Apart from my recent Tribute to Tilly I’ve been a bit quiet bubble-work wise in the last few weeks. There is a reason for this.
I discovered this competition and just had to be in it.
Jo and Dean run a fabulous bookshop and gallery in Port Fairy and wanted to run a biblio-art competition during the Ex Libris Book Fair weekend (4-6 September)
The inspiration for artworks entered was to be one of the old books in a barrow load in their shop.
I couldn’t stop at just one entry but went for THREE….so they have been my work and obsession for the past couple of weeks. Yesterday I went for drive to Port Fairy and delivered the works to the Bookshop and Gallery, had a wonderful time organising the most elaborate of my entries and meeting Jo and Dean who run the bookshop.
So check out the comp and the exhibition if you are in Port Fairy or nearby.
Here are my entries for your general amusement! All artworks will be for sale during the exhibition. Also for sale are zines and merchandise.
The interior mechanism of a vintage toaster has had a short, fake electrical cord attached complete with plug. Tied to the end of the cord near the plug are two folded paper pieces (a paper plane and a game of chance) made from pages of the German Dictionary. The Dictionary itself has been split in two and each half bound with nylon filament to keep the pages and covers together (creating two discrete blocks or pieces of “toast”). These have been inserted in the toast slots. Also in one of the toast slots is a booklet made from five original pages torn from the Dictionary which have German words written on them in pen and ink. The cover of this booklet is made from a scan of the real cover. This booklet has been duplicated in the form of a miniature zine which hangs from the exterior of the toaster as a swing tag. The zine represents a puzzle game in which all information is present to translate the German pen and ink writing (with some effort from the observer).
A foreign language may be remote and weird to us while being normal and everyday in its native setting. We can laugh about, and talk in, silly accents, use “pretend” foreign language or be tortured by strict procedures in old school teaching fashion. The toaster transcends cultural differences and lives in every kitchen, yet retains a sweet attraction…a toy toaster is an appealing thing and retro toasters become objects of desire. Of course, the search for the perfect toaster-of-long-life is never ending…. In combining the everyday retro kitchen object (albeit in an unusual presentation) with foreign language the stage is set for investigation by the curious and playful. Combining graphic techniques old and new (pen and ink writing and scans of a 3 dimensional book) the object arrangement is completed – the addition of the resulting puzzle zine as a swing tag adds to the consumable image of the everyday kitchen appliance and allows the observer to participate in a timely word finding game.
Collage sewn from pages and cover of Dictionary and coloured thread, mounted on canvas and frame.
At first I found it hard to tear apart a Dictionary…then it became easy! On every page I found fascinating words. I chose as the basic shape a sheet of paper similar in proportion to the Dictionary, tall and narrow. As the work progressed it became more and more of a challenge to sew the whole work and the typographical element appeared. I had thought, due to the size of the piece, I would need to glue elements in the centre of the large sheet. The cover I also thought would be too thick to sew. Ultimately, I met the challenge, and the work was entirely sewn, including mounting on the canvas which has then been stretched on a frame. This is a piece to read and ponder and to smile at, from the unusual words that appear on every page to the colour and texture of the cotton threads.
The Garden of Folly
Three dimensional object (made from found materials) in the form of an elaborate wall mounted shadow box, incorporating small ceramic urns, garden twine and a resting place for the inspirational volume “The Garden of Folly” by Stephen Leacock. Quotes from the book have been reproduced on the silk covered, paper leaves which are safety-pinned to the garden twine wrapped around the shadow box. The quotes are also gathered together in a leafy zine.
If exhibited, this work would be accompanied by other Garden of Folly “Merchandise” – ‘quote leaves’ on sticks, mini wall art and approx 8 copies of the zine, all displayed in larger urns.
It is common knowledge that the answer to a Life Problem may be found by opening any book and reading at random. I believe that more than one of Life’s Innumerable Problems may be solved by reading the extracts I have exhumed from “The Garden of Folly”. In fact, I believe I have done humanity a service is collecting together in one small, handy pamphlet so many words of comfort and solution to the problems we all share.
“The Garden of Folly” has an enticing title and an amusing beginning, but to misquote the preface… “One may skip the rest of the book without missing much”.
In the first few pages I found some promising quotes. After that it became quite a trial to sniff out likely pieces of text.
The Garden image demanded a three dimensional treatment and greenery, the Folly begged for quirky formality and humour. The selected quotes from the book, displayed on individual leaves and in the accompanying leafy zine, sum up the title. …the artwork itself is the ultimate Folly.
cover of zine
inside of zine
as set up in the gallery (this photo by Fleur Fleming )