Saturday, 11 August 2012

Ten Books on Architecture


I've just finished working on Version 2 of the Ten Books on Architecture.  I had received an enquiry from The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York as they were interested in acquiring the piece for their Artists Books collection.  I made the original piece in 2006 for the Noosa Books tenth anniversary exhibition and it had sold there, and I had never made the intended extra two versions.  However, I had all the texts and images on my computer, and notes on sizes and how I made the books in my notebook, so I offered to make Version 2 for them.   I think it may be a good idea to work on Version 3 while it is still fresh in my mind!

The Roman, Vitruvius, wrote the first 'ten books on architecture' called De Architettura around 40 BC and then in the Renaissance, Alberti was influenced by Roman architecture and wrote the second ten books on architecture, which he called De re aedificatoria in 1452.   My ten books on architecture references these two works and uses architecture as an analogy for building a book structure and expresses the essence of the work of ten different architects or works of architecture.

I've decided to post about the making of the individual books in this piece as I use a lot of adapted structures and various techniques. I won't necessarily follow the order of the books in the bookwork, as I will talk about similar pieces together, but I will start with Book 1 which is Vitruvius.

The Vitruvius book is adapted from the The Roman Alphabet book which I made in 1993.  This concertina book opened out like the frieze on a Roman temple with the cutout embossed letters creating the relief sculpture.


With Vitruvius, I again painted Arches WC 200 gsm paper with watered down Sumi ink to create a marble like effect, which was made into a concertina book.
I made an embossing plate of a simple Doric column from mat board, which I then hand-embossed a little inside the edge of each outer fold.


I then cut the folds and cut out around each column.



The back page contains text relating to the essential elements of architecture according to Vitruvius - Utilitas (Function), Firmitas (Structure) and Venustas (Design and Beauty).  The book resembles a Roman temple when standing opened.



In the next post I will talk about the Alberti book which is another concertina type structure.


11 comments:

Janine Whitling said...

gorgeous book Helen, am looking forward to seeing the other nine. xo Janine

Vicki said...

Wow Helen, fantastic, really lovely, looking forward to the next episode.

rObfOs said...

Hi Helen, amazing looking books, as usual! Thanks for sharing the secrets of your creation process. I'm looking forward to seeing a close up of the red book in your group shot.

Abigail Thomas said...

I haven't checked your blog for ages, and so I am glad you commented on mine, it made me hop over here for a quick catch up - this book looks amazing; really love the idea - your zine looks interesting too; perhaps if you have any left we could do a swap? I have some copes of my last one sheet bookworks left, which include some more info and inspired by Bob Brown (of course!)... let me know what you think.

ronnie said...

this is fantastic helen - I can't wait to see all the other books in this series (wow!)

ersi marina said...

I was about to say 'awesome' but then such a cliche adjective would do no justice to your beautiful and elegant work. Looking forward to more (in awe...)

dinahmow said...

Your embossed columns are nice and sharp,especially for hand-pressed.
I, too, am looking forward to more Brunelleschi.;-)

alison said...

This is a wonderfully produced book and great detail.I enjoy reading the process too.

The Elephant's Child said...

dinahmow sent me, and I am so glad she did. I am sitting here with my jaw swinging in the breese. This is simply lovely. Thank you.

Amanda said...

What a beautiful book Helen and such an impssive series. And you were contacted by Pratt!!! I didn't realize we werre in such hallowed company ; D. Congratulations!
Like everyone else I am looking forward to seeing more of the series. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

Helen M said...

Thank you so much everyone for your kind words, they are much appreciated, and for your interest in seeing the other books in detail. I will try to get through the further posts quickly!