Monday, 12 November 2018

Artists Books - Field Notes of an Imaginary Botanist

"Field Notes - Manawa, NZ Mangrove" by Toni Hartill

Last month I began working on ideas 
for a number of projects scheduled for next year. 

Rather than working on distinctively different work 
for each I allowed ideas for one project to generate and feed ideas 
for another and so before I knew it I was having 
an inspiration explosion! 

Which means, believe it or not, 
a VERY chaotic and messy studio. 
But oh so productive. 


There were buckets of plant specimens and make-shift flower presses in action; sheets of paper were shredded into all manner of shapes and sizes and lengths of fabric were printed and singed on an open-flame (hmmm that fabric is quite flammable btw!). Collographs, drypoints, linocuts, monoprinting. Gessoing, watercolours, gluing, stitching, cutting, tearing.... it was all happening... all at once... in every direction... on every available surface... so, inevitably... I kept going off on a tangent. 

So, I decided to follow my muse and complete one of these tangents: 
an edition of wee "sketchbooks" or "field notes" of manawa/ NZ mangroves... for my imaginary botanist friend/self.

I have a real soft spot for mangroves. I love everything about them. 
I often pick up the pods and take them home to draw and so I have a journal with multiple images I could readily refer back to. 


For some time I've had the idea of creating fake or imaginary "field notes", 
inspired by the many old survey logbooks of my maternal grandfather's, 
so this was a perfect chance to explore this further.

Logbooks of my grandfather AH Pickmere.

I created a series of drypoints which I then hand-coloured. I have only once before created an EDITION of any of my artist books so this felt a little like I was turning a brief spark of inspiration into a waaaay bigger project. And, it wasn't even for any of the many deadlines I have planned for next year - go figure.

Hand-colouring the drypoint images.

Testing ideas for structure and layout.

Adding some distressing and weathering for fake authenticity.

Printing the "fabric" lining for the notebooks.

Folding the structures into shape.

Loving the colours and textures of the "old linen" linings.

The outside surface was printed to look like old leather.

and then I decided I/my imaginary botanist chum would need a pocket for some sketching supplies and somewhere to keep the odd "treasure" I/they would inevitably collect so....

A wee pocket of supplies and collected treasures.

Choosing and attaching the ties to hold the notebooks closed.

Little "stitched" labels for each book.
(Spoiler: no stitching was actually done - its ALL faked!)

The completed books - each one slightly different.

"Field Notes - Manawa, NZ Mangrove" by Toni Hartill
"Field Notes - Manawa, NZ Mangrove" by Toni Hartill

"Field Notes - Manawa, NZ Mangrove" by Toni Hartill

"Field Notes - Manawa, NZ Mangrove" by Toni Hartill

"Field Notes - Manawa, NZ Mangrove" by Toni Hartill

"Field Notes - Manawa, NZ Mangrove" by Toni Hartill

"Field Notes - Manawa, NZ Mangrove" by Toni Hartill

...and finally a wee flyover....

Although I don't have a specific event in mind at which to exhibit these 
I am beginning to accumulate quite a collection of mangrove related works so... 
watch this space.

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