Blog Archive

Monday, May 1, 2023

"Change transform II"


In 2020,  Jonathon Oxlade and I made a varied edition of two books "Change  Transform" . One of these was entered in the Manly Artist Book Award 2021 and now 2 years later we have both revisited the remaining book to make "Change Transform II". The book will be entered in HARD design show curated by Calum Hurley in Melbourne Design Week 18 -21 May.

This book follows the same condition that in making any change, nothing must be subtracted or cut off the original.  However, in addition to folding, cutting and changing the shape of pages, we have made small additions to the pages by responding with thread or pigment to make marks that effect the change and transform the pages and provide a way of linking or seperating the pages. 

The book also makes use of colour and form to focus and link different pages in a gentle, suggestive manner. The collaboration produced new, exploratory results that excited both of us. 

Monday, January 16, 2023

"points of reference"

I am delighted that Points of Reference has been included in this years Manly Book Artists' Award 2023. It is always exciting to be amongst so many of the wonderful book artists this award always attracts. In this blog I will attempt to give some idea of the processes involved in getting just one of the three puzzle/game like books that make up the whole set into a final book from an original, related idea 10 years ago.

The original small unique work 16 century map was a  trial attempt  at juxtaposing the exterior old European map (showing Mesopotamia and the Euphrates, the Northern hemisphere’s cradle of civilization) with the interior Australian map of the Kakadu National Park to get at the concept of Tjukurpa, by which Australia’s Anangu refer to the creation period. This little book was acquired by Robert Bolick for his Books on Books Collection. a few years ago in 2020.

In discussions with Bob, he introduced me to  the work of a very early Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe and his amazing life.  Bob expressed interest should I ever revisit this early book in another context and design including references to Tycho Brahe later on. So recently, a documentary showing how Judy Dench was related to this astronomer reminded me of an earlier interest, I revisited my notes on Tycho and made plans to make a new series perhaps for an exhibition.
Luckily, I had blogged about the first book earlier on - (so much more reliable than my failing memory). The new artists' book is Points of Reference and consists of a series of three  related books boxed as one collection of which this is the first.

Each book has two puzzle like pages of contrasting sides or charts. Originally, I explored the possibility of contrasting one of Tycho Brahe's charts with a view of the night sky as seen from an indigenously significant location. However, I abandoned both because of difficulties with copyright issues and possible cultural sensitivities. 
Instead, I contrasted an image of Brahe 's constellation Stella Nova 1572 {with a reference to his golden nose piece, having lost his original nose in a duel} to a modern imaginary space map referring to some of our satellites and space stations , showing the increasingly crowded sky full of commercial and abandoned space junk around the Southern Cross which is a special constellation in our part of the world.

outside cover



This section is the most difficult to process (so many plans and areas to explore and research)but I will talk about the other two parts of this book later, one section at a time if I don't runout of steam.

Friday, July 29, 2022

"Where " indeed


Where is a companion piece for the previous book Where are you. Both were done together but this one was more exploratory and experimental. Some of the pages that Trace Willans had treated had shiny and waxy surfaces that are not easy to draw on or stick to, so this was the proof before the next proof. The result is that each book has quite a different feel. Not cohesive and thematic but more random and open ended. 

Where has more collage and found text as this worked well when working on seperate pages, rather than thinking of the more thematic book. I think this gives the book a more lively, almost cheeky feel. Both A/P's work in different ways and I wonder how we'll proceed if we decide to make other work derived from them?

Both little books have waxy, textured covers are about the size of a playing card and  fit comfortably in the hand. The deckled edges and bindings help to make them feel precious and intimate and they are beautiful art objects in themselves.

There can be problems working with someone else, but when it works  it's wonderful with both of you adding something unique  as well as sparking off each other. The result is always more than the sum of two totals. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

where are you?

Just when I'm seriously thinking of the end of my blogging days, along comes a blogger from the past - Trace Willans, and a little book  "Age Marks" we made together in 2014 . After exchanging some emails we are once again planning to do some more work together. 

Just as well I was still "out there" floating, adrift in the ether. Here are a few images from our tiny artist proof Where are you? , a tiny little book about getting lost. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022



"Bits”  started life as a silk screen print “Torso” from my art student days in 1975.  The print brought back memories of my days as a young student at Art School. By incorporating some selected fragments from the original into a new series of drawings and books, around the more intimate “bits of torso”, I have been able to relive old memories from my youth.

I have been busy making quite a few smaller books, mainly of drawings during the quiet times around COVID. They are made for giving away to special friends. This little book of drawings has found its way into the collection of one of my friends who collects pillow books.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Flattening the Curve

I am delighted that "Flattening the Curve", my entry for the Libris 22 Competition was shortlisted recently. It is always exciting to be amongst so many of the wonderful book artists in this exhibition but it amazes me how the judges can select us from such a small amount of information. (3 images, an artist CV and the artist statement.) 

