Setting up the exhibition at Oxford Brookes

On friday we delivered a small exhibition of the Library of Lost Books to Oxford Brookes University. A big thank you to Ruth Millar at Oxford Brookes for inviting us to share the books with students, staff and visitors.

The exhibition runs Monday to Friday 9 to 4pm from 17th to 28th March.

The curator unpacking the books carefully wrapped in heaps of bubble wrap and paper
image copyright Jessica Glaser 2014

Laying out Natalie McGrorty and Clare Whistler's books
image copyright Jessica Glaser 2014

Christine Finn's WWI reliquary and Laura McGraw's Arts and Crafts of Old Japan which is strewn with dried cherry blossoms.
image copyright Jessica Glaser 2014

 Oxford Brookes Alumnus Ruth Shaw-Williams' exquisite piece inspired by Emile Zola's Nana
image copyright Jessica Glaser 2014

Les Bicknell's homage to poet Gerard Manly Hopkins.
image copyright Jessica Glaser 2014

Library of Lost Books at Oxford Brookes

We are setting up the Library of Lost books mini-exhibition in the Richard Hamilton building at Oxford Brookes University tomorrow. Below is a list of the artists who will be on exhibition in Oxford:

Kyra Clegg
image copyright David Knight 2013
Lorna Jewitt
image copyright David Knight 2013
Natalie McGroroty
image copyright David Knight 2013
Freya Pocklington
image copyright David Knight 2013
Ian Pyper
image copyright David Knight 2013
Sarah Taylor Silverwood
image copyright David Knight 2013

Ruth Shaw-Williams
image copyright David Knight 2013
Clare Whistler
image copyright David Knight 2013

The Lost Books come to Oxford

A selection of our beautiful rescued and re-made books are travelling to Oxford at the end of this week for a two week mini exhibition at Oxford Brookes University, including the stunning mini-theatre and artists' book made by Brookes Alumnus Ruth Shaw-Williams.

Nana by Ruth Shaw-Williams - image copyright David Knight

Nana by Ruth Shaw-Williams - image copyright David Knight

The exhibition is open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm Admission Free


Cath Fairgrieve, lecturer at Coleg Sir Gar, was one of fifty UK artists selected to re-work a book for The Library of Lost Books. She received a letterpress catalogue of a 19th century gentleman’s collection of proverbs, which she combined with images of a contemporary collection of ‘stuff’ belonging to her partner Andrew Griffiths.

Griffiths’ wunderkammer is on display in a new exhibition along with a selection of altered books from the Library of Lost Books. These are accompanied by a selection of Coleg Sir Gar BA2 Painting students enamel concertina books, and by artworks made by lecturers whose work is influenced by the nature of collecting, hoarding and reconfiguring found objects.

Referencing conventions of museum display, Catherine Roche’s collection of porcelain teacups offers subjective stories rather than objective fact. Her mixed media ‘object’ drawings reiterate this sense of narrative fluidity as traces of artefacts emerge and recede.

The tradition of Victorian Welsh ceramics informs the motifs on Pete Bodenham’s contemporary plate and badge ephemera. Badges themselves have inspired paintings by BA3 student Tony Hicks, whilst real coins serve as the material for Robert Harding’s wall hung sculptures.

Original postcards similarly provide a substrate for drawings by Catrin Webster, and a lump of industrial slag, a waste product from the Welsh steel industry, is inspiration for an investigative and on-going series of ‘painterly portraits’ by Peter Spriggs. Carol Gwizdak collects natural detritus to transform ordinary materials into extraordinary pieces of art-jewellery that make visible the overlooked and thereby challenge and inform ideas of preciousness.

A similar theme is echoed in the plant label installation by BA2 painting students, created as a response to the collection of plant medicines at the Apothercaries’ Hall in the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Discarded objects also provide forms for casting into alternative materials through the work of Andrew Griffiths, Robert Harding and Cath Fairgrieve.

Robert Harding melts coins to create a metaphor about our financial climate and Griffiths uses disposable objects of no value such as plastic toys or a stale roll to create reliquaries that are both contemplative and humorous.

 Cath Fairgrieve’s cast-iron first-aid-kit represents part of her own e-bay collection of Welsh mining memorabilia, providing a source material for political commentary. Beate Gegenwart’s artists books are inspired by Walter Benjamin’s ‘Arcades Project’ which is itself a vast and meticulous collection of notes, images, quotes and citations. This information provides Gegenwart with endlessly differing configurations of imagery and text that crisscross throughout the paper pages to create 3D objects that are enhanced by laser cut forms.

 Osi Osmond’s sketchbooks demonstrate how artists amass and collate their own images such as his sunsets on Carmarthen Bay painted from the same bench every day throughout a year (come rain or shine!), and collections of places and people seen on journeys to Israel, Sudan and Amsterdam.

Ciara Healey and Tijibbe Hooghiemstra similarly use the book format to document, contain and extend their breadth of practice by publishing editions to communicate to a wider audience through an affordable means.

 This show is intended to inspire students to consider what they collect and how the process of collecting might direct their artistic practice with infinite diversity. It also illustrates the commitment of lecturers to develop their own work alongside teaching as a pedagogical means to share and communicate ideas, processes and techniques.

Happy Yule!

The Library of Lost Books is closed for the holidays, 
but we will be back in the New Year with some very exciting news! 
We hope you have a great holiday.

Workshops and performance!

Elizabeth Willow joined us last week with her Library of Lost Books 1886 copy of Nuttall's English Dictionary. She letterpress printed words from the dictionary onto reams of small cards and invited visitors to take a card and get a definition from the dictionary.

The space soon got very busy with folks crowding round Elizabeth to take a word or hear a definition read from the 127 year old dictionary.

It was wonderful listening to people try to guess the meaning of their word and to share and talk about the words with each other.

Christina Mitrentse at The Library

Christina Mitrentse's beautiful book on display at The Library of Lost Books in Library of Birmingham.
Christina visited us on the 14th of November and led a wonderful and challenging workshop exploring folded book sculpture.