Thursday, 11 March 2021

Out of the Cupboard - Artists' books from artists' studios

"Hone" by Beth Serjeant, "Out of the Cupboard"


 Out of the Cupboard was a curated exhibition of artists books displayed in the Angela Morton Room | Te Pātaka Toi Art Library, within Takapuna Library, Auckland, NZ, 26th Sept - 24 Dec 2020. The exhibition was curated by artist Toni Mosley and myself in collaboration with Leanne Radojkovich, the  research librarian at the Angela Morton Room. 

You can read an earlier blog post about the exhibition here.


Artists' books from Out of the Cupboard.



To view many other photographs documenting the exhibition 

and many of the stories behind the books  

visit @outofthecupboard on Instagram 



To learn more about the Angela Morton Room visit

Angela Morton Room, Te Pātaka Toi Art Library.

It was my intention that I would create a full catalogue of all of the works, to document the show for future online viewing. This, however, never quite happened with just a few too many things on my "plate". Instead, here is a record of the artists' books that were taken from artists' studios for the exhibition.  The artists whose works are shown here includes: Beth Serjeant, Elizabeth Steiner, Celia Walker, Toni Mosley & Toni Hartill. The statements provided are generally written by each artist or are a compilation, written by the curators.




Scroll down to view images and statements for each of the books. 
Clicking on any image will open it in a larger format on your screen.
In this blog I will also share some images from the very successful 
hands-on event we held called "Opening the Cupboards".

The Exhibition Statement

A selection of artist books, from the Angela Morton Room | Te Pātaka Toi Art Library and contemporary Tamaki Makaurau artists, has been gathered from out of library cupboards and artists’ studios to share with and inspire a wider audience. These seldom seen treasures offer a glimpse into the sculptural possibilities of artists’ books – “books” made by artists, challenging the very concept of what a “book” can be. We often think of books fondly as something you enjoy on holiday at the beach. This exhibition aims to open your mind to just some of the possibilities.

From artists’ studios by:  Beth Serjeant, Elizabeth Steiner, Celia Walker, Toni Mosley, Toni Hartill.

From the special collection by: John Denny, Brian Gregory, Judith Haswell, Bronwyn Lloyd of Pania Press, Glenna Matcham, Colin McCahon, Judith O’Rourke, Elizabeth (Beth) Serjeant, Sydney Shep, Paul Thompson, Claire Van Vliet.



 Books from Artists' Studios

Beth Serjeant


Handset poem with box   

Poem by Beth's son Andrew

A/P of Edition of 25

"Foundation" by Beth Serjeant

"Foundation" by Beth Serjeant

"Foundation" by Beth Serjeant

"Foundation" by Beth Serjeant

This book was inspired by ArtStation, now known as Studio One Toi Tū, where Beth has been a tutor for many years. The box contains pieces of the old kiln from Studio One Toi Tū, the bars reference it's former life as a police station with holding cells, and the size and shape of the box references the bricks of the building.



We all stand on each other's shoulders

This is how we learn

the potential of our hands

Weighing each influence

only through inspiration

can we offer our true selves

With this in mind

I place my first brick

Opening my mind’s eye

I gain the horizon


Cork box, pingao flax, flax paper, cast bronze pebble




"Hone" by Beth Serjeant



Poem by Beth Serjeant, written for Hone Tuwhare. Beth was standing in line at a book launch waiting to have her copy signed by Hone when she suddenly felt she needed to have a gift for him. She searched her pockets and found a stone from Piha beach. By the time she got to the front of the queue the stone had been warmed in her pocket. Hone commented on how cold her hands were. He held her hand and placed it in his armpit to warm it. This was the beginning of their long friendship.


Sharing stones

with you, Hone

A warm gift

From an icy hand

Shyly offered


The heat

Of your armpit

Your heart.