In this post I'll try to give you some more insight of what the book is about and how it all fits together and show how the short artist statement can't adequately convey what the book is about  ----This was the statement that was sent :

"Flattening the Curve is informed by observations about how the Covid 19 pandemic developed and influenced a specific Covid language. The book unfolds as the daily "Covid" language with its special vocabulary and meanings evolved as the pandemic progressed through its different stages.  The book shows how daily progress reports and interviews in the media from our political leaders and medical experts became the focus of every day for the last two years and how language changes itself, its meanings and importance but also reflects its use for the purpose of authority and confidence."

The materials chosen affect the physical aspect of the book, how it will be presented and viewed to convey the story or central idea. Flattening the Curve is made on very thin rice and carbon papers from China [like COVID 19]to suggest compromised breathing which affects Covid 19 patients. Pairs of both papers were stressed to produce a carbon copy from the original. I have previously explored ways of working with carbon paper in "out of breath" and was able to utilize some of those results.

The carbon paper was worked on with pigment and white ink and fixed to stop the carbon making further marks. The white rice paper with the carbon imprint was also worked on with similar words and phrases being used during the pandemic at that time. The rice paper is treated with Stand Linseed oil to make it translucent. The two pages are like breathing in and out, the darker carbon paper shiny and thin with an image like damaged lungs seen through an X-Ray inside the body, and the translucent white rice paper with the copy of lung-like tissue representing the breath outside the body.

The words, language and mood of “Flattening the Curve” change as you progress through the book and the pandemic takes its course. Everyday words assume different meanings, medical terms become normalised and special Covid words and phrases appear. The language changes with the severity of the outbreak and mood of the populace as they change differently in different parts of Australia and other parts of the world.


Saturday, January 8, 2022

"matrix +, a chance story realised"


One of my greatest pleasures is sharing my work with my grandchildren. Usually, when they stay over and we have more time, they like to spend time with me in my studio doing things they rarely get a chance to do anywhere else. I like to try to get them away from their devices some of the time and since they feel comfortable using my computer, I encourage them to use it as a creative tool as well. We have made many little books and works later transformed from ideas explored digitally.

Recently, my youngest grand-daughter (13), who is the least interested in "ART" was looking through "Matrix" and quite interested in the "weird" pages. We explored some pages as open-ended stories, orally which worked well. Since she quite likes writing, I asked her to choose her favourite page and make her own story. 

She spent the afternoon playing with my little book and I was just so impressed with her focusing for so long on this one task and then absolutely thrilled with her little teenage story that resulted. It takes off, hardly stopping for breath just like the way she speaks. I feel a little uncomfortable sharing this precious moment on my blog but I hope you will forgive my indulgence.

" "One night when she was in her office late working on a project, she saw her very first shooting star, so of course, she made the wish which had stayed the same for every birthday, Christmas and whenever she blew on a dandelion. Para Alargar had always dreamt of going to England, especially the country town Borne.

That exact night that she was talking to one of her work colleagues about Borne, this happened.

“Para Alargar please go to gate 36” the PA system announced. Believe it or not, Para was going on the next available flight to Heathrow airport and would then jump on a taxi and take the long drive to Borne.

The second that she passed the ‘Welcome to Borne’ sign it all clicked. The reason why she has always wanted to come here, was, Para’s mum grew up here and so did all the females in the whole of the McClure generations except for Para.

It was finally time for Para to leave England. She had decided to make it a new tradition, to go to Borne every autumn from now on."


Sunday, October 10, 2021



"Matrix" is a small playing-card-sized book using a variety of papers of contrasting weight and texture. It is similar in size and structure to a little book "Age Marks" I made with Trace Willans a few years ago.

I always keep some of the handmade and unusual paper scraps from other projects but they often sit in yet another forgotten folder in my studio. I was having a cleanout during the pandemic and came across one of these folders and made the little book. I don't often make a book without research or preliminary artist proofs, but this is one that started without any pre-conceived idea of what was to follow. The cover is an old hand-made piece of paper from recycled mount board from 20 years ago. 

Although nostalgia and memory are important to my way of making art, this is not just a fondness of old things. I have cigar boxes (from my father) full of materials: stamps, cigar bands, diary snippets, maps, and tickets from travels during my life, to trawl through for suitable combinations.

Each page is a separate image unrelated to the others directly but using various different objects and materials to reflect the disorderly, random, incongruous pattern of normal daily experience, not to recreate chaos but to create a process of finding our own logic in the complexities surrounding us. 

I have shown each double spread page as the book opens and different pages overlap or show their edges, the way you would see it, instead of cropping each page and presenting it as a separate image.

The different elements are explored until it seems right and the underlying ideas and memories come to the surface by chance.

"Matrix" is informed by my daily experiences and thoughts, which are born at home and expanded and contextualized from seeing life lived all over the world- my experiences, past works, and issues in contemporary art. Special areas of interest which surface include travel, memory, mapping, migration and location, chance and imagination.