Artists’ Books News, October 2017

Artists’ books news, October 2017


 Les Bicknell,unfoldingthinkingat the Cavendish Museum, University of Cambridge. Until December 2017

As part of ‘unfoldingthinking’, a residency Les Bicknell has with NanoDTC in Cambridge, there is an exhibition in the Cavendish Museum at the Physics Department on the West Cambridge site within the drawers of Maxwell’s original laboratory cases.

The idea of revelation is at the core of Les Bicknell’s connection to the making of books. Here the action has been recreated by literally opening the drawers to reveal the inner space where ideas are stored. The placing of the pieces references the late 19th-century practice of displaying objects within cabinets of wonder or curiosity – these are modern versions of the contents of Cabinets of Curiosities. The majority of the work artists create is invisible to a public outside their studio. This work often takes the form of sketches, notes and material tests, existing in notebooks and discarded objects in the studio on its way to becoming something ‘finished’. The collection of double page spreads in the drawers are a form of visual notebook.

Detail: installation view of ‘unfoldingthinking’, Les Bicknell.

The pages act as a repository for some of the pieces, or ‘props’, that were created for and used within finished film pieces. The spreads are full of ideas as possible starting points and contain many elements of the finished works – they are in effect a sort of ‘look book’ or ‘mood board’ of the project. For more information visit:

The exhibition is on until December and is open to the public during museum hours. The Cavendish Laboratory is on JJ Thomson Avenue, University of Cambridge.


 Nancy CampbellThe Polar Tombola, ArtistsBooks Exhibitions in the Bower Ashton Library cases, UWE, Bristol. Until Tuesday 31st October 2017

If you had to lose a word from your language, what would it be?’

When we hear about change in the Arctic, it’s often related to climate, but Arctic regions are also experiencing dramatic cultural change. In the last two centuries 21 indigenous Arctic languages have become extinct, and even more are now considered endangered. Even the official language of Greenland is ‘vulnerable’ according to UNESCO’s Atlas of World Languages in Danger.

The Polar Tombola represents the challenges facing contemporary Greenlandic speakers and explores the issue of endangered languages from the perspective of a poet and book artist. What happens to an individual’s experience of the world when their language begins to disappear? How will future scientists study the Arctic ecosystem without access to specialist vocabularies? What role has the printed word played in the evolution of dialects? How might we visualise language loss?

The Polar Tobola: a Book of Banished Words, Bird editions, 2017. detail (left) and word abandoned by artist Hazel Grainger at The Polar Tombola, Small Publishers’ Fair, London, 2015 (right)

At events around the UK, from London’s Southbank Centre to the Polar Museum in Cambridge, from Liverpool’s World Museum to BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, The Polar Tombola challenged people with the question: ‘If you had to lose a word from your language, what would it be?’ Contributions came in from librarians, scientists, artists, writers, journalists, publishers, curators and medical professionals. This exhibition displays all the resulting texts together for the first time: over 300 words from many languages including Latin, Farsi, Korean and – of course – Greenlandic. The words vary widely: some philosophical, others demotic. The word ‘strict’ was contributed by artist Linda Newington, ‘blame’ by poet Chris McCabe, ‘boring’ by letterpress printer Rachel Marsh and ‘entrepreneurial’ by the proprietor of Hazard Press. One of the boldest choices was that of poet Saradha Soobrayen: ‘tomorrow’.

To complement the many individual words collected by The Polar Tombola, this exhibition includes new texts on the same theme commissioned from contemporary writers and artists Vahni Capildeo, Will Eaves, Pippa Hennessy, Nasim Marie Jafry, Lisa Matthews, Phil Owen and Richard Price. Some writers explore linguistic politics closer to home than the Arctic: Phil Owen decides to ditch the word ‘dissever’, which features in an 1847 English report used to suppress the Welsh language in schools. Vahni Capildeo takes a more scatological approach, banning ‘bullshit’. Capildeo, with a PhD in Old Norse, is no stranger to dead languages, and her text astutely questions ‘how to “lose” or “abandon” a word? Put it in jail, throw away the key? Then in every reference book or text block, an opaque rectangle shining where it used to be…’

An illustrated catalogue The Polar Tombola: A Book of Banished Words is published by Bird Editions. The Polar Tombola exhibition, publication and tour were made possible with generous support from Arts Council England Grants for the Arts.

 Bower Ashton Library, UWE, Bristol, Kennel Lodge Road, Bristol BS3 2JT.


More information


Bookmarks XV 2017 – 2018

Bookmarks XV is the fifteenth and final outing of the Bookmarks series from UWE Bristol, UK. Part I of the free artwork distribution series launched in 2004 and has since visited 159 galleries, bookstores, workshops, centres, schools, museums and libraries in: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and the USA.

The series grew out of an aim to encourage appreciation and awareness of artists working in the book format. Participating artists each produced an edition of 100 signed and numbered bookmarks which were divided into 100 sets, with one full set being sent to each of the contributing artists and the rest divided and sent out in distribution boxes to host venues around the world, for visitors to discover.