Elizabeth Steiner


Flax Mill Wheel

Handmade Ginger Paper, Coptic Binding




"Flax Mill Wheel" by Elizabeth Steiner

"Flax Mill Wheel by Elizabeth Steiner

"Flax Mill Wheel" by Elizabeth Steiner

Steiner’s Flax Mill Wheel closes up into a space as small as a ring box. Both box and book are handmade - beginning with the ginger paper that forms the wheel, to the Coptic stitching that binds it. Steiner didn’t want to cut the paper as that would leave a sharp edge. She used the sheets straight from the frame, which was about A4 in size, then divided the paper down the centre and twice across - creating little rectangles which she folded into squares. Steiner used lightweight card for the box, which she made with no opening - and then cut around it so that the top and bottom matched up perfectly.

Full Circle

48pt Gill Bold condensed type printed on Adana press, 

linocuts, cardboard relief prints and collage.

Edition of 10

"Full Circle" by Elizabeth Steiner

"Full Circle" by Elizabeth Steiner

"Full Circle" by Elizabeth Steiner

A non-adhesive binding that allows each folio to rotate around the tubular spine creating a book without end. Using numbers and words in English and Maori plus Roman and Binary numerals one to ten, printed on Tsasho handmade paper, New Zealand flax handmade paper, mingishi-red, bugra-black and elephant hide paper. Sewn with DMC cotton pearl thread. Housed in a slipcase.

Plastic Bag Book

Plastic Bags


"Plastic Bag Book" by Elizabeth Steiner

"Plastic Bag Book" by Elizabeth Steiner

Elizabeth Steiner collected shopping bags when travelling overseas but once home, they took up a lot of room so she made books out of them. "Shop assistants would ask ‘Do you want it in a bag?’ and I reply ‘What’s your bag like?’,” she said recently. “I don’t want it if it doesn’t have a symbol or writing. And sometimes I would buy something just to get the bag.”

 This book contains contributions from our own Pumpkin Patch to the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. It’s soft and squishy to touch, and finished with a buttoned cover that has the letters SH on one side and OP on the other. Steiner likes how overlaying one colour over another changes both completely.

Celia Walker


Unbound book

Solar plate etching and digital print 



"Footfall" by Celia Walker





Solar plate etching and collage


"Walk" by Celia Walker

"Walk" by Celia Walker

These two works are an assemblage of collected surfaces, paths and markings, a diary of walks undertaken here and elsewhere. I find engaging more fully with surroundings, paying attention to where I am going and the surface underfoot helps make walking more than just a mode of transport, the physical process is a way of experiencing urban spaces.

Anxious walks

A pandemic zine

A zine collated from prints, photographs and snippets of overheard 

conversations around the time of the first Covid lockdown.

"Anxious Walks" by Celia Walker

"Anxious Walks" by Celia Walker

"Anxious Walks" by Celia Walker

Toni Mosley

Just a simple walk through the hills

Dyed paper, Screenprint, thread

Variable Edition of 5


"Just a Simple Walk Through the Hills" by Toni Mosley

"Just a Simple Walk Through the Hills" by Toni Mosley

This piece stems from my series of combining thread and my book constructions. I love how the thread creates content and focus while not taking away from the very subtle printed pages.  The colours and textures are to recreate the landscape in an almost map like image.


Screenprint on paper with watercolour, acrylic paint and 

coloured pencil inside an accordion fold book (approx 40m in length)


"Assortment" by Toni Mosley

"Assortment" by Toni Mosley

"Assortment" by Toni Mosley


This book was made in conjunction with the exhibition ‘Awkward Land’. The piece is a critique of the creation of the Super City and is about how at the beginning they celebrated the rich diversity of the population and then slowly we all became just grey outlines of the masses.


Toni Hartill



Butter Book – A Buttery Demise

Linocut, collagraph, digital



"Butter Book" by Toni Hartill



"Butter Book" by Toni Hartill



The timber of the Kahikatea was found to be perfect for transporting butter and cheese by refrigerated ship to the UK. The soft, pale, odourless timber did not taint the dairy products on their long journey. The Kahikatea forests were reduced by 63% in the peak period of 1909 – 1917 due to the flurry of activity to export NZ’s dairy products.

