Irene Vidal is the illustrator and designer behind our new title Charles Causley: A Portrait of the Poet, which we’re publishing for The Causley Trust. I caught up with her this week to talk about the project.
We’re excited to be involved in Seeing Voices, an exhibition of poetry and illustration opening in the Upper Gallery of The Poly in Falmouth. The exhibition will be open from the 20th-24th of November, with a private view on Thursday 22nd November (this Thursday) as part of the biennial Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Festival.
The show gathers work from students, staff and alumni of Falmouth University’s MA Illustration: Authorial Practice course, with a specific focus on poetry and illustration. Several Atlantic Press collaborators will feature in the exhibition, including Phyllida Bluemel, who illustrated On Ridgegrove Hill, Mat Osmond who illustrated Stone and John Kilburn, author of 72 Hours.
The exhibition will also make a feature of our friends at Guillemot Press who specialise in illustrated poetry and have worked with a number of students and graduates of the MA including Lucy Kerr, who illustrated A Day That You Happen to Know and C F Sherratt who worked with Sarah Cave on Like Fragile Clay.
Image from The Clearing by Luke Thompson and Mairead Dunne (showing)
As well as being a group show of poetry and illustration, Seeing Voices includes a collaborative body of new work based on Brendan Kennelly’s long poem The Man Made of Rain.
The Man Made of Rain is an autobiographical account of visions Kennelly had during quadruple bypass surgery, exploring the boundaries between life and death.
All of the contributing artists to the wider show were also invited to submit a piece (or pieces) of new work to illustrate a line from The Man Made of Rain, the result is a reconfigurated version of Kennelly’s original poem, accompanied by beautiful, thoughtful visuals from some of the most exciting illustrative practitioners we know.
Image from Mouth by Hannah Levene and Catrin Morgan (showing)
If all that wasn’t enough, the show will also include a first glimpse at our upcoming publication. Keep an eye out in the coming days for an official announcement.
As usual, we’ll have a table of beautiful books in the space, which you’ll be able to come and see all week, as will Guillemot Press, and there will also be a huge selection of books, prints and originals by the showing illustrators for sale.
We hope to see you there.
The Happy Wanderers (source: www.elliegracerc.berta.me)
Ellie Robinson-Carter’s work sits somewhere between illustration and socially engaged practice. Her work focuses on using creative practice to empower individuals to identify and express their personal narratives. Often working with people living with dementia, Robinson-Carter devises and facilitates creative frameworks which individuals are encouraged to take ownership of in order to gain a deeper understanding of their own authorial voice.
Whilst studying BA English & Philosophy at University of York (2011-14) Robinson-Carter co-founded In-between Collective with artists Imogen Lacey, Alice Kewellhampton and Owen Walton and ran Harmony Cafe for people living with dementia in the local community. In 2013 the two projects came together – funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation – to produce Memory Project: an exhibition celebrating the people who attended Harmony Cafe. On completing her degree in 2014, Robinson-Carter embarked on MA Illustration: Authorial Practice at Falmouth University, graduating in 2016 with Distinction. Recognising the significance of intergenerational practice from her experience at Harmony Cafe, Robinson-Carter set up multi-award winning Penryn Memory Cafe in 2015. Here she applied her MA research into how design & environment can enhance the lives of people living with dementia, whilst providing a space for university students to befriend older members in their community. Also on the MA, Robinson-Carter created Observations by the Happy Wanderers with Sensory Trust’s dementia-friendly walking group, providing a platform for the individuals to document & reflect upon their shared experiences in nature through photography, drawing, book-making, film & audio. Furthermore, she collaborated with Barcelona-based illustrator Violeta Noy to produce Sophie’s Project: a body of work which revolves around a fictional character living with dementia in Falmouth. You can see more here: www.sophiesproject.com.
Memory Café Book (source: www.elliegracerc.berta.me)
This led her to secure employment with Sensory Trust as Project Officer on the Creative Spaces in the Community project, for people living with dementia: www.sensorytrust.com. Robinson-Carter has spoken at numerous conferences about these projects such as the International Illustration Symposium at ECA; ‘Beyond Words’ Conference at Plymouth University & ’Marking Domains’ by Kingston University at ICA. In 2017 she exhibited Observations by the Happy Wanderers at Embodied Cartographies at Walcot Chapel as part of Fringe Arts Bath & ‘Hope & Renewal’ at Exeter Cathedral, winning first prize for best photograph.
