Category Archives: inspiration

print it

print it.


Coracle Press 1989-2012 exhibition
COPY in residence
Pop-up Artist Bookshop

Inspired by the pioneering work of Coracle Press, who for over 35 years have collaborated with artists and poets from Kurt Schwitters to Richard Tuttle to expand the creative possibilities of publishing, Site Gallery presents print it. Drawing its title from Charles Olson’s call to DIY action, print it is an exhibition, workshop series, residency space for artist collective COPY and pop-up international bookshop with experimental publishers world-wide.

Coracle Press 1989 – 2012 has been organised by Coracle as part of the touring exhibition Printed in Norfolk.

Further information on events and public programme will be posted on the Site Gallery website soon. Click for further information on COPY



Last night Ffotogallery was the site for ‘TANT 0.1’ – the most recent issue of the dialogical experiment that is TANT.

Rowena Finlayson, co-founder and co-editor, introduced the project in a discussion about self-publishing with Ffotogallery’s FORUM group. She describes TANT as a strongly collaborative process, without an “authoritative editorial stance”, and interestingly something that encourages promiscuity. She sees the project as an “intersection of recorded document and lifestyle” that engages with “reading as a mode of production”. TANT currently exists in physical form as ‘Issue 0’ – 300 A4-size stapled bookets, distributed locally and further afield by a mostly organic distribution process of exchange and chance encounter. But literal exchanges of ideas and active discussion are a crucial part of what TANT is.

Issue 0 begins and ends by asking me a series of simple questions. “Fight or flight?” and “Do you have an ulterior motive?” are examples. The questions are mostly posed in English with a sprinkling of Welsh, Dutch, German, Italian and Japanese. The answer spaces are left blank, inviting the viewer/reader/participant to pen their own replies. Even if some questions are in a language they don’t understand, they can make a wild guess at the meaning or less imaginatively, resort to Google Translate (as I did). I’d even suggest that the reader must participate, must write on the pages, in order to find their own meaning. This is not a publication to step back from and observe at a safe and respectful distance. It requires working with the text and writing on it, mixing your thoughts with its thoughts.

On opening up the zine, I find the questions from the cover are repeated, only this time TANT answers the questions. Intriguingly I discover that TANT itself is a reader and participant in its own dialogical space. And I find the answers – and the questions – actually tell me very little about TANT (or myself). But they open up lines of enquiry, set seed ideas, propose both familiar and curious diametric pairings. One question, ‘Spring or Autumn?’ isn’t really the same as asking ‘Summer or Winter?’. Autumn and Spring, even as accepted concepts, are the in-between stages, neither here nor there, unfixed. Meanwhile, the question ‘Are you in the queue?’ had me automatically stepping away from the conventions of said queue, then hopping back in to avoid being a cliché non-conformist, then hopping back out because, after all, I don’t like waiting in queues. The answers that I write are personal, subjective and always changing. I also doubt any two TANT readers will have matching answers.

Following the questions are the four contributions to this first TANT. Charlotte Greig’s poetic account of waiting for a ferry predictably sent me running to my own memories of waiting for a ferry, of crab sandwiches on piers at dusk, of craning eyes for land in choppy seas, of Alan Warner’s ‘demented land’ and to thoughts of future journeys I might take and future periods of waiting I might share. The photographs that accompany the piece are appropriately ambiguous. Meanwhile Hayley Davies’s ‘conversation with Kay Walkowiak’ is minute but perfectly formed. The minimalist and formal arrangement of trousers and sentences make for a palette cleansing interlude, while thought-provoking at the same time. Sally Brown’s ‘wordless sea shanty’ presents a scrawled musical score and four options of how the reader might want to engage with it. As my musical ability begins and ends with pressing ‘Play’, I was happy to find that the fourth option is ‘do what you want (sea based)’, although I hope that someone, somewhere, began to hum. Giulia Cavaliere writes the closing article, which I read as an emphatic love letter to Milan, the analysis of a personal relationship to something she calls ‘a place-of-all’, accompanied by beautiful photographs.

I kept returning to one of the questions on the first page, ‘Sprinkle or Scatter?’. It seems to provide a way to map the process of TANT. A quick web search helped me explicate the terms. A farmer scatters seed over his field. Then he sprinkles each seedling with water. TANT scatters ideas through a (potentially shape-shifting) physical form distributed over a geographical area. But a simultaneous focus on engaging and creating dialogue will nurture TANT so that it becomes more than the publication of interesting ideas. Instead it forms a rhizomatic network of thinkers and participators in the production of ideas. Yes, I might have taken that metaphor too far, but hey, maybe that was the point.

Tomorrow TANT 0.2 will take place at Ffotogallery’s Book Arts Fayre 6. Come and participate in what is becoming a very interesting discussion!

Inspiration (Part One)

Here are some odds and ends from old books to inspire some new book artists! It’s funny to see how the traditional or conservative designs of one era look bright and audacious to another, not to mention how novels looked in a time before it was so easy to put a photograph or painting on a cover.


self-publisher’s question time

This article from Time magazine provokes some interesting questions about zines and self-publishing in an age of globalization. Give it a read and see if you’re convinced that creating physical artefacts in a literary world currently enamoured with internet publishing is in line with, or a betrayal of the counter-cultural roots of the zine.

When does an ethical stance become snobbery? Are there any “wrong” reasons to make a zine?

Would you be turned off a publication because of its high or low production values?

Do you find zines therapeutic to read or create? What makes unedited, unmediated media so appealing to people more accustomed to the opposite?

highlights from the world of 80’s teen annuals

(With thanks to Ariane Parry for these little gems)

A Novel Approach?

Visual Editions are a London-based publisher specializing in “writing that uses visual elements as an integral part of the writing itself” and fresh, original ways to bring together visual and literary arts. The striking aesthetics of these editions aren’t just for decoration, they’re designed to impact upon the experience of reading.

Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes is a new story cut from the pre-existing novel The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz. Below is a video showing the printing and cutting of the books:

Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer: Making Of from Visual Editions on Vimeo.

There’s also an edition of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy that rejects the idea that a conventional printing does justice to the aggressively nonlinear classic. Opting instead for irregular page layouts, doodles and diagrams, and flashes of neon orange ink; this is a reassertion of the novel as a physical artefact that stands out all the more in the current climate of Kindles, iPads and other e-readers.


During June, July and August, Arnolfini’s bookshop will be showcasing a selection of work from external artists and designers using the facilities and technical expertise on offer at the University of the West of England’s, Centre for Fine Print Research, and Arnolfini’s self-published, bi-annual journal, Concept Store.

Focusing on the close relationship between technology, ideas and making, in the arts and crafts, the CFPR is committed to the dissemination of its research – through education, training, exhibitions, conferences, collaborative projects and publication.

The centre allows access to some of its facilities to professional practitioners for the production of art and design works and the focus of the showcase features a small selection of projects produced by external artists working with the laser cutting, rapid prototyping and enamelling studios.

While Concept Store reflects upon ideas explored within Arnolfini’s artistic programme and future research projects, it is intended to be a critical platform in its own right, operating as a discursive space for commissioned texts, artists’ contributions, interviews and other experimental forms.

Issue 3, Art, Activism and Recuperation will be launched in June and will be available along with issues 1 and 2 from Arnolfini bookshop.

Arnolfini Bookshop opening hours

Tue 11am – 6pm / Wed – Sat 11am – 8pm
Sun 11am – 7pm