In 1913 a Royal Commission was asked to decide how the areas of New Zealand “still under standing forest” should be dealt with. The response in regards to the Kahikatea swamps was clear, and this quote is included within the butter book:

‘As is well known the soil of the white-pine swamps, when drained and the trees removed, forms one of the richest of agricultural land, which when grassed, is extremely useful for dairy farms… Since no land is more suitable for occupation than that of the white-pine swamps, when drained… their value in this regard is a strong plea in favour of the removal of the trees forthwith.’


You can view earlier posts of this book, including "the making of" here.




Imagined Journeys through lost landscapes I, II

Watercolour accordion books within origami boxes



"Imagined Journeys..." by Toni Hartill



"Imagined Journeys..." by Toni Hartill




Imaginary journeys through the lost landscapes that once were the swamps of the Hauraki Plains. It is estimated that more than 98% of pre-European Kahikatea has been lost nationwide and now only occurs as forest fragments. Since researching our nation’s history regarding the demise of our pre-European landscapes I feel bereft for all we have lost and I fear for what we continue to lose.

The boxes are printed with excerpts from the newspaper cutting Le Baigneau, “Where the Village Slew the Forest”, NZ Herald, 24 April 1937.


 You can view earlier posts of this book, including "the making of" here.





Field Notes: Manawa

Drypoint, collagraph, watercolour

Edition of 3


"Field Notes" by Toni Hartill


"Field Notes" by Toni Hartill


Drawn by the appeal of a weathered and much handled book, that collects information over time and becomes a treasured artifact in itself, these books were inspired by my grandfather’s surveying logbooks, kept over many years. They are made entirely out of printed paper textures to imitate weathered surfaces such as the linen lining, the leather cover and the stitched label. Of course every field trip needs some tools of the trade hence the pocket of pretend treasures. I have always been interested in recreating something to look like the real thing, yet it is all make-believe – I call it my fakery-makery.


 You can view earlier posts of this book, including "the making of" here.








"Opening the Cupboards"



This was an opportunity to view the artists’ books outside of the display cupboards, being handled and manipulated, the way they are meant to be fully appreciated.  


From "The Wai-te-Ata Companion to Poetry"



To read the poem by Anne French, in this piece from the Wai-te-Ata Companion to Poetry, the tube has to be constantly turned, revealing the poem gradually.



Potsherds and Geraniums by Judy Haswell.



Being able to delve into the pages of the books meant that some of the hidden treats were revealed, such as the tiny silver fish in Potsherds and Geraniums by Judy Haswell.  


Potsherds and Geraniums by Judy Haswell.


It was also a chance to meet some of the artists involved, to hear the stories behind the making of the books and how they were made.

Bronwyn Lloyd (left) speaks to visitors about her book
First Fall,which is in the special collection.

It was also an opportunity to talk to the research librarian, 

Leanne Radojkovich, about the books from the special collection. 


 Leanne Radojkovich shares The Silences Between,
from the special collection, with a visitor.

We had no idea what to expect of the event nor how many people, if any, would turn up. We just planned on winging it as to how we would present the books to visitors depending on what they might be interested in.


Toni Mosley explains the inspiration for her
large book "Assortment


Leanne Radojkovich describes the way in which Beth Serjeant's
book "Black", from the special collection, was originally exhibited
in multiples as a flock of birds in flight


As it turned out, we had a steady stream of people dropping in from start to finish. People arrived in small groups or individually so we were able to enjoy the chance to tailor a guided tour specifically to their interests.




Beth Serjeant recites her son's poem from her book "Foundation."



 All in all, this was a fun and informative event which had lots of really positive feedback from all. It was a delight to be able to share our love for these special artworks with, in many cases, a new audience.

Out of the Cupboard was exhibited for just over 3 months in the Angela Morton Room | Te Pātaka Toi Art Library, and attracted an audience keen to view and learn more about both artists' books as a medium and some of the many treasures of the special collection. Toni Mosley and I look forward to sharing our plans for future collaborations with Leanne Radojkovich.

Thanks for visiting!