suggested to me that I think about loss of direction, as a contrast to emotional loss, but still consistent to the original word, ‘lost’. After taking on these suggestions, I developed my piece by adding a busy-looking street map which I layered over the eye using Adobe Photoshop and an overlay tool. I also added the figure illustration and skull to my new piece.
After adding these elements, although I loved the effect of the street map layered over the eye, I felt as if the piece was now much too over-crowded and that not all of the elements were needed.
Below is my final piece that I submitted on Friday for the deadline. I remade all of the illustrations in Illustrator, rather than in Photoshop to avoid any pixelation and also completely got rid of the skull and instead used the outline of a fetus baby in the pupil of the eye. This alongside the faded silhouette of a human figure, suggests that the story behind the image is that it is a mother who has lost her child, or because the silhouette is not clear who it is, it could be just anyone who has lost someone close to them. Both illustrations also have their opacity reduced to around 20-40%, making the viewer have to look closer to spot them, drawing them in. Overall, I really enjoyed creating this final piece and was delighted with my all positive feedback.
Personally, I feel that when my piece was printed and put up on display, the printed version did not to the on-screen version justice because the colours are so much more vibrant when looking at the piece on a computer screen. I feel that there are still a few minor changes that I could do to improve the piece – I think that the outline around the silhouetted figure is probably not needed as it clear enough without it. Also, after printing the baby in the eye did not show up clearly at all and one had to look extremely hard just to be able to see it faintly – I believe it could do with being made just a little bit clearer – I want it to be faint so that you have to look close, but not this faint.
Today, I took part in a letterpress workshop which was run by Kim – it was a new experience for me as it was something that I’d never done before. The letterpress room alone was incredible, every wall was lined with drawers and drawers of minuscule little printing letters, of every font and size imaginable, I knew I was going to love it straight away.
In order to create something with such a simple look, the process is surprisingly long and time consuming. We started be arranging the tiny letters in a galley against a composing stick to make sure that the lines were perfectly straight. Then we packed out all the gaps using furniture and then clamps to completely secure the pieces. I made the mistake of picking up my galley a little too fast and some of the letters dropped out because of it – to fix this I had to undo the clamps and furniture and place the missing letters back where they belonged, ensuring that they were packed in more securely this time, so that they wouldn’t fall out again. I also discovered quickly that you had to be very delicate and careful when arranging everything before clamping, as once you have made a mistake, you will have to go all the way back and correct them before continuing – it is a very fiddly process indeed. After inking up the plate on the press, putting the galley into it and doing the first few prints, I could clearly see that it was not printing how I wanted it to – some of the letters’ tips were not appearing on the paper. Kim and I had a second look at my letters and discovered some of the letters were chipped and that this was why it wasn’t working as it should. Because of this I had to undo my clamps and furniture for the second time, and swap over the chipped letters.
Finally, the print worked. The outcome was brilliant and I am very happy with the piece that’s been created. Although the press worked perfectly well for me, other people had to adjust the pressure on it by turning the four knobs (2 on each side of the press) to ensure an even print across the paper.
I definitely want to do letterpress again sometime and want to use it in one of my future projects – perhaps the story book. I would like to test myself by making something a bit more complicated – maybe I’ll write a short poem or quote for example. I love how the print has texture to it and that you can actually feel and see where the print has embossed the letters into the paper. Again next time, I would like to experiment further with embossing, which is the exact same process, just without using ink. To emboss, it is also best to use damp paper as the technique works better when the fibres in the paper are wet.
Below is a photo of one of the prints I made that I feel was the most successful:
During the workshop today with Ray Nicklin and Suzanne Carpenter, we used cut-outs from magazines and newspapers to play around with collage and layout.
To begin with, I struggled with trying to create a piece with deeper meaning behind it, but I discovered that if I went for something a lot more simple, the end creation was much more effective. In most of my pieces, there is an element of humour, for example, created by the enlarged spoon and fork that I used in almost every collage. I feel that some of the cut-outs that I used were too random, so I tried to improve on this.
After struggling in the beginning, I really like the fifth and final collage that I created. Before creating this piece, I had a rough plan set out in my mind of what I wanted to create and I think I achieved this – the piece is meant to represent having a free mind, as shown by the bird flying out from it.
If I were to do collaging again in the future, I would try and be more deliberate in what I choose to cut out and use, because I don’t think I did that enough when making these collages, meaning that they became a bit too random and lost meaning. However, I did enjoy experimenting and playing with scale, for example the giant spoon and fork and the tiny pair of hands – these also worked well together as seen in the first piece below where I have interlocked the fingers on the hand with the spikes on the fork.
After looking at some examples by designers and artists that use collaging as a technique, including Andy Martin, Hannah Hoch, Andrzej Klimowski and Adrian Cieslewiecz, I feel that my pieces should have been more in this style: