Introduction to book binding workshop

I signed up for the book binding workshops for a couple of reasons, the first and most important reason is that I am considering presenting some of my work for the end of year exhibition in a book form. Having previously designed and ordered books with online publishers I was interested in learning how to produce a hand-crafted book, I have considered this before, but knew I did not have the knowledge or skills to do so.

The workshops, which will be held over the next 6 weeks are being run by Elizabeth Kealy-Morris, who is also using her findings at these workshops to support her own Phd research. At this introduction to  book binding Liz familiarised us to with the basics of book binding, from the grain of the paper to the tools which we will be using. From here we made the following, fairly basic book structures, the concertina, the origami and the ox-plow quilt book. Whilst these may be fairly basic books,  Liz demonstrated the techniques required to get the best finish for them.

From these folded, uncovered structures, we then moved on to a stitched structure with a cover

I was surprised that this book was so straightforward to make, I feel the reason behind this is the way the workshop was delivered by Liz, I felt she had a very calming manner about her, she patiently explained and demonstrated all aspects of book binding in such a way that I was really keen to get stuck in. The time seemed to fly by at this workshop, and I came away really feeling as though I had learnt a lot.

I am now considering whether the folded structures could be a process which I could take to my next gingerbread art session, I think it would be really good way to develop the skills which I learnt today.  I now have more concise ideas in my head as to how I can incorporate book binding into my work and I’m really looking forward to the next workshop


Studio Project Review – January

The general feedback regarding my interim exhibition was that the work displayed seemed to be quite tentative, and didn’t possess the fluidity of some of the pages in my sketchpad. I do agree with this as I am aware of feeling more precious about larger pieces of work, and being wary of pushing a piece of work too far for fear of spoiling it.  I have found working in an A5 sketchpad, has made me try different things, I sometimes go back and add more to pages at a later date, but I have struggled as to how to take these ideas into larger pieces.

Before receiving the feedback I had started to try and do this,  for a couple of pieces of work I put photography aside and have worked with collage, paint & inks. I know that I need to be prepared to fail, that some things will not work, but I need to almost relax and not worry about ruining the work.

work space Jan 2016

A selection of work back up in my studio space

Things to consider from here

  • Different solutions to corrode photos
  • What is it that I find interesting in certain images (eg the way the image bleeds away, the corrosion?)
  • Concentrate on a small section and work on that (enlarge?)
  • Move away from images which are too literal
  • Look at Sigmar Pollock & Grehard Richter, to see how they display work together ie photos against more abstract work.

Photography Project Review

Having had time to reflect on my interim exhibition, and having had my marks and feedback I have a few avenues which I wish to explore and/or consider.

Once the work was up, I felt the scale wasn’t really appropriate for the space, I had printed my digital images on A4 but as they were not mounted or framed I felt that they looked a bit lost, I think scale is definitely something I need to play around with, either going larger or even much smaller. I have just been reminded of Lorna Simpson’s Photobooth (2008) which I saw in the Tate Liverpool last summer. Photobooth is made up of 50 found photo booth photographs which have been displayed in a cloud like shape, seemingly haphazard way, each photo or strip of photos has been framed in the same black frames. The scale of these individual framed pieces, draws the viewer in for a closer look.

I like this idea, and intend to consider whether something similar could work with my images


I have also been thinking about presenting the work in a book form, this could compliment the wall display. I need to consider book layouts, and whether the book will be handmade or printed online. I’ve used online publishers at Level 4 and Level 5, so have some previous research which I can refer back to.

I spend a lot of time on my local beaches, often basing my projects on or around the seafront where I live. It’s something I just seem to do, I’m naturally drawn to the water’s edge, standing looking out to sea, I feel tranquil and content

I’m now taking a moment to consider why that might be.

The sheer scale of the beach can make me feel very small, it makes me think about how easy it could be to disappear without leaving a trace or having made a difference. We are all just one tiny fish in a huge pond with a whole word out there to explore, I’m not sure when I’ll get chance to do this so in the meantime I think I’m going to explore my local area for other suitable locations for a photoshoot. I know I want space, and have a few places in mind, which are practically on my doorstep.

The final thing I need to consider on all shoots is what I want from the shoot, I intend to look back through all my contact sheets and look at how many images I am happy with per roll of film, and for future shoots give more consideration to and make informed decisions about what photographs I take. On previous rolls of films I have a range of images, from moving figures, still figures and landscapes. I feel that some of the landscapes work and they are images I could possible use again, however at the moment and for the purpose of this project they are not relevant…..but then again, they could be.

Beamont Collegiate Academy Workshop

On 18th January I volunteered to become involved in this live project,  the workshop was held in collaboration with Beamont Academy and was specifically for Years 9 and 10.  There was approx 8 other students there as well as 3 postgraduates who are on the universities Ariad Scheme.

The school student were split into 3 groups and sent to different areas of the gallery,  they were to find an area of of the exhibition which they were particularly drawn to. They were given 15 – 20 minutes to draw their responses to an aspect of that area, after this time they left their work and moved to a different area of the gallery to continue working on the next groups work, after another 15 – 20 minutes, they moved around again.


Once this cycle had been completed the students returned to their original piece of work which had now been worked on by an further 2 people.  Each group was now divided into further groups of 3, and using all 3 drawings they worked together to create a concertina book, they could do this in any way they wished, cutting up, rearranging, overlapping the only must was that some element of each drawing should feature in the book.

