In assignment 4 I spoke about the idea of creating a book, or several books, relating to the idea of absence/presences, and the possibility of it being a way to collate some of the many images, photographs, diagrams and notations together.
I spoke with M. about the ideas of Newspapers, handmade books and self published books through online sites.
Having spoken about sustainability in my statement it seemed important to think carefully about how I went about this -using recycled products or locally made papers.
With a little research I found that there is a local company that produces handmade artist quality papers- The Two Rivers Company. It seems they will make bespoke papers, which set me thinking about extending my previous attempts at paper making with willow bark.
For this current project, however, I started to look back through previous work as I thought more about the form this book might take. I came across sheets of willow leaves that I had pressed on Khadi paper– this is a handmade paper made from 100% recycled cotton rag in India. The leaves had left multiple imprints and stains from their forms on the papers. These immediately made me think of ‘absence’- the memory of the leaves remained on the paper.
Just to illustrate how ideas don’t always come from where you expect them to- I set about researching online the nature of artist books and almost enrolling on a bookbinding course, when I was also following up another thread to look at Dieter Roth’s work in relating to performative work when I came across his ‘unbinding of the book’; a book without a spine where the pages would remain loose and could be arranged in a number of ways. I immediately thought of the ‘absence’ of a spine- what else might be missing from a book? A book with no words? I then though of the phase ‘there are no words…..’ – These are words we heard repeatedly in the days and weeks following Jakes death. The book started to take a form in my head. I thought back to comments I had made in a piece, ‘further reflections on documentation’ about photographs I had of a selection of 8 leaves from each of the eight willow sculptures. I went back to these and decided to use them as a pattern to cut out there shapes from sheets of Khadi paper. These would then be inter-spaced with the other sheets that held a memory of the willow leaves.
I had considered the willow rose as having potential in creating a binding for a book before thinking of the absent spine, then thought about how I might bring the constituent parts of a book together- the pages, the spine, the thread, I thought of other parts of the willow that I might use. When I trimmed them down, however, they looked very much like a crucifix and took on religious overtones, which I didn’t want. It made me think it had to be simple, because the more additions seemed to add greater meanings, and in someway add to it ‘presence’, when it was intended to be about ‘absence’.
I decided it would be a book of 16 loose pages, which could be configured in any order and might be displayed in a number of ways- They could be displayed as a pile of sheets with only the top visible or they could be displayed as framed works. The piece would the called ‘There are no words…’