Title – Engram, limited edition of 15
Technique – Etching on paper hand coloured with watercolour, collagraph end papers, hand tooled book cloth cover
The concept for the piece is based on the idea that we, as individuals, impact those around us as we progress through our lives. The circular motifs and dots, some of which are coloured, larger and more prominent, represent how different people have a greater or lesser influence on our own existence as we progress through life. By meeting and sharing time with these people, they alter our perspective on the world around us, and in some cases change the very fabric of our individuality. Engram is an etched concertina book, hand finished with watercolour paint. The book has collagraph printed end papers, with a book cloth cover and hand tooled lettering. The book is part of a series of pieces exploring place and ideas around mapping both physical and emotional space. This piece depicts a memory trace, an engram, and uses processes to support its meaning such as etching and blind tooling, techniques that leave permanent marks on surfaces as experience does on individuals.
“I often consider place and its meaning to an individual in my work. Literal interpretations of the environment, representations of mapping as well as more abstract concepts about our individual finite existence and our relationship with home find their way into my pieces. Tradition, both familial and cultural, lie at the heart of my artistic practice and in many instances I am considering memory and knowledge and how this is transferred across generations.
“Using the book itself makes reference to our cultural heritage, a traditional skill that relies on methods that have remained unchanged for centuries. In such senses, the process of bookbinding has become as important as the books themselves and the concepts behind them. Recognising the beauty and skill involved in making books is just as much part of the work. It is a slow process, and requires patience, concentration and practice, but it is calming and rewarding. The hand-bound book stands out in an age where we are used to fast results and machine-made objects.
“Materials and technique also play an important role in all the pieces, and I dedicate a lot of time to experimenting with paper, paint and printmaking, pushing materials and understanding what they do. I am particularly interested in paper as a material with its fragile properties and I enjoy its sometimes unpredictable nature. Printmaking has become a large part of my practice over recent years and again I enjoy the historical relevance of this method of working and passing on of traditional skills. Many printmaking processes employed aid concept within the pieces as the permanent marks made by tools and techniques evoke ideas of retained memories and repetition of image alludes to the idea of intergenerational traditions.”