This thread of intergenerational practice has continued to drive Robinson-Carter’s work: In September 2017, she was selected as placement artist by FEAST for poet Sally Crabtree’s Arts Council funded project CreativiTEA where they discovered a mutual desire to empower and inspire individuals through creative practice. Their collaboration has led to the creation and delivery of ‘Passing the Parcel’ – funded by the Big Lottery, FEAST and Ernest Cook. The project is an intergenerational, creative correspondence project between Penryn Memory Cafe and Year 9 students at Penryn College. The project will culminate in a conference in Falmouth – funded by FEAST – in Spring 2019, where international speakers will come to Cornwall to inspire new ways of delivering and executing creative intergenerational practice in our local communities. Moreover, in September 2018 Ellie will be artist in residence at Humanitas – a world-leading care home in the Netherlands where students live for free to support older people living in their community – funded by the Arts Council’s International Development Fund.
June Moore (source: Eleanor Robinson-Carter www.elliegracerc.berta.me)
‘By Orchestral Waters’ is a book of poetry, prose and verse by June Moore. With a diagnosis of terminal cancer, June’s final wish has been to see her works published. Robinson-Carter has been collaboarting with June to select images to accompany her writings, including photographs taken by both June and Robinson-Carter, as well as photographs from June’s personal albums. Robinson-Carter has illustrated and designed the book so to allow a space for June’s reflections to resonate with the reader, inviting the reader to spend time and reflect upon her life experiences. Throughout the book, we see June in her everyday space without seeing her in full view, a bit like in a memory where faces become blurred and we remember the essence or a certain aspect of a person, better than we do them as a whole. Through her writings, June comes back to the sea again and again, which is reflected by the choice and order of images: the sense of place at June’s home along Gyllygnvase beach is evident throughout her writing.
By Orchestral Waters will be coming out next month on Atlantic Press, a launch event is taking place at Falmouth Hotel on the 10th June at 3pm, in the Terrace Room.
Emily is a writer and designer who has created Juniper Bespoke. From her new studio in Falmouth, she creates unique, meaningful books for a range of clients.
Why did you decide to start this new venture?
It was always my plan to open my own bindery. I came to the course (MA Illustration & Authorial practice) from running my own business in London. I had learnt how to make books by taking books apart rather than by having any formal training. I was designing books by using Microsoft Office. There was a year when I made 50 books for different clients using Word (& frequently falling out with my desktop inkjet printer) and I thought ‘I can do this better.’ I picked the MA because I felt like it was weighted to writing as much as it was to drawing and graphic design & given my fascination with books I was especially excited by the link with Atlantic Press.
I’ve only now just been in a position where I can do it. I negotiated to go part-time at my job (Cornwall Libraries) and I found this amazing space. My wonderful boss at my previous job (Provedore café) said one morning “Oh, you know you want a studio, there’s a little shop for rent on the high street” and I immediately ran down the hill knocked on the door and said, “Can I have it?”
What is it that you will offer?
Clients will have a consultation with me and we’ll talk about what they want the book for and then I’ll go away and make a few proposals. At this stage it’s a fairly collaborative process, we’ll work together to find a way to approach it. And then once we have a plan I put it all together – I write and illustrate the book, I design it and then I bind it. Previously I’ve done a guy’s marriage proposal as a book: which he gave to his girlfriend under the clock in Grand Central Station. I’ve done commemorative books to explain to a little girl why she doesn’t have a brother anymore. I always have quite intimate relationships with my clients because we’re talking about things which they want to remember forever, communicate.
With the rise of e-books, why do you think physical books remain so popular?
Physical books have had to up their game. I’ve just curated an exhibition at the library on this exact topic. I’ve started noticing different kinds of binding on the shelves, you’ll see lots of recipe books are going with Coptic binding because that’s one that can lie flat. There’s nothing more annoying when you’re trying to follow a recipe and the book slowly falls shut and you lose you place while you have sticky fingers!
Commercial designers are making choices which are more artisan because the cost to print is big in comparison to digital so in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t cost much to choose a beautiful paper, or a coloured thread – you have to show that you’ve thought about why it needs to be a book. I think that because of this new energy put into designing books all those wonderful tangible choices have become more visible; people are more educated about them and are enjoying noticing the changes. When I went on my first bookbinding training it was hard for me to find a course, I was based in London but ended up going to Edinburgh. Whereas now you can pretty much do a weekend bookbinding course anywhere because people are genuinely interested.
What advice would you have for someone thinking about starting their own creative business?
The best advice was given to me by a silversmith at a craft exhibition in the V&A which I did earlier this year and he said “aim to fail as much as possible.” And I laughed and said “But we don’t want to fail, we want to do really really well don’t we?” & he said the more you fail the more you get used to the feeling of not everything working out the way you planned and so you get braver. The braver you are the more risks you take and the further you get. So that’s my advice, stolen from the silversmith, get out there and fail!
Do you have a specific audience for your books?
