Delighted to be featured in ‘Hertfordshire Life’ – The secret lives of books

@hertslife pg1 Jo Howe

Absolutely thrilled to be in this months ‘Hertfordshire Life‘, a three page article by Caroline Foster. A really well written article… she has definitely ‘got me’ and my work, how lovely!

@hertslife pg2+3 Jo Howe

Also highlights the current show ‘Paper, Scissors, Stone – Taking paper beyond the page’ at the beautiful setting of Parndon Mill gallery, Harlow.

Closing Event – Easter Monday 6th April 2-4pm

This will be the last day of the show and all exhibiting artists will be on site between 2-4pm as well as an African Drum group (including yours truly) to provide some uplifting vibrant music on the green (or in the prioject space if the weather is against us). Do come along if you are free… this should be fun, (dancing is encouraged!).

Link here

Considering the marks of removal – Memory, Loss and the Human Condition

I work extensively with a 10a surgical blade for most of my work. It is my most trusted tool, and has become intrinsic to every work I do… whether that is apparent in the final piece or not.

But I have started to question, what about the sharp precision of that cut line? Its clean definite mark conveys something… but does it really convey what I want in this current work? How would it be if the marks were a little more… uncontrolled, rougher, dirtier?

I have worked with burning before… but never with so much risk. The previous work to have received such a treatment, has been the finishing touches in controlled situations, where the burning can only travel a certain way until it has to extinguish.

This work is a little different. The singular pages are not treated before being introduced to the heat. It is difficult to control the timing and pressure of contact to create marks that are legible and at the same time preventing complete obliteration of the page, save for the ash at the end (I have a fair few examples!).

This is a process that feels right and appropriate to the themes behind the work. It is not fully resolved as yet, but, I feel, important to document these none the less.

Gallery updated

Finally got round to it… the gallery is updated and includes work currently being shown at Parndon Mill gallery, ‘Nothingness‘.

Self fulfilling prophecy
Self fulfilling prophecy

This must mean I am at that stage of developing new work.

Very excited to be back in the studio.


Nothingness – New group exhibition at Parndon Mill, Harlow

‘Nothingness’ includes the work of five artists with links to Digswell Arts: Hideki Arichi, Ella Carty, Jo Howe, Alex McIntyre and William White. These artists respond to the theme of nothingness using a variety of media: Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture and Drawing. Originally inspired by an edition of ‘Start the Week’, a BBC R4 programme in which the idea of ‘nothingness’ was examined from different perspectives, these artists bring their own creative insight to the subject.

For Alex McIntyre ‘nothingness’ is a leap of faith; the emptiness into which inspiration rushes. Nothingness is difficult to comprehend because the very act of considering it changes it. It is glimpsed at the periphery of consciousness: both before and after, ecstasy and grief. For this exhibition Alex is producing drawings that question human states of being.

Ella Carty’s work is a personal exploration of the existential state of ‘nothingness’. Her paintings of landscapes evoke a sense of both isolation and stillness. There is a sense in which these empty and seductive landscapes are both intriguing and unsettling. Her use of colour and its capacity to entice emotion is striking. Ella says ‘I wanted to convey a sense of unreality as well as detachment, to communicate a sense of how it feels to be in a state of nothingness.’

Jo Howe explores the notion of ‘nothingess’ by exploring emotional responses to ‘the space in-between’. Jo’s practice focuses 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.

William White is a printmaker based in Cornwall. His take on ‘nothingness’ is a study of the satellite dishes at Goonhilly on the Lizard peninsular in Cornwall, which are currently in the process of being recommissioned. Goonhilly is a cluster of satellite dishes known for receiving the first ever Trans-Atlantic satellite TV images, broadcast by Telstar in1962. These gigantic structures, seemingly staring at nothing were perfect inspiration for the title ‘nothingness’.

Hideki Arichi is a British born Japanese artist. He is approaching the idea of ‘nothingness’ by reading Eastern philosophical interpretations found in Zen Buddhism and by identifying personal reactions and indicators to these. The work includes paintings, drawings and prints.

Private View – Sunday 10th August 2pm – 4pm all welcome. Map here. Other times please check gallery for opening times

Nothingness poster final

A sneaky peek… finished today!

A sneaky peek at my latest work, ‘A spoonful of sugar’.

This has been an essential work for me to produce. I have realised it has been an important and cathartic process. It has enabled me to explore and express creatively, the changes and the challenges that have impacted my nearest and dearest over the last year or so. This work also enables my own voice, with the inevitable impact on myself, expressing this can be challenging.

