We generally think of a book in terms of its structure and content, its story-line and maybe its setting in time and place. Authors writing conventional books rely on creating a ‘word picture’ to convey information to the reader. Between the author and the reader other specialists help to turn the author’s manuscript into a book – printers, book-binders and perhaps illustrators.
An artist on the other hand considers their book in a more holistic way. Few words are used in this style of book so everything from the construction to the content form part of the message – the concept the artist wishes to convey.
I find it refreshing sometimes to switch from writing conventional books to artists books. When writing a conventional book I concentrate on the content, presenting the information I’ve researched as clearly as I can. I think of an artist’s book as more like a song without words.
The design of the book cover may include layers, perhaps with carving or other embellishments. The paper used in the text block may be dyed or rusted so the colour complements the content. Pages can be two or three dimensional, plain or textured, the same weight or different – all dependent on the message. The sewing thread is carefully chosen. I use a waxed linen thread, often combining colours. There is a wealth of sewing styles too, some dating back to the Middle Ages.
Waste is something I find regrettable and to be avoided wherever possible. I derive pleasure from making something attractive and interesting out of something that might otherwise end up as waste – particularly paper.
Rather than throw away those old school text books, why not turn them into an altered book – the text block changed, perhaps to hide a happy surprise for the next reader.
Artists Books Examples
See below some examples of pages from various artists books I have created:
Cloud carried moisture, as snow or rain.
Nature the artist decorates the seasons.