Taking part in my postcard exchange with Stephen MacInnis the other week really reminded me how much I love to make work by hand, away from a screen. There are many things that I enjoy about working digitally – lack of mess, and the ability to undo mistakes are two big bonuses! But there is something so real and immediate about working with your hands, and I am always very happy to be drawn back.
I was lucky enough to be given a whole collection of books recently that belonged to my Gran and Grandad. Some feel special, and nice to remember, and I have kept them safely. Others are old and disintegrated and not really of use now as actual books, but I really wanted to do something with them. I felt that the elements of them would work fantastically in collage work. The print for a start is so beautiful, and the pages have aged in a wonderful way that imbues something earthy and real to the printed words. I love the connection to their owners that I feel with these books too, it makes me want to slow down and make something carefully that honours them as precious possessions.
As always, scanning these takes something away from them, but I thought I’d show you something of the work I am making. Here is one that I finished today..
I was thrilled this morning to receive this beautiful handmade postcard from visual artist Stephen MacInnis.
A few weeks ago we agreed on an exchange, and now we both have a little piece of each others artwork in our homes!
I’ve been a huge fan of Stephen’s work since finding his blog here on WordPress, so it was a real joy to do this swap with him.
This is the one that I sent in exchange – I wanted to make something handmade, and had great fun with this, both in the making and in the wrapping up, knowing that it was going on a long journey!
(clicking on the image should bring up a clearer one)
Stephen’s card was wrapped and folded, making it really intriguing to open..
It opened out to a great design and little handwritten note inside. I love to see handwriting!
And on the other side – this!!
It is oh so beautiful and full of life, and has all the elements of movement, colour, precision and energy that I really admire in Stephen’s work. I can’t stop smiling to look at it, and I will treasure it.
If you haven’t already, visit Stephen’s fantastic blog Painter’s Progress. You can read his post on receiving my card here.
I highly recommend exchanging work in this way – whether it is a piece of art, writing, or a photograph, it’s great to make something in this spirit. It’s also rare to receive something interesting through the post these days! You just can’t beat the real thing.
A collage made from some of the parts in the last post, and a few other pieces. It looks a bit better printed out, in matte – something of it is lost on screen here – but you’ll have to take my word for that..!
Just thought I’d post up a few of my papercuts, to brighten things up here a little! I wouldn’t exactly say that they are the best work I have ever created, but I love to make these little pictures. They take a very long time but that’s kind of what I like about making them. They sit on my desk, gradually evolving day by day, cut by cut. It’s incredibly therapeutic!
These were all made as gifts for friends and family.
The last one is one I made for my friends wedding. It is the first one I ever did, so it’s a little scratchy and bent around the edges, and part of James’ name fell off…! But I sort of like it for its slightly rubbish-ness. I’ve since found much better paper to work with, this was made using a fine card – I didn’t realised quite how difficult I was making things for myself using it..! (I patched up the name before I gave it to them, and nobody noticed 🙂 )