Although I make Artists books I have never, before now that is, undertaken to create an altered book. Then the opportunity to transform a 1950’s volume of Encyclopaedia Britannica presented itself earlier in the year along with a planned exhibition.
Here it is … finished … my collaboration with Artist Angela Martin for Herefordshire arts week h-Art. http://h-art.herefordshire.gov.uk/ It is part of the exhibition in the beautiful tithe barn at the Sidney Nolan Trust at The Rod just outside Prestigne. http://www.sidneynolantrustorg
We entitled our finished Volume … Seeds of Enlightenment and it was inspired by our ongoing project ‘Art Allotments’ where artists send each other envelopes of their rejected/failed art work and make new collages/art work from what they receive. See more at the blog on artists newsletter
Our exploration excavated the roots of Encyclopaedia Britannica and took a sideways look at the dissemination and dispersal of the seeds of knowledge and parallels with the seeds of creativity. First the centre pages of Volume 9 were dug out. This created a space to display a collection of seed packets we made from the extracted paper. We created our own thistle logo and an Art Allotment brand of Prescott & Martin seeds. Each packet contains thistle and paper seeds made from the cut away pages. The resulting varieties are named with reference to Scottish enlightenment philosophers and scientists influential at the time of the founding of the first Encyclopaedia Britannica in Edinburgh in 1768.
In the display the encyclopaedia is in a box or ‘propagator’. This box relates both to providing the right growing environment and to the boxes that transported the original Encyclopaedias. We added compost and materials to ensure the (seeds of) knowledge in Encyclopaedia Britannia would have good conditions to grow, spread, adapt, hibernate, germinate, regenerate or even to ferment. Throughout we recognised the importance of “weed seeds ” that grow along the margins through dispersal and diasporas and, importantly, can survive hostile environments.
Here is the work in progress at an earlier stage.
After Herefordshire Arts Week the exhibition will travel on to Bristol and later Manchester but details have yet to be confirmed. You can view the other volumes n the exhibition at (http://www.flickr.com/photos/encyclopdia-britannica-challenge/)