Saturday, November 21, 2015

Handmade Dos-a-dos books

Saturday morning saw those of us in the bookart-o-sphere who wanted to make Dos-a-dos books gathered together at Phoenix Gallery. Vanessa Marr was our inspirational, and very patient, Tutor, and we almost all managed to complete a handmade book, with others finishing off at home with most of their work already done.

Vanessa teaches at the University of Brighton as well as running other courses, so had all the know-how for us.  She provided some brilliant handouts and masses of lovely papers, and then we began.....

We chose the card for our cover and cut it to the size we wanted for our finished book, folded it into 3 and then chose the paper for our contents pages (known as 'signatures' in the book art world).  As lots of measuring and cutting went on it became very quiet as people were concentrating, and making precision folds to ensure their books would be beautifully neat and tidy.  Vanessa had a wonderful tiny guillotine which she brought along, passed on to her by her father, so technology of the old-fashioned and very useful kind, was present!

Excitement and joy set in quickly as we could see our work coming together, and some of us were already allocating in our heads future dos-a-dos books to give various people as presents, or travel journals and the like, made for ourselves.  So many dos-a-dos to do, and so little time! What a fun time we all had, reminiscing about being back in childhood, in a group, making something special together.

Once all that had been achieved, we then approached the stitching together of the cover and the signatures.  Expert bookbinders do lots of amazing stitching, and we had insights from Vanessa about the best way to stitch our books together, with linen thread.  It's 'watch your fingers' time, as there are tiny holes, made with an awl, to go through and come back out of again. Much sewing took place.

Sense of achievement!  We all put our books together in the middle of the table, and there we saw our varied and interesting selection of the handmade book in action.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Happenings ...

Following on from our meeting on 7 November, we have now established the work which will go in to the Book Art Show at Phoenix Gallery, Brighton, so that is an exciting move forward in preparation for 15 May 2016.  Thanks to everyone who responded to the initial email and then attended the meeting!


Drop in Workshop on 21 November making Dos a Dos books with Vanessa Marr.  Lots more information on our Facebook page ...    See you there!


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Book Arts on Saturdays - Mariya Ustymenko

We had a wonderful Saturday morning on the 3rd October. First, Karin Mori from Phoenix Gallery ( came along and told us all about the Book Art Show called Press & Release 2016, Technology and the Evolution of the Artist's Book, curated by Maddy Rosenberg, which will involve Curious Projects, and Liberatura.  The Sussex Book Arts Group has been also invited to take part in the activities associated with the show on the 15th of May 2016. There is a  design team to be commissioned, who will work on creating an environment where the book art work chosen for the exhibition will be presented in an interesting way, and the show will seek to push the boundaries of the book as object. Sussex Book Arts Collective has been invited to create an event in one of the spaces available and we are at the planning stage.   Ideas are being collected by Dorry so that they are gathered together for discussions.   There will be a meeting on 7th November 2015 to decide more ....

Mariya Ustymenko then presented a fascinating and interesting talk about her work Fear of Disappearance and how it all started.  She had been developing the levels of her project since September 2014, taking a good 6 months to work through the ideas to the finished work, having initially applied for a residency with the bookRoom Press, UCA Farnham.

She passed around her completed book, some zines made similarly and more afford-ably, and her portfolio.  Her work is also currently on show at The Gallery at Willesden Green Library as part of the group exhibition by Walph Collective titled Making Space, on view till the 4th of November.

The work had 3 outcomes: a limited edition (40 hand-bound books with perspex and aluminium cover), a zine (ed. of 100, hand-sewn soft-cover pamphlets), and a concrete, perspex and steel sculpture (ed. of 3). 

Mariya explained that she is a lens-based artist mainly, and is part of a photo collective group which provides peer support and mentorship.  Her background includes a PhD in Literature which she achieved when living in Essex before moving to the London area.

The contrast between the city and places by the sea had given her thoughts about the urban environment and how she might structure her book and sculpture taking on a subjective approach.  This led her to use urban materials to convey her ideas, such as concrete, steel and aluminium, which these environments are filled with, and which gave her choices about ways of production not usually associated with books and photography. 

