It’s not often I find the time to create a new piece of work for a show, or in fact get the offer, as most people know at the moment I’m in the final months, well year, of PhD land, writing up…getting words down…chapters writing…a thesis in progress. So when an opportunity does arise and I think I can make it happen, I do…and it is actually a well-needed escape. It also makes me realise what I can and will get back to creating after this PhD is finished…ummmmmm when’s that again?
The opportunity was to work with the UK artists’ book collective AMBruno who I was introduced to through a Shanghai friend (thank you Francesca!). They had a proposal accepted for ’16’, the chosen thematic for the 2013 PAGES|Leeds International Artist Book Fair, that took place last weekend in the renowned Parkinson Building of the University of Leeds. I’ve attended this fair a few times both as a participant with a stand, and as a visitor, and I know it has a good long-standing reputation in the book arts scene. There were so many familiar faces there when I went on Friday…great to meet the AMBruno team and catch up with this circle of people as I’ve obviously been away in China so out of the loop.
So at the end of last year, I submitted my proposal to Sophie Loss from AMBruno for ‘Lovecut’ (2013), as shown below. ’Lovecut’ (2013) is an edition of eight books that presents 16 chapters of short(-lived) stories, 16 snippets of dialogues from 16 past encounters, past relationships, past loves of the book’s creator, me, from 1999 to 2012. The book pages are constructed from “conceptually embedded” handmade paper that has been pulped down and reformed from 1980s romance novels, in line with my year of birth. On these pages are word and text extracts taken from the original romance books that have been selected, re-appropriated and now placed in a different context to create new narratives, new short(-lived) ‘Lovecut’ stories for an intimate read…and it really is, as these are all true stories…my real life happenings. Another insight into Rachel’s personal history and I’m brutally honest here. I strangely and non-intentionally made this book on Valentine’s Day. Cathartic you might say? Serendipitous? I dunno…it made me realise what I’ve done in my life, bringing back smiles of contentment and laugh out loud memories, alongside bittersweet thoughts and flickers of turmoil. That’s love right? I wouldn’t be the person I am today without growing from these experiences, whether they’ve been good or bad. I wonder if the boys, those that have been part of my history, can work out which Chapter they are? I’ve only just realised that potential situation might occur. I haven’t stated all the chapter divisions by the way so the stories are somewhat intermingled.
I did intend to make all 8 of these books to be on show at Leeds, but I only ended up making one on the proviso that if it sold, or got interest, I would make the other 7 as soon as I could. I’m not sure what the feedback was from the show at the weekend, so we’ll see what happens. There’s talk of the books on show at the Bristol Artists Book Event (BABE) 2013 at the Arnolfini in Bristol, which is happening in April. It would be great if it could tour a little before it comes back home…unless it finds a new home to be “loved” in. What are your ‘Lovecut’ stories?