Monday, 6 February 2012

Working on Structure

I had never read Milan Kundera's book The Unbearable Lightness of Being and my first response to the title That Unbearable Lightness was to think of vertigo - the light-headedness, the spinning sensation, the wobbly feeling, losing balance and falling over. After getting hold of the book, I was quite excited to discover a piece about vertigo, not the physical kind, but a psychological vertigo suffered by those whose goal is to attain 'something higher' but who are inevitably tempted and lured to fall into the emptiness below. I liked the idea of combining these physical and psycholocigal aspects of vertigo.

I love it when the subject matter lends itself to using structure as an integral part of the artwork, in the same way illustration or text contribute to the meaning. I needed a structure that could suggest vertigo - the spinning sensations and falling over - a bit like a spinning top. I remembered a Chinese circular folded hanging structure I'd seen a few years ago which could possibly work. First attempts at making it were rather dismal and it was much more complicated than its simple exterior suggested, but perseverance paid off and after several attempts I eventually worked it out. Paper and its weight was an issue and thinner oriental papers were not successful. With all the folds, I couldn't use thick watercolour paper and printmaking papers have a softness that wasn't really suitable either. I had the best results with a crisp Fabriano paper of 160 gsm.

Now to turn it into a book! Parts of it had to be glued, so these became a kind of 'perfect binding' and then I added a soft flexible leather spine that could turn itself 'inside out/outside in'. The covers were added to the spine piece in the style of a simplified binding.....and after two attempts it worked! Now onto the illustrations......


Aine Scannell said...

Hi Helen and thanks for your email with links in

I am tryng to gradually make a word doc which has info. on each of the group five members

name websites email and location and postal address. I have been wondering if each of us groups ought to have their own blog thats linked into the main BAO blog as it is hectic on there knowing who is who and which group etc.

Looks like you are well underway. bear in mind not to have your books too heavy (like I did) - mine were 1.2 kilos each so international postage was astronomical !!
best wishes


Helen M said...

Thanks Aine for compiling info about our group - that would be very useful. And it is a good thing to keep postage in mind, especially as some of the books are going overseas.