The workshop worked really well, with some interesting work being produced, at first some of the Beamont students were very precious about the work which they had produced and were concerned that the next person could spoil it,  they also had worries about ruining someone elses work, however once they got started they seemed to really enjoy it. Initially I felt a bit lost as I was unsure what was expected of us, and some of the school students were not very responsive when I tried to talk to them, possibily they felt that there was constantly someone looking over their shoulders,  I felt they engaged more once I sat on the floor and almost became part of their group.


I found the workshop enjoyable and also useful from a person perspective as it has made me consider an activity that I could try with my gingerbread group. I also felt inspired by the work they were doing and wanted to get involved in the creating with them.  A couple of things which I felt could have improved the workshop, the first was, that some of the children hadn’t had lunch, they’d left school before lunchtime,  hadn’t been allowed to eat on the coach and went straight into the workshop, so they spent some of their time being distracted by their hunger.  The 2nd thing, I felt that if the uni students have been allocated to work with a specific group, the initial communication problem may have been overcome a bit quicker.



I attended an informal session last week with Kirsty from careers to discuss the university run Venture Programme. I have an idea for self employment so she advised that “collaborate” would be a good programme to sign up for as it is a chance to network and connect with mentors, entrepreneurs and advisors. The next session is being held 8th and 9th February at Riverside Innovate centre, so I have booked onto these.

On another note, things I need to do

I had business cards printed last year by  I researched various other companies prior to ordering with them, I liked the curves corners on offer and that you could design them yourself online, and I uploaded a couple of my images to go on both sides of the card.

business card

My current business cards also produce a wide range of promotional printed products such as postcards which are not too expensive and could be an excellent product to accompany my portfolio.

Online presence

  •  Linkedin – I have been on linked in for a while now, and have kept the profile up to date

I also have the following, which I probably don’t post on often enough, this is something that I must try to improve on





“A world of Unfairness” photographic competion

We were sent details of this competition which is being held by Disability Talk,  the aim of Disability Talk is to highlight injustice towards disabled people. The competition which is aimed at university students asks for submissions which demonstrate unfairness. They asked for images which are not too obvious, so trying to think out of the box I looked through my pinhole photographs to see if I had anything appropriate.

I selected an image which I felt represented the isolation that a disabled person can feel, I was thinking along the lines of a hidden disability such as a mental illness.

Once I had submitted the image, I had doubts as to whether it was a suitable image for a competition, but it is now in the gallery so the deed is done!

The closing date is April 30th 2016, with The Times profiling a gallery of entries, so who knows, the alternative process used may get the image noticed.

Screenshot (182)


January Live Project


At the last gingerbread art session at Mostyn Gallery, I had asked the older 2 children if there was anything they would like to do at the next session. I had been aware of the age difference so wanted to get them involved in the decision making for this workshop.  They had told me about a school project which they had been working on to create designs for skateboards, so when I suggested graffiti art they we happy with that.

To prepare for the workshop I researched graffiti fonts and designs, and practising writing my name graffiti style with my 10 year old daughter. I find it really useful to have a child this age to try activities out on, and she is happy to do the work with me.


As the children started to arrive, I got a bit apprehensive about how many seemed to be coming in, I’d been used to having a maximum of 5 children and we’d had quite good sessions.  The total number today in the workshop only ended up being 7, the younger children went into the crèche which was provided. The older children were pretty much happy to be left to their own devices, but today the younger ones needed a bit more help to get started, however once they’d got started they also worked quite independently.


All the children once again were really good, their parents were in the same room again having their meeting, this hasn’t been an issue at all. The children were all quite studious in the way they worked on their designs, I was pleased that they used their initiative in the way they decorated their names, the time flew by today with the children all taking their work away with the promise that they would complete them at home.

One of the girls has suggested we do something flowery next month, so I will need to think of something that the boys will be able to engage with too.

Art_Textiles at The Whitworth

I spent a leisurely New Year’s Eve perusing Art_Textiles exhibition in The Whitworth Gallery. I love the Whitworth and when I saw this exhibition advertised it was a definite must see for me, I have been experimenting in Fine Art with sewing over photographs so was keen to see what was included in the exhibition.  Textiles can be perceived as craft rather than art with the term “craft” being used to describe something more along the lines of a hobby, or traditionally textiles were considered to fall within the female domain. The exhibition mainly consists of female artists, with some of them addressing these preconceived ideas of embroidery being a female’s domestic craft.

Ironically one of my favourite pieces of work was by a male artist Do Ho Suh, he is better known for his life size installations of buildings made from fabric. On display were a couple of his thread drawings titled Myselves, which are about reincarnation, kharma and how people are all interconnected.  His thread drawings are often technical drawing for his larger installations, you get a sense of movement within these images as well as the sense of figures being intertwined.

Some of the other artists which I was particularly drawn to were

  • Helga Sophia Goetze, who was an artist, poet and performer, she used her art to champion the cause of women’s liberation in Berlin.
  •  Ghada Amer, who adopts embroidery as a medium to address issues around gender, sexuality and Islamic culture
  • Lainma Orzekauskiene with this work I was more interested with the process of digital print on weave than the content of the work, as I have been working with transferring photographic images onto fabric before sewing over.

I feel I have to mention Grayson Perry,  having previously seen his exhibition in the Walker art gallery and having been enthralled by it, I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t more of his tapestries included in this exhibition.

This was an enlightening exhibition which demonstrated a wide range of skills involved within textile art, well worth the visit, and also given me inspiration for my studio practice module.