The project also raised questions about her anxieties.  In a rapidly changing environment, she considered whether the book could be viewed as architecture, especially looking at such areas of London as Whitechapel and Hackney Wick.

On the question of development of the electronic book market with its greater digitalisation in the 2000s, she felt that this was often more for mass market paperback readers, and the artists book was more sought after now as they are physically more attractive and show greater creativity.

Mariya completed her splendid presentation talking about how she could see herself in the future doing more experimentation with paper folding, and laser engraving on different kinds of papers.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fear of Disappearance - Project Insights - New Season Meeting

Here's the latest greatest news for everyone -
BOOK A REMINDER IN YOUR DIARY FOR SATURDAY 3rd OCTOBER 2015 AT 10.30 to 12.30-ish in the Green Room at the Phoenix Gallery, Waterloo Place, Brighton.

We kick off the New Season of the Sussex Book Art Collective with a presentation from one of our members, who has recently featured her work at the Whitechapel Gallery, London Book Art Fair.  Mariya Ustymenko is a regular attendee at the SBAC meetings and many of you will already know her.  She will share with us her insights into developing her mixed media project, from her earliest ideas and sketches to its final outcome.  How exciting!
Find out all about this process, which led to her finished piece of work and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how an accomplished artist brings about and shows a completed project.  Mariya Ustymenko has been invited to talk about her sculptural photobook project, Fear of Disappearance.
She says of her work -

Fear of Disappearance is dedicated to the fast-changing landscape of London.  Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, the project was developed under the guidance of the bookRoom, a research cluster based at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, with focus on digital analogue and hybrid art book formats, and Akina Factory, a London-based photobook orientated laboratory.

Impressive isn't it!    Don't miss it!

All welcome, from more experienced creatives to those of you who are just curious or are beginners.  As you can tell from the description above, there will be lots to learn and see in our friendly and welcoming group session, and you can met other creatives, have a chat, have a cuppa.  Come and join us ....

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Grand Finale before the Summer Break

What a varied and surprising morning we had at Saturday's meeting thanks to Ed Boxall and Kim Pace.  It certainly was stimulating - and enthralled us all!

Firstly, Ed Boxall related how he had followed a Degree in Printmaking followed by an MA Illustration at Central St Martins (now University of the Arts, London).  He sees all his work as a continuation of the art work he had been developing since he was about 14.  His practice includes story telling in schools and festivals, often with his own poetry or as a performance, or both, and self-published books.  After his MA - which saw him fascinated with 'incompleteness' in art, including ruins and derelict buildings - he then entered the world of commercial book publishing.  However, he felt much like a small cog in a big wheel, part of a big machine, so he now concentrates on his one person book operation, as Ed Boxall.
A selection of Ed's books
Ed then treated us to a magical performance piece where he projected his beautiful images alongside eloquently communicating his poem, accompanied by a piece of music he had written.
After the performance, he explained that the hand-made and 'dream-like' quality is his aim, and that he uses monoprint, collage, pen and ink drawings and photocopies on to acetate to achieve this. The artwork is also published as a book.  When he exhibited at the Quay Arts Centre on the Isle of Wight recently, they referred to him as a 'Multi-disciplinary Artist' and he rather likes how that description encapsulates his work.
The acetate drawings used in the projection performance by Ed
Ed's previous publications and a page spread from his sketchbook

We then moved on into the Phoenix Gallery to see Kim L Pace's exhibition of works on paper, inlcuding sequential drawings and watercolours, and two vitrines holding 3D physical characters. The 3D works are part of a larger collection of sculptures and had also featured in an animated film.
Kim's work: detail of 'Marzipan Band - No.2 of 5', Ceramic.
During her Talk, she explained that she usually works in Installation, and this collection was rather different, being (almost) solely paper-based work.  The images combined the uncanny with humour and the mythical with references from contemporary culture: some have directly influenced her animations and 3D works, whilst others are independent works that are reminiscent of film stills or comic-book panels.