Since 2004, 598 artists have contributed 59,800 bookmarks to the project. Each bookmark is stamped with the current project’s website address, which directs the taker of the bookmark to the gallery section of the website. Visitors can view works by the artists and contact contributors via their website and email links on the site. As interest in artists’ books practice has grown internationally over the years, the bookmarks projects have now reached a natural conclusion.

Bookmarks XV is at ten venues until February 2018. The final set has 54 artists and groups who have sent their bookmarks from Australia, Canada, Germany, Hawaii, Italy, Sweden the UK and USA. For more information please visit:


 Artists’ Book Fairs and Events

Bookface exhibitors, L-R: Lina Johansson, Nela Bligh, Ross Hale, Sam Knight, Rachel Knight, Mary Riley, Suzanne Jones.

 Bookface chapter 8 at The Rising Sun Arts Centre, 30 Silver Street, Reading Berkshire RG1 2ST. Saturday 14th October and Sunday 15th October 2017, 11am – 5pm. Free entry.

Browse stalls and share ideas at our artist’s book fair weekend at Reading’s independent art space, The Rising Sun Arts Centre. Handmade books, small press, experimental and altered books, illustrators and printmakers. Poetry readings, workshops, demos and more. Relax in our café bar with homemade snacks and organic beer. Check the website for full details:


Kents International Artists Book and Print Event. Friday 13thSunday 15th October 2017.

Book artists and universities from all around will be showcasing and sell their books, zines and prints. The event is spread over the weekend at two venues.

Friday 13th Oct 2017 at UCA, University of the Creative Arts Canterbury.

10.30am – 6pm. This is part of Canterbury Arts Festival.

As well as the fair of 30 artists and universities there will be an open symposium programme of celebrated artists talking about their work and debating the makeup of what a book can be. Workshop inductions into print processes and binding methods. Herbert Read Gallery University of the Creative Arts, New Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent.


 Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th October 2017 at Brewery Tap Gallery Folkestone. The event is moving to seaside to be part of the Folkestone Triennial fringe.

Saturday 11am – 7pm, with a performance at 7.30pm by Bones and the Aft.

Sunday 11am – 4pm. All events are free and work for sale from just a few pounds.

53 Tontine St, Folkestone CT20 1JR.

ALL INKED UP Exhibition. Friday 20th October- Thursday 9th November 2017. Private View: Thursday 19th October 6-8pm, Herbert Read Gallery, UCA Canterbury. The Exhibition comprises four acclaimed artists who work within the boundaries of the artist’s book. The exhibition outlines the diverse nature of the book format, from sequential narrative to mapping and code to installation and interactive pieces. The common thread of the book is also expressed in the artists’ production methods through various print methods and sequencing within their work.

The exhibition is open 10am – 6pm, Monday to Friday.


 Small Publishers FairFriday 10th and Saturday 11th November 2017, Conway Hall, London, UK

The Small Publishers’ Fair is an annual celebration of books by contemporary artists, poets, writers and book designers. It is held in Conway Hall in London’s Bloomsbury on the second weekend in November. The 2017 Small Publishers Fair will take place on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 November.

Small Publishers’ Fair, Conway Hall, London. Photograph, Caspar Evans.

Over 60 publishers from across the UK and around the world; readings and talks; a special exhibition on the stage at Conway Hall – Peter Foolen: Books & Editions 1987-2017; FREE entry to the Fair and all activities. Thousands of original works to buy from the stands run by the creators and publishers in a beautiful and historic venue in the heart of Bloomsbury.

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL.


New ArtistsBooks

 The Blue Notebook journal for artistsbooks

Volume 12 No.1 AutumnWinter 2017, published October 2017.

Subscribe today! £10 for two issues.

The Blue Notebook journal for artistsbooks Vol 12 Nos 1 and 2. Publication dates: October 2017 and April 2018. This price is a subscription for both issues, badge and stickers. Each issue is sent on publication.  Order online at:

Articles in this issue:

No More Happy Ever Afters. Lyn Ashby writes about his time as a Siganto Research Fellow at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia in 2016 and his thoughts on the narrative in artists’ books. Artists’ books, he concludes, present readers (and makers of these books) with a storyform without prescription or conclusion, that sidesteps the usual limitations and conventions of traditional narrative. In doing this, he suggests, they offer an honest and contemporary template of sensibility.

The Small Publishers FairA Community. The Small Publishers’ Fair (est. 2002) is an annual celebration of books by contemporary artists, poets, writers and book designers, held in the UK. Organiser Helen Mitchell reflects on the community of exhibitors and visitors that bring a unique identity to the event.


The Polar Tombola. Over the last seven years Nancy Campbell has researched Arctic cultures during residencies at Upernavik Museum and Ilulissat Kunstmuseum in Greenland and elsewhere in the region: My understanding of Greenlandic culture has been enriched by my tentative steps in learning Kalaallisut (West Greenlandic), designated a ‘vulnerable’ language in UNESCO’s Atlas of World Languages in Danger. This article describes some of the issues I have encountered while working with Greenlandic that are relevant to my own work as a book artist and poet, and describes my approach to representing the challenges facing contemporary Greenlandic speakers through The Polar Tombola, a participatory art project.

