Ghost Birds – Making Process

by Angela


I made this book at the end of 2019 as part of the Book Art Object Group. This is now the 4th Edition of Books I have made as part of Book Art Object, which was founded in 2009 by Sara Bowen.

The inspiration for this project was Australian Migratory Shorebirds and the poetry (and photography) of John Bennett. This is also linked to Kate Gorringe-Smith’s –  The Overwintering Project. As I mentioned in this post I literally laughed out loud when I heard the brief.

We were all sent some links by Sara Bowen with Poems and Photographs by John Bennett. The first thing that struck me about was the Ghostly appearance of the Birds in the photographs and the words in the Poems also echoed this. I began researching Australian Migratory Shorebirds and looking at images of the rarest and most endangered Birds. The beautiful Winter Plumage of all these Birds added to feeling of ghostliness.

Gradually some words started to emerge – how heartbreaking it would be to live in world where the only Birds were Ghosts.

I initially wanted to choose 6 of the most Endangered Birds for the Book but as I started working with the images and drawings I realised some of them would look very similar when printed so narrowed this down to 3 Birds. A Sanderling,  a Ruff and a Lesser Sand Plover.  I also preferred the way the text flowed with this Book layout.

All the images and text was carved in Rubber Stamps. Initially I thought I would make exact representations of the Winter Plumage colours. However, when I was doing test prints they looked really beautiful in – Versacolor Pigment Ink Pad – Sky Gray (81) – so I decided to print all the text and Birds using this colour.

I wanted to  used Debossed text on the cover but then had a bit of a dilemma and wasn’t sure if should use a Rubber Stamp print. I had made one test deboss and it was extremely arduous.  I needed to do this at least 20 times on both the Cover and the Slip Case for an edition of 10 books. After some experiments with tools I found that if I used the rounded edge of my Teflon  Moulding & Burnishing Tool (pictured below next to my Teflon Folder) I couldn’t believe how much easier it was.  I wish I had known about this years ago – I used blind deboss in a few books and always found it difficult. Also in the picture below is the lettering for the deboss.  I put this on the wrong side of the paper – Somerset Satin – and go over it with the Teflon tool.

Also in the middle of my dilemma and whether to use a rubber stamp or the blind debossed text I was reminded once again of my guiding principle mentioned here – make the book I would love to own myself. Then there were is no doubt, no question, on what I need to do – even if (often) it is the most difficult method.

Artist's Book Making Process


The full album of the making process is on Flickr – below.  Finished book here.

Ghost Birds, All Covers Debossed

You can see John Bennett’s Poetry & Photography here and more about The Overwintering Project here.

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