Kim talked about her interest in puppets and especially puppet theatre as a genre - indeed, the costumed and masked characters that filled the walls of the gallery had a distinct theatricality about them. Kim mentioned how puppets, often associated with children, can and have been used to make salient points in adult contexts, especially, for example, in repressive political regimes where they had been used to deliver powerful and subversive critiques about power.
Gallery talk - Kim L Pace's 'Works on Paper'
She also spoke about ideas of anthropomorphism - for example, how monkeys had been used in art as far back as Medieval times, as a metaphor for humans. Her series 'Monkey Parade' - an exploration of gender masquerade - featured beautifully drawn hybrids combining monkey/tarsiers and women, and reminiscent of Hollywood starlets, in 1950's saccharine colours.
Works on Paper - exhibition view
After returning from the Gallery to see Ed and Kim's books, we could see how they are both captivated by the process of drawing, and whilst Ed is interested in story-telling, Kim is interested in evoking narrative without telling specific stories. 
A really inspiring session!

The Book Arts Collective is now on its Summer Break, so look forward to seeing everyone again on 3 October 2015, back at the Phoenix Gallery in Brighton.  Have a good summer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


For our last session of the Book Arts Group before the Summer Break we have an EXTRA SPECIAL meeting, with two very talented people, Ed Boxall and Kim L Pace.  See details in the blog entry before this one for more details about them.

We will be meeting the usual place and usual time, Phoenix Gallery from 10.30 to 12.30, for what is sure to be a very splendid couple of hours.  We will meet in the Green Room to hear all about Ed, and then move into the Gallery exhibition space for the Illustrated Talk by Kim.  Both are experienced artists with a wealth of wonderful words to tell us all about their art practices.

Everyone is welcome and it will be a pleasure to see you all, whether you are experienced artists yourselves or are just curious and would like to know more.  Just come along at 10.30 am and say hello.

Ed Boxall: Summer Wind, Island's Edge

Kim L Pace: Strange Encounters (No.4)

A MUST GO-TO MEETING! Ed Boxall & Kim L Pace on 13 June at 10.30 am

Ed Boxall
Ed Boxall is an artist, writer and printmaker.
In Ed’s work, warm, earthy images of family life mix with magic and myth.

Many of his handmade prints capture moments from life: children’s encounters with animals, walking on the beach, eating porridge and peas. Other images have a more ambiguous poetry: people light fires in sea shells and drift on empty seas.
His ‘Pearbox Books’ explore this world including ‘The Rooftop Garden’, and his popular ‘Storm Tree Stories’.
“The Books have... an almost spiritual sense of connection between people and places and the natural world” (Katriona Chapman)

Ed performs his stories with his own ‘magic lantern’ style projections and giant pop-up paper cut out silhouettes, illuminated with fairy lights.
“Beautifully, wonderfully, inspiringly tingle-making” (feedback from a story telling session)

Ed graduated from St Martin’s College in 1999. He had several books published by Walker books before independently establishing his practice.

Kim L Pace
Following Ed, we will be visiting the Gallery where Kim L Pace has an exhibition event entitled 'Works on Paper' organised by Phoenix and Sussex Book Arts Collective. Kim will talk about her work in the gallery.
Initially known for her drawings, she currently also makes artists books, installations, and animated film.

British Artist Kim L Pace conjures up beguiling figures that exist in their own unique worlds of curious carnivalesque rituals and relationships.
Her work has been commissioned and exhibited internationally, including solo & group shows in the UK, USA, Ireland, Australia, Japan, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy & Norway.
Kim's recent exhibitions/projects (2014-15) include:
Eastside Projects, Birmingham; The Hospital Club, London; Royal Academy of Art, London; Arcadia_Missa, London; Millennium Films, NYC; Enclave Gallery, London; Castlefield Gallery, Manchester.
Her curatorial work includes international shows and national touring exhibitions, with projects for Tate Britain and the Hayward Gallery.

This session in the gallery is open to all, free of charge, and no booking is required.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Meeting, April 2015 - JoWonder (images coming soon!)

On a bright, cold morning we gathered for the April Book Arts Collective meeting. Attendees include writers, artists and novices.  Today’s guest speaker is JoWonder, an animator, film maker and book artist.  

Jo Wonder (Jo Woodward)
Jo began by playing her award winning stop frame animation The Brooch Pin and the Sinful Clasp.

