"Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears and never regrets." (Leonardo da Vinci)
Attributed to da Vinci, the words above illustrate my philosophy and open attitude to learning. I love learning new things, especially things that relate to subjects that interest me and that can push me as a growing person a little bit further to question and explore the world I live in.
In the recent weeks I have been quite busy with course work and immersed myself in technical skills workshops as well as many theory books and research. My participation is inquisitive and sometimes playful, while at other times, like many artists, I try to control the process and force things away from their natural direction. That said, I really clicked with the stamping techniques we learnt from Stephen, our tutor, from carving away at the rubber to foraging for found objects that could make interesting stamps once treated and assembled.
The result of the workshop and my favourite part was the collaborative book project I did with my fellow students, an amazing bunch of creatives whose vision and resourcefulness fuels me on ahead at maximum speed. Working as a group I learnt about the energy that determines what we do and how we stimulate and bounce off each other. We used large sheets of A1 paper and individually we started to stamp areas of the paper before passing our sheets on to our neighbours. During this second stage of creation we had to stamp in a way that responded to or negated that which others had put down before us and then relinquish the paper once more to someone else who would add their mark on it.
The learning curve in this exercise, for me at least, was steep. I learnt that my style is narrative rather than abstract (I really do like things to be orderly and make logical sense) and that letting go as opposed to controlling the process is something I need to work on some more. Imagine making an image the way you like it and then having to let it go and be changed according to someone else's vision!
And then this brings me to the end result, a book made out of fragments, the fragments of stamped A1 sheets that we all liked and agreed on as a group and which then we curated into a sequence by theme, colour, composition. This limited edition of entirely handmade books (imagine hand-making and hand-stamping each and every single one of 50 books in a well coordinated group effort and making them all look exactly the same) was available to purchase at the Canterbury Book Fair at the end of October. For anyone looking for stocking fillers with a difference or, better yet, anyone interested in collecting hand-made art books, please do get in touch with me and I can arrange for your copy to reach you as soon as reasonably possible, for a small price plus P&P.