The book Rope of Words has really dominated my creative output this year.
I decided to do it (more or less) as an open studio blog project and it has gone through some interesting stages. This is quite a scary way to work because if you blow it as an artist, you are exposed!
Megan Kerr (my daughter) wrote this fantasy short story exploring her love of words. In it a woman loses the words she and her lover collected and spends the rest of the story looking for the words and the lover. She vows not to cut her hair until she finds them again and this is a wonderful image to play with. There are nine mini “chapters” and a longer one and altogether there will be 12 illustrations.
I did the first drawing of the male model just after Christmas. Being elusive means he doesn’t feature much. My very generous nephew posed for me, holding a stupid doll which I could then translate into a printer’s tray “i”. He sat so still it was wonderful. Megan entertained his wife (her first cousin) and their two little boys in Oxford. It’s so nice when the whole family helps make things happen.
So back to my end of year stocktaking…
Right now Rope of Words has grown to encompass:
- a print run of 600 books a bit bigger than A5 on beautiful paper with 12 illustrations, handbound.
- a downloadable e-book.
- the artist’s book – a limited edition of 10 copies, all quarto-size which is almost A3 when folded, hand made and hand printed. This is my magnus opus – or as Blackadder would have it, my Magnificent Octopus”
I designed the lower case alphabet of my own font “Elva” but am not yet as far as the capital letters. This is now seriously holding me up for the artist’s book.
When working out the artit’s book, I needed the drawings to be very careful studies from the sketches, so I went a tiny step further and did them in water colour to be used for an e-book.
My son says he can do an e-book for me, (he does apps). Then I discovered that the book can be beautifully printed as a 32-page book on lovely paper by a commercial printer. This seems to be a good thing and will keep us going – a smallish run of 600 books in time for the summer exhibitions.
What really got me forging ahead with my illustrations was that my friend Lois who was having chemo needed some sort of regular postal contact and it seemed quite a good idea to send her a chapter after each chemo session. With the chapter I sent drawings / photos/ ideas. Lois is part of our Open Books Group so she enjoyed this, especially as she is a writer and a maker of books. It galvanised me into regularly updating my progress. Thanks for that Lois. (More about her in a few days).
So the actual artists’ book has progressed quite slowly but I’m getting all my design plans ready and hope to have the first printed edition by the end of March.