Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A Small Betrayal

Today I jumped ship to write about the Greenlandic language for the Huffington Post.
You can read it here.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

How To Say 'I Love You' In Greenlandic at Bookartbookshop, London

Thanks to everyone who came along to the private view of my exhibition in the window of Bookartbookshop on Friday night. It was wonderful to see so many old friends and meet new ones.

Anna served canapés inspired by How To Say 'I Love You' In Greenlandic. The onigiri - or Japanese rice balls - looked like snowballs with colourful fillings. The Greenlandic language doesn't appear to have a word for 'rice ball' but I was pleased to find an equivalent so that we could provide a Greenlandic menu, with translations for the English-speakers present.

The exhibition continues until 29 November, to be followed by a new work by Tom Phillips, creator of A Humument, the altered book to end all altered books. Phillips' work has featured in some of my recent workshops, and I'm excited to see what he does next with the book form.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Altered Books Workshop: Albion Beatnik, Oxford

An altered book created by Mike Sims (Poetry Society Publications Manager) 
at a workshop during the Free Verse Book Fair in London. 

I'll be running an Altered Books Workshop in the Albion Beatnik bookshop in Oxford in December - details below. This will be a twist on previous workshops, as participants will be invited to pick their own book from the bookshop's shelves - and then turn it into an entirely new work.

Many thanks to Dennis Harrison for deciding to offer another bookish event so soon after the phenomenal series of poetry readings that was this month's The Sounds of Surprise festival (still going strong - come along!). Also a big thank you to the bookshop's resident bookbinder Lucie Forejtová, who runs Immaginacija and makes a beautiful range of handmade stationery. I've snaffled one of her coptic-bound appointment diaries for next year, and now I can't wait for January.

5 December 2012, 18.30

In this workshop we select existing books from Albion Beatnik's shelves and adapt them using cut-up, collage and mark-making techniques to create completely new structures and texts. For inspiration, we'll examine altered books made by artists and writers including Tom Phillips' A Humument and Jonathan Safran Foer's Tree of Codes. We'll discuss poetry beyond the text including visual elements, invisible elements and the role of chance in writing. Come prepared to think in three dimensions, and forget all you were ever taught about not scribbling in books.

Cost: £12 per person. Includes materials and a £5 voucher towards the cost of a book from Albion Beatnik.
To book your place leave a comment below and I'll get back to you!
Venue: Albion Beatnik Bookshop, 34 Walton Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX2 6AA

Friday, 9 November 2012

Slightly Foxed Children's Catalogue

Over the last few years I’ve contributed the occasional illustration to Slightly Foxed, a delightful quarterly review of old books.

Slightly Foxed on Gloucester Road, the second-hand bookshop rescued and now run by the magazine, has been solving reader’s queries and sourcing out-of-print books for some years. This winter sees the launch of their first children’s catalogue – and I’m happy to see that my illustrations of a sly old fox with his eye on some kookaburra bookends grace the front and back covers. You can view the whole catalogue online here.

If you like bookends, you might be interested to know that these unfortunate birds were inspired by the work of Australian ceramic artist Grace Seccombe, whose humble kookaburra and koala bookends now fetch wild prices among collectors. She's not well-represented online, but there's a short introduction to her work here.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Escapism for Amateurs

As a huge fan of Sarah Nicholls' work, I was delighted when the latest in her series of free informational pamphlets arrived in the post recently. Escapism for Amateurs (pictured above and below) is an oblique homage to Houdini that follows in the wake of other useful publications such as A Guide to Leisure Activities for Introverts and There are Dangers to Being an R&B Heartthrob. I look forward to practising its precepts, including such valuable lessons as 'no performer should attempt to bite off a red hot iron unless he has a good set of teeth'. Quite. 

Nicholls is a Brooklyn-based visual artist who 'makes pictures with language, books with pictures, prints with type, and animations with words.' If you follow the links above, you'll find a selection of images demonstrating the vibrant colours and dynamic typography characteristic of Nicholls' work, not to mention its wry sense of humour.