More Artist Books – Winner of the Firestation Print Studio Biennial Artist Book Award – Craftsmanship

2024 JUDGES 

Anna Welch Principal Librarian, History of the Book and Arts at
State Library of Victoria
Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison​ Artistic Duo who have been collaborating for over 20 years making artists’books, zines, collages, stories,
prints, and drawings. 

In amazing news I won the craftsmanship category of the biennial Artist Book Award held by Firestation print Studio based in Melbourne. I wasn’t there, unfortunately…. but thankfully I have seen many photos of the event through instagram. The books look all so interesting and full of complexities! The photos above show the book that was particularly highlighted by the judges. I am Here, a flag book, edition of 2

These pages above belong to the other book, called ‘Taking a Walk’, a Japanese stab bound format of landscape impressions. Unique edition

My art statements:

  1. “I Am Here”: This artist book reflects on the invisibility that a person may feel when not heard or even seen in spite of being right there. The structure of the flag book provides an ideal form to express this concept by ‘breaking’ the image and potentially making it disappear, but allowing the retention of every detail to be noticed by any who truly pays attention.
  2. ‘Taking a Walk’ : This artist book explores my experience of the eucalyptus trees when bushwalking. Once I start paying attention I get lost in the infinite combinations of colours and shapes, mainly subtle but also contrasting, and somehow all in harmony. Looking at one tree leads to looking at the next one and then the next one, until the next walk. 

This is what the judges said about my work. I am of course incredibly honoured of this appreciation:

Winner: Laura Castell, I Am Here

A good place to hide can be within a book, within the pages, constructed from rows of flags adhered to opposing sides of the spine’s mountain, within the beguilement of the whoosh- whoosh movement that is the flag book. Laura Castell’s edition of two, I Am Here, has both the flutter-motion of the original flag book of Hedi Kyle, and an unruffled stillness, when viewed upon the gallery wall. I Am Here, in plain sight, and, as Laura comments, I am “not heard or even seen”. In the fragmented image, the broken image made whole through the process of reading, looking, feeling, and “noticing”, the human figure, centre stage, stares into the mid-distance, somewhere over my shoulder, and for a moment the reader might be being read, might be “unseen”, might be a flag book closed upon the shelf. The face in quiet contemplation, upon the page, that is, perhaps thinking of all the ways eucalypts vary inform, trunk, blossom, role, and scent (as explored in Laura’s second entry, Taking a Walk).
The very structure of this book invites delight and rewards attention, through both the concept of the image “breaking” and exquisite bookbinding technique. I Am Here proved a reverie of Craftsmanship and more.

Thank you!! ❤️

Good news for my Artist Book ‘We ALL’

This post is delayed so this happened earlier in 2023.

This artist book, ‘We ALL’ has been very fulfilling to work on. It presented challenges in several ways. How best to translate the concept into images, how to use text minimally and easily, what technique to use. I did not have a letterpress at the time so I used some old pages of letraset. The subject matter includes what I love most, figurative and social issues. It is difficult to tackle these subjects (as one) in a way that people find them accessible to spend enough time looking at them, so getting a prize was incredible. The book was part of the Northern Beaches Artist Book award, in 2023 and it was one of the books acquired for the Manly Library Collection.

Artist statement In this work I used the idea that we all have similar emotions to highlight the equality among all of us, independently of what race, religion or cultural inheritance we have. I created slightly ‘abstracted’ faces hoping that the viewer can go beyond the specifics of one person/face and see themselves in each of them.

Here is a link to the youtube video (below) where the judges go through the works that were acquired. I can’ express well how meaningful the words of the judges are to me, I feel they captured exactly what I had in mind while making the work.

It is an edition of 5, another one was also acquired by my then local gallery in Townsville, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery. Super grateful!

Preparations for an upcoming exhibition

Some of you will know that I have been preparing for a while for a solo exhibition in the access space at Umbrella Studio gallery, next April. This will be my third solo exhibition, although the second one in 2014 was a relatively impromptu exhibition of small works, quite a few already made beforehand . For this one I have had time to think, probably too much 🙂 . The theme is our local bower bird, the Great Bower Bird.  I (and more so my husband…) have spent many hours observing and photographing this bird, especially the males and their bowers, and occasionally the females as they approach the bower. I can honestly say that if I liked this bird before, now I love it! Their behaviour is incredibly interesting, long hours of effort invested to mate.

I have learned a lot, still many things to do to complete everything I need to do, and waiting after to show the complete images, but here is a little pick at process, a photo of the beautiful male displying its pink crown, and a previous image of a small etching I did some time ago.  Hope you like it 🙂

small etching