A while back I posted images of my second folding-sketchbook for the Open Books exhibition, Where the Bad Things Are, started as a whimsical homage to Sendak a few weeks before his death. I gave up on it in frustration when I couldn’t get the mechanisms to work, though I realise now I was painting and assembling too quickly, and the thin card though not perceptibly damp, was probably not dry enough for it to have regained its integrity. Returning to the book to pick up the thread, I found the mechanisms were operating reasonably well, everything having thoroughly dried. It’s still a damned tricky thing to pull off as the scale is tiny and my paper engineering skills are rudimentary. Nevertheless, the book is scampering along now, and I completed three new spreads yesterday. Here are some images of the work in progress.
Nosferatu and some ghosts.
Today I plan to make a cyclops.
Be careful in the woods.
Witch and her Grimalkin
Looking at the work of some of the other artists who are taking part in this project, I can see that by comparison I’ve taken a far more playful tone with my folding-books, especially this one. Those familiar with my work will know that I rarely shie away from the dark side, but there is too the part of me ever-ready for play. Suffice to say that this has been a good antidote to some of the tougher things that have needed to be dealt with recently. I haven’t been in the mood to plumb the depths of my soul over the past couple of months, and the graphic projects… the covers for Marly and Damian and these folding-books… have been welcome diversions.
Years ago when I was the custodian at Tretower and long before I became a painter, I found comfort in the world of toy theatres, snipping away in my hut to make tiny prosceniums and stages arrayed with pantomime casts. When I need to escape, I do so onto the stages of toy theatres. The thing that intrigues me most about this, is the imperative to shrink things down when life gets complicated, and to disappear into simpler, brighter worlds that fit into the palm of a hand.