I assumed when I started it that it would be mainly for children but it has been about 50/50. Certainly, all the clients I have are very literary, and tend towards the sentimental but it’s not mostly men or mostly women or mostly children. It’s a complete mix. I’m primarily a writer so it means I’m always working with completely different stories so that keeps it interesting for me. What’s nice is that each commission is for a particular person, so I get to work on a book that only one person has to love – but it means I have to get to know that person really well.
Asides from your MA in Authorial Illustration what is your background?
My CV is eclectic! I did a literature degree, I trained as an actor – indeed I was an actor for a few years and I have been variously a magician’s assistant, a corporate receptionist, a copy writer, a dancer – I currently work for Cornwall Libraries which is amazing for a bibliophile like me and am also still a playwright & artistic associate of The Faction Theatre in London.
I think the through line has been literature and theatre. With my books, I’m always aiming for them to be performances, so the reader is my audience. The closed book is like the darkened auditorium and opening it to the end paper is like the first stanza from the music score: I want to evoke that same anticipation and magic… I’m thinking about it like an all-encompassing experience. It’s not just the content, it’s the whole experience of reading the book which I think of when planning my work and I am sure that very much stems from the theatre side.
Where do you see yourself going next?
I want to be here, and do this! and do well!
I’m making plans for taking on an apprentice or intern by the end of the year. There is quite a lot to do when you start running your own business. I like researching, making and writing, I don’t like administration. I’m trying really hard with lots of coloured post-it notes to make administration as exciting as possible. But I would quite like to, and in Falmouth, it’s so easy to do, to find someone who’s sympathetic to my ethos who can help me out a bit administratively. Also, I’m setting up a bindery so there’s going to be a lot of great equipment for people to use. At the moment it’s just me, which is good. I’m doing lots of business courses with Cultivator and they’ve been super supportive and they actually offer to fund start-up spaces.
Do you know when you’re opening?
I’m already trading, I’m on my third commission (Wedding stationary which will be featured in Hello magazine) and the fourth is lined up (A window display for Stranger Collective).
I’m plotting my Launch exhibition. ‘Lift it with the Feathers’ to be followed up with a mini residency where myself and a local print maker with make a book ‘live’ in the space with him screen printing and me binding
The space is not really about people coming in and chatting, it’s a focused working environment, it’s about me giving myself time and space to work – The commissions I get take up a lot of mind space and I get very emotionally involved, so it’s important that I have a space I can research and play and get absorbed in each commission so I do my best work.
What I will do is schedule events and exhibitions – and I will be constantly curating the front room so that it can be interesting for the casual passer-by to peek in. Going against all marketing strategies it’s not a clearly defined space – it’s intriguing and open to many interpretations – I quite like it when I see people point at the window and say “what on earth is this place?” while I’m working in the back room.
You can buy Emily Juniper’s Atlantic Press publication here.
Our current intern Emily Murray was asked to pick three books from our special collection and write a piece about each of them:
“Steeplewind” by C F Sherratt
This book features several small stories which are all mainly centred around the fictional town of Steeplewind and the daily occurrences of its occupants, the book also touches upon issues of a woman’s daily life. However, within the daily lives of the characters the reader is quickly able to recognize that the town of Steeplewind is not as ordinary as previously thought. The use of the greens and blues adds to the idea of a normal, average town. But the occasional pops of brighter and warmer colours like orange and red contrasts this, interrupting the calm scenes of blue and green. This adds to the idea of something strange and even extra-terrestrial going on. Similarly the use of the illustrations occasionally being drawn in small squares adds an air of mystery to the book, as it only allows for the reader to see small glimpses into the whole story.
“Mosquito” by Dan James
This book is quite unusual and unique due to the fact that it printed using only red ink against a cream page. This is particularly effective as the author often uses the contrasting colours in very interesting and creative ways. The fact that it is also a completely silent, wordless, graphic novel also differs from the norm. As well as this, the art work is often quite different and abstract. Due to the abstract art and it being a wordless book allows, the reader is often encouraged to interpret many different aspects of the story for themselves.
“Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, Catherine Anyango and David Zane Mairowitz
This book reinterprets Joseph Conrad’s classic into a graphic novel that explores themes of power, identity. The Monochromatic nature of the book emphasises the darkness and horror of the book. The use of limited dialogue creates mystery and intrigues the reader to want to read on.
Our newest publication ‘Cassiopeia: Knee’ is now available through tictail: cassiopeiaeknee.tictail.com
We’re really excited to announce the release of our newest publication: Cassiopeia: Knee, which accompanied the collective’s residency at Guest Projects in Hackney last year.
The book is an abstract comic containing sections of dialogue taken from the ‘Double Talk’ performances which members of Cassiopeia delivered in the space. The visual elements were drawn from the identities of previous gallery exhibitions and performative lectures that the collective have been involved with.
The residency featured several ‘Double Talks’ which involved each member repeating their talk twice, with a different member beside them each time, creating a series of interlocking talks which intersected at various points with one another.
