The first cut is the deepest…
This post is long overdue. Just some photos of the making of the rubber stamps for my book – Nest Building Perils & Pleasures. This book was made as part of Book Art Object and is the second project for this group. In case you don’t know Book Art Object was founded by Sara Bowen and is collaboration between 14 book artists. 9 in Australia, 1 in the US, 1 in Canada and 3 in the UK. This project was divided into 2 Groups this time – each working on a piece of text as inspiration. I chose to be part of the Art & Lies Group and we used an extract from Jeanette Winterson’s book. The paragraph below was the bit that grabbed me.
“300BC. The Ptolemies founded the great library at Alexandria. 400,000 volumes in vertiginous glory. The Alexandrians employed climbing boys much in the same way as the Victorians employed sweeps. Unnamed bipeds, light as dust, gripping with swollen fingers and toes, the nooks and juts of sheer-faced walls………Accordingly, the boys built themselves eyries in among the books, and were to be seen squatting and scowling at greater and greater heights around the library.”
Extract from – Jeanette Winterson, Art & Lies (London: Jonathon Cape, 1994), pp. 4-6.
The part of extract that inspired me was the boys building themselves nests among the books. It made me think about nest building, and making yourself safe. The first line that came into my head was – Where do you build your nest? How do you keep it safe from life’s crows and magpies? This came to me in bed one night and I scribbled it down on the little notebook I have. Sometimes when I check this in the morning what I’ve written is partially illegible because I don’t bother to switch the light on.
I think I decided to use rubber stamps straight off and got going on this. It took me a while to come up with the title which I originally planned to stamp on the cover – but I wasn’t sure how I would do this. In the end I ended up doing something totally different.
All the text was typed on a my lovely Silver-Reed Silverette – scanned and then enlarged to twice it size. Which made the text about 5mm high. This text was then drawn over with a pencil and transferred to the rubber by just going over the back of the paper with a pencil [top picture and picture below]. Apart from the fact that I love typewriters I think one of the reasons that I use typewriter text so much in my artwork is that I have gradually become a bit of a font snob! When I use text in my work I just hated so many fonts that I ended up using typewriter text by default.
I don’t what it is about this book but I am really emotionally attached to it. Maybe it’s because I spent so much time hand cutting all the stamps and printing it all by hand…the fact that I absolutely love all the bird stamps and that I really love birds because they make me happy every day. They sing lovely songs when I walk through the park, magpies and naughty gulls amuse me with their antics, crows look so beautiful with their blue black feathers – and they all fly! Something I only do in my dreams.