I’ve had one of those wonderful days today where I was able to give undivided time and attention to mastering a new technique. I am practicing some new book forms, always looking for new ways to express what my hands want to say, as well as having new and interesting techniques to share with others when they ask for playshops with me.
Today, I wanted to practice a different type of concertina or accordion book utilising apertures and cutouts. I never tire of creating books with apertures and views, and can’t seem to work fast or often enough to create all the ways I find to express this.
The aperture and the doorway perpetually fascinate me. I return again and again to the theme, photograph doors and doorways everywhere I have travelled. I have built up a huge collection of photographs of doors and doorways, both humble and grand. Last week, some of my favourite images finally made their way into a little book I’ve long wanted to create called “Door”.
There is such a sense of potential in doorways and apertures that hint at that pause we often take just before the next action. Captured in that moment is all the anticipation, the excitement, the wondering what lies beyond, what the tantalising glimpses through the crack in the wood hint at. Once the door is open, and the vista is open to our gaze, the anticipation is gone, the mystery is solved and the unknown has become known.
Today, I started with a simple concertina of cream cardstock. I had no plan at all in starting the work, I really just wanted to test out the technique to see if I could work it into a usable form. I started to sketch lightly and found aspen trees emerging from the end of my pencil. I followed the pencil with a scalpel, cutting out the shapes around the trees and through the branches. I erased the pencil lines and moved to the next panel. Erasing as I went, using no reference but my own memory of thousands of hours spent wandering the woodlands of my life, this simple, colourless motif grew until I was once again ambling through an aspen wood.
Aspen woods featured in my little book “Follow Me”. That book is what used to be known as a Victorian viewer, and is now referred to as a ‘tunnel book’, using images taken with my Holga camera. I clearly haven’t finished with them as a theme yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed this entirely new way of depicting that tantalising glimpse through the woodland to vistas beyond.
If you are thinking of joining us at the CREATE Mixed Media Retreat in May, you can be sure that this little form will make an appearance during my ‘Not a Needle in Sight’ workshop on the Friday . . . Happy exploring!