 Opening Times: Carrións The New Art of Making Books as Creative Stimulus. Jim Butler of Anglia Ruskin University, UK considers different ideas of time and space within the book form. These are examined in relation to other artists’ books and considered in relation to creative stimuli for some of his own bookworks. Butler is particularly interested in how theoretical ideas and texts can be used as creative stimuli. One text he frequently returns to is Ulises Carrión’s 1975 essay, ‘The New Art of Making Books’.

Artists’ pages by: Phyllida Bluemel (UK), Deirdre Pretorius (South Africa), Same Same Press (Leonie Bradley & Catherine Cartwright, UK), and Cathey Webb (UK).

Cover, badge and sticker designs Rebecca Weeks.

Volume 12, No.2 Spring – Summer 2018 will be published in April 2018.

The price includes both issues as hard copy (b&w) and colour PDFs, badge and stickers at £10 GBP including UK or international postage.


Hotel de lEurope Issue 1, ‘Façade’

Hotel de l’Europe is pleased to announce the publication of its first issue: ‘Façade’

This fictional hotel provides a framework for a series of publications and arts events. A hotel is a place where numerous lives temporarily intersect. As such it has been used as a narrative device in novels and films, and has been employed in the work of contemporary artists. Relationships within hotels are played out in public spaces, such as lobbies and restaurants, in the private spaces of the bedrooms, and service areas such as storerooms and kitchens. This architectural framework provides a means to consider these relationships, and the wider cultural aspects of hospitality, leisure, labour and service.

Detail, Hotel de l’Europe, issue 1: ‘Façade’

The project’s title is taken from a now closed hotel in Firminy, France. ‘Hotel de l’Europe’ is a name that has been used by numerous hotels across France and further afield, and applied to establishments from simple country inns to five-star hotels. Found in Hamburg, Lisbon, St Petersburg but also in Dakar, Singapore and Aden, the name leaves traces of European expansion. Aside from the theme of hospitality, the specific name of the hotel expands the project to consider broader ideas around migration, colonialism, trade and the history, identity and role played by Europe in the world.

Issue 1 features the façades of many of these current and former establishments throughout the world. It is available to order for just €3.82 per copy including postage from Ideas for contributions to future issues are welcome. Contact the editors at

Fernando AguiarMailPoems 1988-1998

Published by Redfoxpress, Ireland.

From the collection of small artists’ books dedicated to experimental, concrete and visual poetry, or any work combining text and visual arts in the spirit of Dada or Fluxus.


Published October 2017. A6 format,10.5 x 15 cm, 44 pages, cardboard cover, thread and quarter cloth binding, laser printing on ivory paper. £13

Available to order at

Double Dagger Issue 2

From Double Dagger: “Justus Walbaum, a clergyman’s son from Steinlah, was apprenticed as a boy at the Konditorei where he learned to engrave pastry patterns into wood. Justus transferred this skill to letter-cutting and on setting up his type foundry in 1796 he began making typefounders’ matrices and tools…”

So begins issue 2 of Double Dagger, a 16-page broadsheet printed by letterpress on a Heidelberg SBB Cylinder Press using type that has been set on the Monotype Composition Caster. Issue 2 features a plethora of articles and artwork by many of our favourites…

Detail, Double Dagger, issue 2

Double Dagger, published in Autumn 2017 by Pat Randle and Nick Loaring, contains contributions from the following:

John Craig / Wood Engraver
Stanley Donwood / Artist & Writer
James Freemantle / St James Park Press
Paul Kershaw / Grapho Editions
Thomas Mayo / Thomas Mayo & Co
Geri McCormick / Virgin Wood Type
Edwin Pickstone / Glasgow School of Art
Spike / The Walden Press
Kiva Stimac / Popolo Press
Mark van Wageningen / Novo Typo

Double Dagger Issue 2, Autumn 2017. £12.50, collector’s edition, £40. Both available at:

One thought on “Artists’ Books News, October 2017

  1. “What truly makes an artist’s book is the artist’s intent, and artists have used the book as inspiration in a myriad of ways and techniques, from traditional to the experimental. The book could be made through fine press printing or hand-crafted, the pages illustrated with computer-generated images or cheap photocopies; books became sculptures, tiny and gargantuan; books were sliced up and reconfigured, made from all kinds of materials with unconventional objects incorporated, in unique or limited editions, or produced in multiple copies. With all sorts of ideas behind them, artists continue to challenge the idea, content and structure of the traditional book.” This taken from Anne Evenhaugen’s blog at the Smithsonian from 2012 titled “What is an artist’s book”? ( It is a really interesting post – still five years on. Working within what would be considered the opposite end of the spectrum in digital catalogues raisonnés I am pleased to see the work of a pioneering force in artist’s books come to settle on a digital solution for his archive. In the coming weeks we will publish Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings and for an artist that championed the artist book in the uncompromising way he did it is nice to see a digital solution come along to support a legacy and operate in tandem to an artist with such handcrafted work. Will a digital publication command the same reverence of an artist’s book if the artist plays a critical role in it’s development and execution?

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