‘A spoonful of sugar’ is broadly about the impact of  Diabetes both on the patients and the family caring for and supporting them.

Want to see more?

Anywhere near Norwich, UK,  May 2nd or 3rd? Why not pop along to Turn the Page 2014. This will be the location of this works first outing!

ASpoonfulOfSugar-detail01 jo Howe Bookart Artist books
A spoonful of sugar – detail

turn the page 2014 is nearly here!

This looks like it will be another exciting, rich and diverse event. I am so looking forward to being part of this again. I will have new work on show, some big, some small but all fabulously bookish!

I hope to see you there.

Photo: turn the page artists' book fair 2014 THIS YEARS POSTER
download the poster, print one out for yourself, or share it with your mailing lists.
Tell the world you're a book artist exhibiting or you're going to a workshop or taking part in the Elbow Room live sessions or most importantly of all YOU are coming along to support our event AND remember when tweeting about it please use #ttp2014bookart thank you :)



New work… Without words

It shouldn’t really come as a complete surprise to me that I would be drawn towards artist books as a medium to explore. I am preparing for the fabulous Turn the Page event again this year, delighted at having been selected to show for the second time. I have been reflecting on how much I enjoyed experiencing the other work on offer last year as well as the very rich and diverse conversations I had with other artists and the public alike. But surprised I am all the same, at the emergence of this particular strand of creative endeavour. I am, for once, not going to venture down the path of over-thinking (one well travelled), but just enjoy this parallel journey, understand the connection to my other work in development and embrace further discoveries.

Here’s a wee taster of what’s to come… they can be viewed in full at Turn the Page 2014, 2nd and 3rd of May at the Forum, Norwich. A great reason to visit this vibrant city.

Without words Jo Howe artist book
Without words
Without words Jo Howe artist book
Without words interior sample
Without words Jo Howe artist book
Without words interior sample
Without words Jo Howe artist book
Without words interior sample


A spoonful of sugar (working title) work in progress jo howe book sculpture

Work in progress – Loving the process

I have been super busy at the moment, and  being able to get into the studio for some lengthy sessions has been a joy,  actually, rather funny too.  When asked what did I do at work today, I found it quite hilarious to show the results of my labours. Not convinced they really understood how much work it took to produce such a small outcome.

Anyway, I have found myself working up two new pieces concurrently, a most interesting process. This is quite unusual for me. My usual working methods finds me absorbed in one particular piece, and,  as is so often the case, ideas pop up whilst in this process, I generally just jot these down, quickly sketch these out and return to them when my brain is ready to explore them with vigour.

Nothing to nobody (working title) work in progress jo howe book sculpture
Nothing to nobody (working title) work in progress

I find that this time, and I am sure that this is because the work production stage currently is somewhat laborious, my mind just wanted to wander away, skipping along various different paths and really didn’t want to stop exploring.

This is actually quite beneficial, as sometimes the struggle to stay present to a piece of work when the production is monotonous can be quite difficult.

So, I reached for the sketchbook, and again noted ideas, made quick sketches, but this time, that pixie part of the brain was having none of it. A record of an idea was just not good enough! Consequently, honouring this particular diversion, I am now working on two completely unrelated works at the same time (well almost simultaneously… would be interesting if I could actually produce one work in my left hand and the other in my right).

So here we have the other work in progress too… yes those pesky paper cups are back, and this time I understand why I was drawn to them… Watch this space!

A spoonful of sugar (working title) work in progress jo howe book sculpture
A spoonful of sugar (working title) work in progress



Jo Howe book sculpture echoes-of-fragrant-voices

Interviewed for Hertfordshire Visual Arts

I was most fortunate to be interviewed by the lovely Clare Kendal Bate on behalf of  Hertfordshire Visual Arts. They produce a monthly newsletter, and I am fortunate enough to be chosen as one of their featured artists.

Go to interview

HVA  is run by an enthusiastic voluntary Organising Group, with members from all areas of involvement in the visual arts.

HVA aims to:

  • Provide ways for artists of all disciplines, amateur or professional, to meet and exchange ideas and information.
  • Encourage professionalism and high standards in its members and their dealings with artists’ employers, facilitators, galleries and supporters.
  • Raise awareness of and promote accessibility to the visual arts in Hertfordshire.
  • Lobby for wider opportunities for artists and better facilities for the visual arts.
  • Represent the County’s artists to Local, County, Regional and National bodies.