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Archive for the ‘Artists Books’ Category

Books by Artists opened on World Book Day 7 March and is currently on show in the City Space at the Winchester Discovery Centre until Sunday 14 April 2013. The exhibition highlights a small selection from the Artists’ Books Collection held in the Winchester School of Art Library, a part of the University of Southampton. It is arranged around six themes: text and textiles, construction and materials, photo-books, sense of place, starting out and wordplay. These themes have been chosen to illustrate the different approaches taken by artists in creating their books.

I think the Collection started sometime after the School of Art moved to its current premises in Park Avenue in 1965. It now includes over 1,500 items and dates from the 1960s through the decades to the present day. The emphasis has been on engaging students and academic staff across the School studying in different disciplines from Fine Art to Graphics to Textiles and Fashion.

Books have been acquired from both established names and new talent, including staff and students from the School. We acquire books from specialist book shops, exhibitions, book fairs and directly from artists and small publishers.

One of the themes is text and textiles which reveals how some artists combine text with textiles to create new book forms. Each book refers to textiles in unexpected ways as the artists employ fabric, haberdashery, yarn, or even sewing patterns in their creations. These Textile techniques often reference familiar tools associated with knitting and sewing, for example, the pin cushion and needle case.

Mrs Derrick's blankets by Angie Butler

Mrs Derrick’s blankets by Angie Butler

We have included a making space and wall in the gallery. The Printmaking students at the School of Art are working with us on two workshops due to take place at the Winchester Discovery Centre Cafe on Friday 5 and Friday 12 April, 2013 – 10.30am to 1pm. They are also taking turns to show their work in the window dispaly case at the entrance to City Space.

R is for Rabbit at the exhibition

We also took part in World Book Day organised by the students at the School of Art. An event which opens out the creativity community to all at the School and included some of our recent graduates who are now alumni.

Catherine at World Book Day in the Rotunda, with her souvenir print

Catherine at World Book Day in the Rotunda, with her souvenir print

The exhibition has been curated by myself, Linda Newington, with Catherine Polley. Thanks are due to Special Collections for exhibition design and installation.

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Make a white rabbit by Lucy May Schofield

I gave a short paper at the two day conference Text and Textiles held at the Centre for Material Texts, Jesus College, Cambridge in September 2012 just after organising In the loop 3. My paper entitled From rags to riches focused on some examples of textile texts from our Artists’ Books Collection which I think have a relationship with the Knitting Reference Library too. My selected earlier precedents were textile sample books, children’s rag books and the textile books of the artist Louise Bourgeois.

An altered book with knitted cover by Cally Barker

The material selected from the Artists’ Books Collection I broadly defined as the “stuff of textiles”. Some of the items we have collected  may be  regarded as outside the canon set in place by the conceptual works of the 1960s which are sometimes viewed as the true artists books. However textiles have a long and distinctive history in relation to books which is being continued through the work of some contemporary artists.   It is their works which have made the link possible with the Knitting Reference Library. Amongst others I mentioned Cally Barker, Angie Butler, Judith Hammond, Joanna Long, Imi Maufe, Treena Markham, Tamar MacLellan, Andrew Norris, Lucy May Schofield, Anna Vicente, Heather Weston, Philippa Wood. All have utilised either materially, as part of the concept or in the narrative, textiles for a bookwork/s. Sometimes they are not strictly books but belong as part of the artists approach to making.

All the artists and works mentioned are catalogued and indexed and part of our collection comprising over 1500 items.

Journal of a dream by Ana Vicente

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