She then went on to discuss her triptychs; traditionally portable altarpiece depticting religious scences, Jo’s large canvas triptych resemble Mexican miracle paintings. Jo discussed the narrative content of her triptych – they are picture stories that are transformative and Jo has used feminist re- imaginings of fairy tales as the basis of her work.
Jo discussed a commission by the Wellcome collection to create pictures using bacteria. This microbial art included a pre-raphelite rendition of Ophelia that degraded over time, you can view further information on this on youtube, the project is entitled 6 days Goodbye poems of Ophelia.

Jo shared examples of her book art including work inspired by Bodhisattva and a new book Soup Bowl Stories.

Jo’s shared her advice/tips for completing Arts Council applications, including whether you may wish to employ an expert to help put the application together and examples from her own application.
British Women artists
This is a repository of women artists who are, comparatively, less represented in galleries and exhibitions. Artists submit their work and a few sentences about their work, there are astoundingly and wonderful array of fine art on the website, including short films. BWA welcomes book artists!

One of our members, Jaquinta,, also brought along a piece of work to show, which was housed in a small box and contained sea-side sayings on lollipop sticks!  Book Art, from an unusual angle, probably making it a book-art-object …...

The June meeting sees us very lucky indeed, when we welcome 2 talented guests, Ed Boxall, and Kim Pace.  This is the last meeting before our Summer Break, so make sure you book the  date and come along.  Watch for more detailed information to come.

Please let us know if you, or someone you know, or know of, can come and join us later in the year as a guest, as there are some spots available.  Suggestions please!  Either email Dorry, or if you belong through the Meetup Groups, send a message through there.

Would you like your work included on the Sussex book arts website?
If you would like your work uploaded then please contact Dorry direct.
Include the images and 1-2 sentences. 

Upcoming events
Takeover 2015, 9 May 2015, 47/49 Tanner Street, London

Friday, April 24, 2015

Advance Notice about our last Session before the Summer Break

We are going to have our Summer Break after our Session in June, coming back for some more lovely stuff in September. The session in June will be on Saturday morning, the 13th, as usual at Phoenix Gallery, 10.30 to 12.30 in the Green Room and as it's the last before the break, make sure you remember the date and we will be delighted to welcome you. More details will follow, although we will be having Ed Boxall and Kim Pace as our visiting artists, so look out for more on these two talented people when further details are published, both here on the Blog and on our Facebook page Put the date in your diary or on your calendar so you don't miss this opportunity. Ed has published lots of great books as well as loads more stuff including wonderful drawings, and Kim has exhibited here and abroad, has curatorial work to her credit, and is thinking about publishing a graphic novel. She is currently Acting Pathway Leader for Sculpture at Wimbledon, University of the Arts, London. These two are bound to give us an inspiring morning, don't you think?!

More News from the Book Arts ...

Next weekend sees the opening of Turn the Page, the Book Arts Fair in Norwich. Some of our members will be showing their work, and it is on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd May at The Forum, Norwich.

Saturday 25 April - Guest Artist JoWOnder

Come and join us for the next session of the Book Arts Collective. Meeting 10.30 to 12.30 at Phoenix Gallery, Brighton in the Green Room and have great pleasure in welcoming JoWOnder who will be our guest. Jo will be sharing some of her interactive book Soup Bowl Stories, and she will talk about her Best of Sail artwork currently on show in Australia. Jo will be looking at how the internet can be used for networking, and she will be telling us about the new developments with, which she founded. See more at

Monday, March 16, 2015

March Book Art with Ottilie Hainsworth and Rosie Sherwood

On 14 March 2015 Sussex Book Arts Collective had another inspirational session with two very talented guest book artists Ottilie Hainsworth and Rosie Sherwood.

Image below: Rosie Sherwood, In the Gutter (2013), project in paper, resin, and bronze, 
exploring how the comic book space is used to visualise time.

Meeting Introduction:

Dorry Smallman (Sussex Book Art Forum founder) made an announcement that the next Book Arts Collective meeting will take place on the 25th of April 2015. For those on who have joined us, these book art events will now only be advertised on the Meetup Sussex Artists, and the Meetup Creative Arts pages, so please look there for further news. 

