Pages turned in Norwich – Highlights

Jo Howe Book Arts Artist Books

Just recovering my energies from another fabulously engaging weekend at The Forum in Norwich for Turn the Page, where once again I was selected to show alongside some incredibly talented book artists and engage in all sorts of intriguing, enlightening and sometimes heart warming conversations with visitors and exhibitors alike.

For my own work, I had adopted a slightly different approach this year, focussing on one installation piece, consisting of five elements – entitled, Nothing to Nobody.

Nothing to Nobody

“…nothing, the negative, the empty, is exceedingly powerful. Nothing is more fertile than emptiness… You can’t have something without nothing.”
Alan Watts

Continuing an exploration of the notion of ‘nothingness’, first investigated for a group exhibition in 2014 by exploring emotional responses to ‘the space in-between’, my practice continues to focus on the frustrations of human communication working with old manuscripts that bear the physical imperfections and aromas of past human handling and thus retain elements of their human presence. The book or page becomes a tool for looking inwards to our evolving personal narratives rather than the read contents of the book as text.

This further evolution of the work, sees the original book ‘Nothing to Nobody’ de-constructed, with all elements of the book united with the work shown last year ‘Self fulfilling prophecy’ which holds all the text from the main novel quilled, encased in clamped acrylic. The narrative expands by combining this work with all other elements of the original book. The work questions our sense of self, focusing on disconnection, alienation and silenced voices, be it from external pressures and/or internal restrictions.

A particular highlight for me this year was to be showing alongside the incredibly talented Brian Dettmer, a New York-based artist known for his detailed and innovative sculptures with books and other forms of antiquated media. Dettmer’s work has been exhibited internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions at galleries, museums and art centres and has been an inspiration of mine for sometime now.

Other highlights were as follows, in no particular order…

Miranda Campbell

I find Miranda’s work well balanced and her use of materials delicate and intricate. Her poetic words resonate and fit the aesthetic charm of the pieces.

Chris Ruston

The deserved winner of the inaugural Turn the Page prize, Chris’s work is rich in depth, process, colour and application.

Jen Fox

Jen’s work always resonates for me. Her work has great depth and is executed precisely and professionally. This kind of work moves me, and this years piece was no exception.

Dizzy Pragnell

I just had to keep going back to look at Dizzy’s work. I was drawn in by the innovative approach and the visual aesthetic of the edible book forms. Delicious work!

Karen Apps

Karen’s work is always finely executed and is simply beautiful. You can see in all her work, extensive development and research has been undertaken. I was looking at her website to provide a link and came across this, an artwork in its own right! I love seeing process, and in Karen’s work, that lead to the accomplished outcome.

And finally, I was really rather surprised about how I would experience Two Coats Colder, a quirky progressive acoustic folk band performing a mix of self penned traditional & contemporary songs at Turn the Page for the weekend.  I’m not normally easily engaged in folk music as a genre. However, They were actually sublime. I really enjoyed it and a total treat for me to be able to hear them.


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