Monday, June 29, 2015

I've moved on...

Well after many years of abandoning this blog, I've returned to sincerely apologise to those of you who left comments which I so rudely didn't notice. I've decided to move on, I've now got a site at wordpress which has all the book carvings I've done over the past 5 years, as well as lots of other random bits and pieces. Hope you can check it out.

Please visit my new collection here instead.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Going round in circles!

Hot on the tails of last weeks two books, this week our sponsors are proud to present for you the viewer, a private screening...

Novels of Mystery..
I made it black and white to add to the mystery... dun dun dun.. and if you feel like guessing whats inside this one.. the circles on the side are a clue.

That's right, a magnifying glass. Perfect for snooping out those mysterious clues.
Midway through the numerous rings I realised that it was going to be nigh impossible to keep the circles looking as tidy and perfect as I would like...

So I abandoned that plan and put the question mark in there. It of course managed to present it's own problems but I think I can live with how it turned out. What do you think?

Just a bit of fun for the last image, nice depth down there.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Take 2!

A Couple of Newbies at last!
So I finally got around to doing a couple more books. My wrists can attest to this. I forgot how much it hurts haha (and how stressful it can be, working with those fiddly little bits). I had a bit of a warm up with a basic hole, to try out a couple of ideas and techniques... I think they passed the test. And then incorporated them into the second book I did, with the addition of another idea. Plan to do some more next week once my wrists have recovered. OOS anyone?

The Island
Sorry yes I know this one is a bit shirty looking (especially those sausage fingers) but its ok! Honest just don't look at the drawing side of things and we'll get by.

Les Guides Bleus Poitou Guyenne
I'm not entirely sure what this book is about, some French guide to something or other. Originally I'd planned on putting this mouth in a book called 'The Illustrated National Pronouncing Dictionary'. Crazy name huh? But the pages were way too thin, and it didn't like what I was doing, so I had to abandon it. But the new French one is about language and that involves a mouth to speak so it still kind of works. Bear with me please.
This was a fiddly nightmare!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Book Shelf

A Quick Blurb
The idea for book carving came about as a means to 'rebel' against the constant need for people to offer reasons for artists works. Wherever I turned there seemed to be someone trying to force upon me their interpretation of artworks and what the artist was attempting to convey. I didn't like it, I found it hard to believe that artists always have a meaning that they want to instill in their artwork. Why couldn't someone have made something just for the heck of it, or just because they enjoyed the making??

I decided that I wanted to make art that didn't have a meaning. If you want to get down to the finer details you might say that I'm being a bit ironic, or even hypocritical about this. The meaning that I put into my work is that there is no meaning. It just is. It's simplistic in the relationship between book and carved object.
It doesn't (intentionally) get any more complicated than that.

One more thing: I've put up quite a few pictures on here so if you like them please feel free to download them or whatever, but please reference me (or at least mention me in passing). I've put small reminders of the pictures as I didn't want to ruin them for everyone by putting huge watermarks across them. Hope you appreciate that.

Anyway enough ramble, I'll put up the books I've made so far. The first batch were for the sake of creating new books and testing ideas, and the later ones were commissions from people whose opinion meant a lot.

The Complete Book of Miniature Roses
This was the very first book I attempted. I was using a massive old craft knife and I honestly don't know how I got any precision! But I guess where there's a will there's a way. Anywho I had a very clear image in mind of a rose in a book of roses, so I found "The Complete Book of Miniature Roses" and started cutting. This is what turned out, inadvertently leading to the creation of numerous other carved books. I think this took around 7 or 8 hours to finish.
(Fiona Hall is in possession of this book, she has mind blowing patience, and has been creating fantastic art for years so I was quite chuffed that she felt it was good enough for her haha)

The Forbidden Territory
The second book I attempted was a skull in a horror novel. I found a neat old book in a gloomy old bookstore in the horror section and brought it home. I think I did this one with the big old craft knife as well (what was I thinking!). This one took much longer, coming in at about 10 hours of work. I Think this is my favourite one to date.

The next book I did was for an art exhibition with a theme of birds, books, and bikes. I had to ditch on the idea of a bird riding a bike due to time restraints so in the end I settled for just an eagle. It was during this one that I found out about the troubles recycled paper causes, not to mention the joys of furry ripping paper. Boy was it stressful, even after moving on to a fine point scalpel blade. It turned out a little rougher than I like. Roughly 5 hours spent on this book.
And here are the three books in the exhibition
(sorry about the quality).

Invitation to Tea
The next book I made was for a good friend of mine who happened to enjoy cups of tea an awful lot. I found an aptly titled book, "Invitation to Tea" and set about installing a teacup into this book. That took 4 to 5 hours. And then a few months later I worked on part two and made the addition of a teapot pouring into the cup. That took roughly 5 hours, so all up a long book to work on. Theres also a bit of a sneaky trick with this one. When you first open the book you'll only find the teacup, then once you've flicked through a few more pages the teapot appears. Sneaky sneaky!

It was about this time that I had a few commissions come in. I was working with a group of people who had spent a lot of time working with art of all sizes and sorts, and from many famous historical pieces to contemporary work. All up I made four books for people here (secret location I'm afraid) and that was a really affirming time. I also started taking more photos of the process itself, as I liked the 'budget' time lapse effect I achieved.

When people who between them have seen over a hundred years worth of art up close and personal, like your own work its a very affirming opinion!

Adventure In New Zealand
The first one I did was a Tiki in a book on New Zealand History, for a fellow whose friend was moving overseas, and he wanted a memorable and meaningful gift to impart on her.
I took photos every half hour of this, so I'll put the sequence up for you to inspect.
(I like playing around with the shapes you inadvertently get, hence this last photo).

The Long White Cloud
This was for someone who wanted their clan emblem (the sun) and her New Zealand tribe symbol, both significant of her background, in a book on New Zealand. This has been the fiddliest book to date, and took absolutely yonks to do. I lost track of time.
(Another example of playing around with shapes and gaps).

Music & It's Story
Also for this wonderful patron, I did a carving of an old gramophone into a book on music for her to give to one of her friends. This was also a bit of a fiddly one, not to mention working out what to do with the record itself. Tricky! But I think I pulled it off ok.

The Maoris of New Zealand
I never realised just how many New Zealand themed books I had done until now. Seems like a lot of em! This was also a gift for someone, who I think may have been a fan of Kereru birds. This book rather broke away from the style of my other books. Bit more stylized perhaps.

Well that's all for now. I'd love to read your comments and know what you think, and if you have any ideas or suggestions I'm all ears. I have a few ideas and tricks of my own up my sleeve but they're waiting for a rainy day. If you're interested in getting your own book carving done, flick me an email and we can go from there.