Mariya Ustymenko spoke of the upcoming book fair opportunities, making a suggestion for Sussex Book Arts Collective regulars to exhibit collectively at the following events that are coming up in the next few months. These events include:
Alternative Takeover 2015, Saturday 9th of May (London)

In the second event of our Takeover Series, we’ll be taking over 47/49 Tanner Street with a day that champions all radical publishing – from its independent bookshops and publishers to its DIY-ers; the small press, self-publishers, and zinesters.

If you would like to participate in the joint submission for the table at the fair, please, contact Dorry or Mariya by the 20th of March.   





DIY Cultures 2015 at Rich Mix, Sunday 24th of May (London)

There will be a FREE communal table for people with one-off zines to sell at the event above. Bring your zines on the day!

Other Book Arts Events Not to Miss
Liverpool Artists Books Fair, 4th of July (Liverpool) submissions open
Turn the Page 2015, 1st and 2nd of May (Norwich) submissions closed
Sheffield International Artist's Book Prize, closing date: 31st May 2015

Also watch out for Press and Release 2016 Artist's Book exhibition submission guidelines to appear soon at

Above: Paper theatre project.

Our guest speaker Ottilie Hainsworth ( was the first to talk about her starting points, working with recycled materials, books as tactile objects, and the challenges of working very small.
Ottilie is currently running drop in drawing and book making Thursday sessions in Brighton and you can now follow the artist on Twitter.

Our next guest speaker Rosie Sherwood talked about her work, which is often photography based,and inspired by comics, as well as her experiences as an independent micropublisher (AYU Publishing) and the editor of the international zine Elbow Room, open to submission in all media.

In the Gutter - Limited First Edition of 5, Copyright 2013

The session concluded with the networking time spent perusing the wonderful work brought by our guest speakers.

We are on Facebook too -  Please 'like' us while you are there!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Great Book Art Session coming up!

Don't forget, it's our Book Art Session on Saturday morning, 14th March 2015.  It's something wonderful to do on a Saturday, and it is bound to be a stimulating session with our two guest visitors coming along to tell us all about their Book Art Work.  It begins at 10.30 am, so don't be late for this forthcoming event.  Only just over a week to go!

Our visitors are Ottilie Hainsworth ( and Rosie Sherwood (, both experienced in the book art processes and ready to wow us with a glimpse into their talented and accomplished arty worlds.  See our previous blog entry for more details, and make sure you BOOK the morning off from the usual stuff to come along and join us.  Everyone is welcome - you might just be curious, you may be good at book art work, you may be a beginner.  We will be pleased to meet you.  Just turn up at The Phoenix Gallery, Waterloo Place, Brighton ( to sit in and see what is happening, 10.30 to 12.30.

As well, we are going to have a chat about forthcoming ideas for collaborations, selling stuff, being in shows and other such delights, so ....   especially useful if you want to move forward with your booky/papery art work and be seen out there in other places on the planet.

We are on Facebook too -  Please 'like' us while you are there!

By the way, if you are a member of Meetup, look on the Creative Arts in Brighton Meetup page - we have moved to there recently.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Saturday 14th March 2015 - NEWS UPDATE

Come and join us for the next Book Arts session on 14th MARCH 2015, 10.30 to 12.30 at the usual place, Phoenix Gallery, Brighton.  (Map at and enjoy a pleasurable morning, relaxing in great company and having a chat.

We will be welcoming the accomplished Rosie Sherwood, and the talented Ottilie Hainsworth to talk to us about their work.  Recommended for a stimulating morning, and a chance to see what might influence your own work.  As well as an opportunity to network!  Here's a bit about them -

Ottilie studied illustration at Glasgow School of Art and the Royal College of Art.  She makes very limited editions of handmade books, etchings and cards.  She is really interested in finding ways of telling 'picture stories', particularly through comics or graphic novels.

Recently, she worked on "Brighton, The Graphic Novel".  She teaches a drawing group called "Come Draw With Me" at Bombane's cafĂ© in Brighton.

