Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Some thoughts on editioning

Most of my pieces are unique so an edition of fifteen is a real change to the way I normally work. On the plus side, I've been forced to smarten up, think carefully about the time implications of each step of the production process and look for alternative and more efficient ways of working.
On the negative side, doing something fifteen times over can be unspeakably tedious.
All this I'd more or less anticipated. What I hadn't appreciated was the demands editioning would make on my equipment. I simply do not have fifteen of anything in my tool kit and insufficient bench weights, pressing boards and closed cell foam, for example, have been real constraints on the speed at which I've been able to work. Mostly I've gotten around this by batching the work in lots of three or five but I came badly unstuck last week with the end in sight. I made the mistake of pasting out the final panels of fifteen drop side boxes all at once without thinking through how I would effectively weight these overnight while they dried properly. I did the best I could with what I had on hand and then headed off for three days to celebrate the end of the edition - all a bit prematurely as it turned out. I came back home to find that each of the fifteen boxes had warped along its foreedge. I know why this happened and am kicking myself for not taking more care and for being in such a rush to finish. The next couple of weeks will be spent sorting out this mess - one box at a time!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Little Bit Long Way

Little bit long way is how Australia's Wunambal people describe the vastness of Ngauwudu, their traditional country. In mid-2010, I had the good fortune to spend three weeks in Wunambul country visiting rock art sites not known to have been previously seen by non-Aboriginal people.
As a way of celebrating the richness of what I had seen, I put together a small photograph album at the end of the trip. Despite its apparent simplicity, the resulting concertina binding is one of the more complicated of my books. Each of its twenty leaves consists of a nine separate layers, laminated in a way that allows the leaves to remain flat and flush, even if displayed under less than ideal environmental conditions. Gros grain ribbon was used to hinge the leaves.
Little Bit Long Way: the Ngauwudu Photographs was exhibited in Sydney in 2010 and in Canberra in 2011.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The trouble with snails ...

The trouble with snails is that they are unreliable workers. Faced with a need for fifteen copies of a book that needed to look as if it had been buried in the forest for a couple of years, I turned to my local gastropods, Helix hortensis, for a bit of help. I felt sure that they would give my books that chewed around the edges look I was looking for - after all, they do this to my mail all the time. No such luck! They nibbled a small patch in the corner of one of the books in the first few hours and then nothing more for the next week. I've given up, sacked the lot of them and done this distressing work myself with cotton tips, water, scalpel, fingernail, sandpaper and hammer. Nothing more than a small setback but it has slowed down the edition a little.