Pages turned in Norwich

Just coming up for air after the 5th Anniversary of  Turn the Page Artist Book Fair, hosted in the beautiful Forum in the heart of the city.

Huge thanks go, yet again, to the efficient, friendly and professional Turn the Page team headed by Jules Allen, a talented artist in her own right. Always a joy to work with you all!

Yet again, a plethora of beautiful work and talented and engaging people resided at the Forum for two days.

My particular favourites  I have shared below.  They grab my interest not just as amazing objects to connect with, but the ideas behind the work are just as rich. Explore more at the artists links.

Pien Rotterdam –

Lola Swain –

Jen Fox –

Rosie Sherwood –

Gloria Ceballos –

Gloria Ceballos

Caroline Penn –

Chris Ruston –

Karen Apps –

Su Blackwell –

Jo Howe Book Arts Artist Books

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.


New work – furthering unexpected process – Nothingness?

I have been beavering away in the studio working towards my next exhibition, a group show, Nothingness, to be shown at the beautiful Parndon Mill Gallery in Harlow 7th August – 14th September . It is truly a great theme to work on. I have found that my mind is bouncing around all over the place with possibilities.

How does one represent nothing? Does nothing actually exist, if it does, does that not make it something? ok, so slight mischievous glint in my eye here, but you get my point 😉

Wikipedia references it as…

‘Nothing is a pronoun denoting the absence of anything. Nothing is a pronoun associated with nothingness. In nontechnical uses, nothing denotes things lacking importance, interest, value, relevance, or significance. Nothingness is the state of being nothing, the state of nonexistence of anything, or the property of having nothing.’

My approach is examining the notion of ‘nothingess’ by exploring emotional responses to ‘the space in-between’. Still a somewhat untangible description, I know. I am refering to this in two ways really. The ‘space in-between’ can be perceived as empty (though of course isn’t technical so). The emptiness is more a emotional perception rather than a physical reality. This emptiness has darkness and light. The darkness could be considered perhaps a little more readily than the light. After all, the connotations of the word ’emptiness’ are mainly negative in flavour, consider if you will, this list of synonyms: empty, vacant, blank, void, vacuous, bare, barren.

It is challenging the lightness of ‘the space in- between’  that has prompted a most interesting process for me.

I had recently posted about the influence of a particular piece of music by the talented Ludovico Einaudi.  I pondered my difficulty with the visual response of  my physical and written expression of this experience. Rather strangely, I have experimented with painting yet again, to bring this more clearly into view.

Nothingness process
Nothingness process

This work is not going to be shown at the ‘Nothingness’ show, but informs an important part of my working process. I have documented the stages of painting, each layer being photographed and recorded. This documentation I have reflected on, exposes for me the importance of  remaining connected to process. It is my experience of producing this work, the way I have moved my body, the choice of colour, the way this action makes me feel and the quality of marks that has stimulated the next stage of development.

Yes, there is still still a way to go, but very excited to have this record of an important part of the journey.

As a wee aside… when creating this, I had noticed the dust sheet I was using, rather delightfully revealed these characters. Of course they have been there before, but the process is allowing me to see with an open and enquiring mind (if not a little mischievous one at that!).

Thought i’d have a little fun with them… Enjoy!


Nothingness-cartoon Jo Howe
Nothingness cartoon

New work – unexpected inspirations

I am currently working towards a group show, opening in August at Parndon Mill Gallery, Harlow.

The theme of the show, ‘Nothing’.

In exploring what this means for me, the mind has wandered down dark alleys as well as through light port holes.

Whilst experimenting with materials, I had the fabulous Ludovico Einaudi playing in the background, as I often do when in process.

For some reason, I hadn’t really heard this piece, even though I must have heard it a hundred times before. All of a sudden, it literally took my breath away… resonating with what I was exploring, syncing so beautifully to my minds journey.

The difficultly is, I can understand this expression through my physicality, and with some words, but the visual is just that little way out of reach.

So looking forward to the time when I can clearly bring this into view.

For best experience, play loud with eyes shut.

Extraordinary and exciting process!



Pages turned in Norwich – a review of Turn the Page 2013

Well, what a great time in Norwich, and what a great place.

I have returned from my Turn the Page experience, a book artists heaven. On offer, a plethora of amazing books in all their glorious forms for reading, viewing, engaging and interacting as well as poetry readings, storytelling and demonstrations.

I felt really privileged to have been selected to show here in the Forum, in the heart of Norwich, alongside such talented creatives.

This was the first time I had ever contemplated an art fair. It was a really useful experience, remaining connected to the work, rather than just dropping off and collecting it after an exhibition. I found it fascinating discussing my work with visitors, sometimes finding I was justifying the works existence, sometimes just delighting in the visitors engagement and reading of what was on offer. All interactions I found so useful for so many different reasons.

I was supremely humbled by one particular visitors response to one of my pieces, Internal Dialogue. Moved almost to tears, his engagement and reading of the work reminded me that art can result in pure unexpected emotions for the receiver. I have always believed in what I produce and if I didn’t, then for me it would not be worth doing at all.

I was also so fortunate to meet some really talented artists and delight in their work. Particular highlights for me were, Theresa Easton, Emma Lloyd, Nicola DaleJen Fox, Kate Marsden, Catherine Laura Ward and Lucy Baxandall.

Feel inspired… try this, the Summer Reads Book Art Competition

Look out for Turn the Page 2014… I feel sure it will again be an event not to be missed!

Alex McIntyre – Works On Paper Exhibition at Espacio Gallery, London McIntyre will exhibit in ‘Works on Paper’ at The Espacio Gallery, Shoreditch from 9th – 21st May.

An Exhibition that examines and celebrates the role of paper in art: 100 artworks from over 30 artists.

Private View: Thurs 9th May 6-9pm

Address: 159 Bethnal Green Road, E2 7DG London.

This will be worth a visit, especially to see the work of Alex McIntyre and her gestural mark making.

reblogged from


I love this work. The possibilities for immersive engagement within the Special Educational Needs sector are massive. I am just starting to look at immersive interactive solutions to enable alternative forms of expression and communication. I am experimenting with the Kinect linked to a PC, and playing with the open source software, Processing. There are some wonderfully creative and intelligent people out there doing amazing things with this set up. Go look here!  They have inspired me to revisit some old research ideas and explore this path. If only I could run before I could walk! Still I have managed to find the on switch, it’s a start!

Webcam Piano 2.0 Teaser from Memo Akten on Vimeo.