Her website is at

Rosie Sherwood's work is driven by storeytelling and an exploration of narrative construction.  Book Art lies at the heart of Sherwood's interdisciplinary practice, with sequence, structure and language, both visual and written, playing important roles.  It is Sherwood's intention to make art that tells stories: emotionally, conceptually and physically.

Sherwood founded AYUpublishing ( in 2012, a micro-press through which she produces her own work and publishes Elbow Room, a series of art journals and live events.  She graduated from Camberwell College of Art with an MA in Book Arts in 2013.  She has delivered papers on the comic book as book art, and her work can be found in various collections, including The Poetry Library, Tate Library and Archive, and the National Galleries of Scotland.

Everyone welcome!  All abilities, the curious, and those seeking inspiration and a reasonably good cuppa. Grab your place at 10.30 sharp.  See you there....

Monday, January 26, 2015

Latest News on the Collective's activities

Sussex Book Art Collective Meeting Saturday 17 January by Alice Lunt, Guest Blogger today

Starting from basics: our first meeting of 2015 began with a workshop led by Clare Nias, facilitator of flying books ( on a cold Saturday morning. We started slightly earlier than usual at 10.15. (Normally we meet Saturdays between 10.30 and 12.30 in the Green Room, Phoenix Studios, Brighton every 2 months. New members always welcome!)

This was the first practical workshop our Collective had organised and we started right from the beginning, learning about Concertina Books (also known as Zig-zag books). Clare showed us examples of this type of book from her collection, often small and made by her students, one fitting inside a matchbox, another even smaller one bought from a supermarket in Chinatown, London.

She showed us that from this very simple structure it was possible to elaborate in different directions: adding end boards to form covers, and how the concertina structure could evolve into dos-a-dos books (where two or more books are bound together within the concertina). There were different types of papers and card for us to experiment with during the workshop, as well as stencils and stamps. We saw how it was possible to add 3D details with foam card and how the subject matter could inform the shape of the book, for example St. Bartholomew Church, Brighton. There was also an example of a double Zig-zag book for us to look at. In this structure the pages are slit so that a second concertina can be threaded through.

Clare then took us through the practical basics: making the fold. We were each given about 12 inches of till roll paper and shown the folding sequence starting in the middle and then making a series of “valleys and mountains”. Then we were left to experiment and play.

Dorry (Smallman) showed us a book: “Magic books & Paper Toys” by Esther K.Smith, published by the fantastically named Purgatory Pie Press in New York City, a book brim full of ways to manipulate paper and card to make mind-boggling paper structures that I could happily use myself and with my daughters (who attended the meeting and by this time were having a great time collaging, folding and sticking with all the interesting scraps of paper provided.)

Dorry also introduced us to the Hougie board ( a “double sided plastic scoring board that gives you accurate measuring in centimetre and inch increments” and seems like an important tool for crafters working with card and thicker paper, “as it really helps to get a good clean fold exactly where you need it”. By this time I was deep into the activity, Paddington Bear style, so there was nothing neat or clean about my folds. But I’m sure that with time and less frantic behaviour (looking through books, finding paper/card/tools, photographing other people’s work, writing notes for the blog, keeping my girls away from the biscuits) I too would master the Hougie board and the concertina book structure. I already have an idea for a piece inspired by the concertina/Dos-a-dos structure brewing in my head as I write this blog.

Here are some images of work-in-progress created by members of the Collective:-

The workshop was followed by a talk by Vanessa Marr, a Graphic Designer, who has completed the MA in Sequential Design and Illustration at the University of Brighton and previously worked for the publishers Dorling Kindersley. She talked us through her work, her interest in sewing and fairy-tales, poetry and domesticity.

She showed us pieces that she had made during her MA, her work based around Cinderella evolving into her latest project, a series of yellow dusters with text embroidered on to them by herself and members of the public. The piece is called “Women & Domesticity: what’s your perspective?” and will be shown in a pop-up space in Eastbourne to coincide with International Women’s Day, on 28th February.

Alice Lunt is a practising interdisciplinary Artist working across Live Art and Installation boundaries using anything that fits her vision including text, image, film and objects. She studied at Brighton and Chelsea and is a keen member of the Book Art Collective, sporadically making books, sometimes to document her performances.