Completed just on time (as always) an embroidery for the very grand occasion of my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday in early July. Original flower designs by Yumiko Higuchi, adapted from his excellent book ‘Zakka Embroidery’.
Very pleased to announce the opening of the 'Redesigning the Medieval Book' exhibition at UWE Bower Ashton Library in Bristol. The display is an extension of the original exhibition at the Bodleian Library in Oxford earlier this year, and features 40 new books and artworks created in response to the Bodelian's collection of medieval books and manuscripts. I'm very grateful to Professor Daniel Wakelin and all the team at the Bodleian Library for their help in facilitating this extended exhibition, and to Sarah Bodman at UWE and fellow book artist Kate Bernstein for their help and support in setting up the exhibition. It will run from 19 April - 29 June, and there will be an informal 'show and tell' event on Saturday 12 May, 12-2pm, where you can hear some of the artists talking about their books and working process. If you can't visit the exhibition, you can download or view a pdf of the catalogue here.
The grand unveiling of my Frankenstein book ‘Memento mori' in all its morbid glory... packaged and sent off to Liverpool Book Art for their exhibition at Liverpool Central Library. Met the deadline by the skin of my teeth. Here's my statement, which hopefully goes some way to explain why I've spent the past three months stitching dead people...
Memento Mori is inspired by the theme of art as a means of remembrance: a recurring motif in Frankenstein. William was carrying a Miniature of his mother, Caroline, before he was murdered, and this then became a defining piece of evidence in implicating Justine. When Victor returns home from university, he is moved by the Miniature of William on their father’s mantelpiece, under a painting of his mother kneeling by the coffin of her dead father. The death of Victor’s mother acts as a powerful catalyst for his experimentation with creating new life, and the memories of his loved ones lost at the hands of the resultant creature lead to his desire to avenge their deaths.
I have altered an existing hardback book and transformed it into a ‘memento mori’ for all the characters who lose their lives. The book has a new cloth hard cover with a foiled title, and opens as a case in two sections. These contain eight framed oval cut-aways featuring embroideries of all of the expired characters (Caroline, William, Justine, Henry, Elizabeth, Alphonse, Victor, and the monster). The embroideries are vignettes of each individual death, each labelled with the character’s name.
I chose to hand embroider the illustrations as the process forms a symbolic act of remembrance, and embroidery was a popular handicraft of the time. The morbid fascination with death in Victorian times, along with the themes of grief, memory and loss in Frankenstein, are reflected in this new work.
Pinning out the final trimmed embroideries for photographing...
A rather belated post to show the remaining embroideries for my Frankenstein book.
Stitching furiously to meet the April deadline for my submission to Liverpool Book Art's Frankenstein exhibition. I'm working on a book that will open to reveal eight embroidered vignettes of the deaths of the characters in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I was inspired by the recurring motif in the story of using art to remember the dead, and Victorian society's morbid fascination with death. I hope to reflect the the themes of grief, remembrance and loss in my final book. In the meantime, I'm finding it strangely enjoyable embroidering dead people. Each to their own.
Found some monoprints I had digitally printed onto fabric in the second year of my MA, and decided to make a small book cover from one of them. Ironing a sandwich of the fabric, bondaweb and tissue paper makes a passable book cloth to cover a board. The pink spine/endpaper was a colour catcher used in the washing machine (nice colour thanks to a leaky red duvet cover). Needs some refining, but I like the idea of bringing more stitch into my work.
A few sneak peeks at my most ambitious project to date. An embroidered Medieval book for a competition set by the Bodleian Library in Oxford. No such thing as fast hand-embroidery. It takes as long as it takes. But the deadline is the end of August so I'd better get a wiggle on…