Thursday, 24 February 2011

A Day of Books in Bristol

Seeing as my assessment for one of my modules is mind-numbingly not going well, I think a post is due – it could be called ‘constructive procrastination’.

On Tuesday my fellow bibliofreak Moonstruck and I went to UWE to see an exhibition of Artist’s Books. When we eventually found the university bus and failed to pretend to be UWE students, we capered down the corridors of the Bower Ashton Campus – stylishly arty. We delighted at the signs on the doors – they said things like ‘Print Room’ and ‘Print Room Manager’ on them. We eventually wrestled our way into the library and the very nice man at the desk showed us where the artist’s books were displayed.

Unfortunately the artist’s books were backhanded into empty shelf spaces in the centre of the library near the photocopiers and in the silent study room. I say the books were worth a whole exhibition space!

The first artist book to clamour into view was a display box of a big book of nature, and sprouting from it a branch, with hundreds of individually cut out shapes of beetles swarming over it. I dread to think how long this took!


Then there were slick display cases around the walls that held many delightful little books. Here are a few.

Norway Knits

There seemed to be a lot of city themed books, and I particularly liked this one, very clever idea!

On the windowsill there were some more, and it was a delight to handle them all, especially this really old-looking one, which of course I absolutely loved. A lot of these books had been adpated from old books.


This has got to be my absoloute favourite artits book of the exhibiton - made from A Room of One's Own and Agnes Grey, this actually left us gobsmacked. 

That's right....knitted books! The most genius idea in the history of life!

The only thing about this exhibition....I kinda wish there was somebody there to guide us through it, and I wish we could have spoken to the artist who knitted the books. Simply amazing!

After the exhibition we made our way into the city centre. I’ve never been to Bristol before so the whole concept was quite exciting. I’m not sure hoe I feel about the city. There’s lots of really nice old looking buildings, great bombed out churches (which we took lots of pictures of!) and little streets that would be a delight to explore. I suppose I’m pretty biased nowadays from living in Bath. Nothing’s compared to it so far!

On our hunt for a bookshop we walked down a small ally and encountered one of those shops that have a small exhibition space for local artists. I love discovering exhibitions, it’s great fun!  The guy exhibiting that day, Tim Ulewicz, has an amazing drawing skill and draws, among other things, a lot of mice. We really had a good chat about his work and his collaborations and it was all rather fabulous. I loved loved loved the mouse drawings! Check out his website!


The shop the exhibition was attached to was called SHOP and it’s a delightful vintage-arts venue. Moonstruck bought a hat which she loves! I was tempted by the vintage postcards and fluorescent knits.

After being directed to Waterstone’s we asked for directions to a second-hand bookstore. The guy is Waterstone’s was particularly friendly and directed us to ‘Beware of the Leopard’ – a fantastically sprawling book store. There were hundreds of books in the corridor linking the two ‘shops’ that for just a pound. I brought a book of Old English language, it’s from the 1930s, and obviously an old text book, as there are about five different streams of handwriting and doodles throughout. Gorgeously old language, Moonstruck and I had great fun trying to translate it on the train home.

I’m also afraid to say I spent £15 on a book about bookbinding. Oh dear. And I didn't buy this book but I thought the cover was pretty amazing.

Overall it was a pretty incredible arty day in Bristol, I would to spend hours and hours at Beware of the Leopard.

Book arts is a fascinating subject but I feel I want to go more towards the history of the book, though it would be amazing to learn how to do all of these things.

A Book a Week update: I'm afraid to say that it took me two weeks to read The Satanic Verses, mainly because I didn't like it, although I loved the section 'Ayesha'. I'll probably review it at some point.

Currently Reading: Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day. I love, love, love it.

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