Monday, 27 June 2022



The theme for NWBA this month is biscuits.

I associate factory biscuits with committee meetings and tea breaks, especially the drama group I belonged to for the best part of thirty years (St Andrews and Tanterton Allsorts to give it its full name).

I wasn't sure what to do for this so I started line drawings of biscuits,

collaged old scripts and scanned and printed the drawings, 
 glazed with acrylic paints,

 scanned  a section and used image processing to put on text and print out the covers, 
finally folded and put under weight .

The thick collaged paper is not ideal for this type of structure but given I had no idea of what I was going to do when I started drawing I’m quite pleased with it

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Witch Balls

I’ve recently taken part in “All life is here”, a project at the Lancashire Archives , making  a visual response to quarter sessions petitions from the 17th century.

Because of the short time scale for this work, about 2 months, I chose to use as my inspiration the seven documents from the period that were accessible on line as a transcription and accompanied by a good quality photograph.

All seven referred to people accused of witchcraft.

Whilst wondering how to tackle the project I vaguely remembered hearing about witch balls and on googling it I found they were real.  They are hollow spheres of glass, hung in cottage windows in 17th and 18th century to ward off evil spirits and witches.

This gave me a circular format to work in. 

Whilst researching further I found a copy of The History of Witches and Wizards (printed in 1720) in the Wellcome foundation’s online resources. I didn’t want to copy from this but decided to use this woodcut style to make illustrations to some of the stories in the archive documents.

I added illustrations of the type of plants that would have been used by healers, again in the same woodcut style, that I derived from historical herbals that were around in this period.

I also decided to use part of the original script of each document.

I decided to use the prints to make two different outcomes, a simple line of double sided prints, one for each document, with text on one side

  and an illustration on the other and a spherical book incorporating the same double sided prints.


Sunday, 5 June 2022

It's been a while

I realized today how long it's been since I posted anything. I think now life has opened up we've all got so busy again.

I'm not going to try and catch up with stuff I've been doing over the last couple of months (most of it is family and allotment related, not art making) but just to get started here's a picture of some of the double sided prints I've just finished as part of a project at the Lancashire Archives. When dry they'll hopefully become a book and a hanging thingy.

Tuesday, 5 April 2022


Because the only lightweight paper I had for scroll pages was Chinese calligraphy paper (which while it drapes beautifully its lack of sizing means it’s difficult to work on) I played with the whirlwind and dragon scale books adapting the structures to a more western style of bonding. 

 Please ignore the colours they were chosen to show up on a zoom workshop.

I especially liked the whirlwind and thought it would work for the NWBA theme of ‘Round’.

I played with monoprints and labyrinths as a motif to give the books content but I'm not happy with them yet.

Though I did turn one into a paper orb

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Dragons and whirlwinds

 Having seen an amazing set of books by Zhang Xiaodong (on a link posted on the MBAG Facebook page). I've been experimenting with dragons scale and whirlwind stuctures 

Now to think about images.

Sunday, 20 February 2022


 The challenge for #areyoubookenough this month is ‘lines’.

I had what I thought was a quick and simple idea. After two weeks of making sheets and sheets and sheets  of lines, writing with various different implements, paints, inks and surfaces I finally ended up with these.

 The quote is Paul Klee from his Pedagogical Sketchbook.

Monday, 14 February 2022

Inspired by

For Christmas one of my daughters gave me a Paul Johnson Book. 

 I was fascinated by its construction. The pages are made from a single sheet of paper cut to give 8 panels and folded to give 5 pages.

I worked out the cuts needed for each panel

 And played with altering the shapes of the basic rectangles needed to make the folded structure 

 And tried it cutting a piece of gelli printed paper to give three pages

 I wanted to keep the chunky feel of the thick spine that Paul Johnson used but instead of a single folded sheet stuck to the spine with a couple of flaps I didn’t want to use glue and I wanted my panels cut in pairs (so three separate pieces) .

I liked it but decided to change to format to a square

 Looking through the holes in the pages to the sheets behind it put me in mind of a maze or hedge. So I thought about making the cuts spikier. 

 The gelli printed paper is not good at holding a crisp fold over time so I thought I’d experiment with making double sided paste paper in appropriate colours. 

 I think they worked. 

 I covered thin card with more paste paper. I would have liked something more substantial but the binding method I concocted needs thin slits cutting into the spine and I thought the thin card might be neater

And I bound the pages. The double spreads wanted to splay open which spoiled the hedge effect I was after so I held them shut with a thin strip of paper slotted over the fore edge.

I have written the words and even managed to get to Hot Bed Press to typeset them. They need living with for a few days before I go back and print them for an edition.I also need to make a whole stash of paste papers.

There’s a lot of work in each of these books so I’m thinking probably an edition of 5