Single sheet gallery artist's book

Nets and Portholes

Artists' Books, Small Editions
Single sheet gallery artist’s book, pictured on the flat print.

During lockdown I came across examples of Gallery Books on Alisa Golden’s wonderful website – Making Handmade Books . Flag books with windows – framing the image behind them.

In the autumn of 2021 we took the opportunity to travel locally during a break from the pandemic – one of our visits took us to the fishing port of Kinlochbervie on the West coast. It was lightly raining as is so often the case in Scotland, but the water made all the colours of the rusty anchors gleam. Piles of bright woven fishing nets picked up new patterns in their slumped layers. Fish boxes stacked like a backdrop to a Wes Anderson film – symetrical pinks and reds.

Sculpture of two single sheet gallery artists' books (from above)
Sculptural arrangement of two single sheet gallery artists’ books (from above)

Returning from the trip, the photographs from this colourful day inspired me to knock some rust off myself and try a few new techniques. I was reminded of the gallery books and started folding, cutting and punching out windows forming various maquettes and generally having a lot of fun figuring out the structure.

Three single sheet gallery artist's books
Sculptural arrangement of three single sheet gallery artist’s books (freestanding)

To make an edition a bit more rigor is required so I formed a NET (template) to position all my PORTHOLES… and the title of this set became clear. The photographs of the bundles of bright fishing nets were the perfect back for the single sheet books – each porthole showing a new abstract and the arrangement of the windows across the book forming a pleasing pattern ( unless you suffer from trypophobia! )

Variable edition of 4 single sheet gallery artists' books (back)
Variable edition of 4 single sheet gallery artists’ books (back)

In making the variable print edition it became clear that the books also worked in groups to form some wonderful sculptural towers. The memory of paper when creased allows them to be opened completely flat, then gently reformed back into the flag structure. (EDIT – 1 remaining and I’m delighted that the NLS now has one in their collection!)

Nets and Portholes will be on display at –

Pattern:BooksArtist Bookmakers Exhibition

26 Nov – 23 Dec
Wed-Fri 11-5, Sat & Sun 11-4.

3 Barclay Terrace, Edinburgh EH10 4HP.

“Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.”

Alfred North Whitehead
(British Philosopher and Mathematician, 1861-1947)

People often have a visual preference for symmetry and repetition and are frequently attracted to geometric shapes and patterns. There is something incredibly mesmerising and comforting about seeing a shape or an image repeated in a mathematical order. Artists recognise this and frequently use pattern for both structural and decorative purposes. Roman and Egyptian tile work, the wallpapers by Morris & Co., and the paintings of Victor Vasarely and Brigit Riley are all examples of where pattern has been employed to great effect. Upright Gallery frequently exhibits artworks that have pattern at their core. Continuing this theme, artist bookmakers were invited to submit artworks for the annual artist book exhibition held every December. The brief was simple – celebrate pattern in artist book form. Over 80 handmade books will be on display from 35 artists.