Thursday, May 21, 2009
Willis's books were bound in my studio in Coffs Harbour, using the same dimensions of book board and the same colour bookcloth that we were all given to take away with us at the end of our labours in Lismore.
I don't think Willis would mind me saying that he was resistant to the whole project, in a way! The 'handmade' has become almost wholly absent from his work, and the mark of the maker is not important to him in his current practice (you can see his work here). Coming from a fine print background with extensive skills and experience of intaglio etching processes and other printmaking techniques, Willis has moved towards removing himself from his work and his present interests lie in the juxtaposition of beauty and weapons of war in digitally-composed, digitally-printed mandalas. A collaborative project involving making paper and then pulp-printing onto it and hand-binding the resulting work was something of a challenge and I think that's reflected in the imagery he selected for 'his' books and their binding. The pages of the red-covered book are folded over and sewn into the spine, and the pages of the blue-covered book are bound inside-out so that they cannot be opened in the ordinary way! This contrary quality says something about Willis's personality and about his playful response to the project.