The week ended with a show of visual work and a ‘suspended brunch’ courtesy of guest artist Alexandra Bildsoe (The Flavour Office).
This year’s Falmouth Illustration Forum on the theme ‘Monstrous’ took place at the end of last month, featuring guest speakers Virginia Mori, Maki Suzuki, Dr, Lauren Elkin, Alyson Hallett (reading Deborah Levy) and Marcelle Hanselaar, as well as Ellie Robinson-Carter, Violeta Noy and Dr. Catrin Morgan. The forum week also featured talks by Katie Jones-Barlow, Phyllida Bluemel, C F Sherratt, Gabriella Beckhurst, Lydia Denno and Matilda Williams, as well as a programme of specially tailored workshops.
It was a very engaging and enjoyable event, with topics ranging from ‘Bathroom as orifice’ to ‘Brad Pitt’, and it was of course exciting to have a specially commissioned piece of work by Man-Booker nominated novelist Deborah Levy.
Following the forum, the Falmouth-based Keiken Collective curated a week of events at the world-renowned Newlyn Art Gallery. The week was titled ‘House of Questions’ and was part of a series of events called ‘Palace of Culture’.
The week included workshops, classes and performances from a whole host of artists and collectives. Cassiopeia delivered a new version of their ‘Speaking Signs’, Alexandra Bildsoe put together a ‘Dinner in the Dark’, Gillian Wilde delivered a performative lecture, there were yoga and meditation classes on offer, students of the MA Illustration: Authorial Practice course at Falmouth university compiled a day of activities as a follow-up to the Forum, Lauren Holt discussed the behaviour of insects and bees and Anna and Lily De Coursey delivered their creative workshop ‘TOO MUCH WORK’.
It was a brilliant week of activities which we were delighted to be part of, and some of our titles were available in the gallery bookshop for the duration.
You can follow Keiken’s work here: http://keikencollective.tumblr.com/ and there’s more information about the event on Newlyn Gallery’s website: http://newlynartgallery.co.uk/activities/palace-culture-week-2-keiken-collective/
Keep an eye out for upcoming projects!
Cassiopeia is a creative collective comprised of Hannah Rae Alton, Irene Vidal Cal, Amy Goodwin, Anne Harild and Catrin Morgan.
We recently attended one of their Double Talk nights at Guest Projects in Hackney. It was a fascinating event and one in a series of interlocking performative research talks.
These talks underline the strong and frequent intersections in the research interests of each member of Cassiopeia, offering the same performance one night in conjunction with a different contrasting performance from another member of the group, which in turn went on to be held up against another member’s input, with compelling results.
Cassiopeia are putting research at the forefront of their artistic practice, and presenting it in new and challenging ways.
Topics of conversation over the course of the talks included cryptography, architecture, torture, mathematics, colour, history and illusion. The residency was completed with a Speaking Signs talk involving all five members of the group, an exhibition and a ‘Suspended Brunch’ in collaboration with The Flavour Office (Alexandra Bildsoe).
Atlantic Press will be running a publication in support of Cassiopeia: Breast. It is an abstract comic bringing together elements of various Cassiopeia identities from previous talks and exhibitions. The comic will be produced as a limited run of only 150. You can order a copy here: http://cassiopeiaeknee.tictail.com/product/cassiopeia-publication
Keep an eye out for further Cassiopeia events here: https://twitter.com/CassiopeiaeKnee
…and keep an eye on our Twitter feed for updates on the publication: https://twitter.com/atlanticpress1
(Image from Cassiopeia: Double Talk)
We recently tabled at Bristol Comic & Zine Fair 2016. It was a brilliant fair full of excellent comics, zines, artist books, prints and made objects. There was a great atmosphere, with screen-printing workshops, live drawing, and many of the writers and artists involved in making the books on sale available to talk about the work.
Some of our highlights were Arabella Simpson’s zines, Breakdown Press for their beautiful risographed books, Simeon Davies’ poetry comics, The Sad Ghost Club, Lines of Inquiry’s delightfully varied graphic novels and artist books, Rebecca K Jones’ new zine ‘Let’s Go Home’ and Peter Morey’s ‘The Zahir’ which was on show for the first time. There was also stellar work from Froglump, Tara McInerney, Emily Gilbert and 12pt Press.
This beautiful collection of 24-hour comics by artist John Kilburn is presented in a specially designed box with hand-printed stamp details. The comics themselves are rip-roaring, outrageous journeys created under taxing conditions and very little sleep! Just to add to the absurdity these comics were created using six-sided dice to determine plot direction, character names and even the number of panels per page.
Thanks to Literature Works for a beautiful review of ‘On Ridgegrove Hill’.
We asked our current intern Antonia Di’Fonzo from The Roseland Community College to pick and review a few of her favourite books from the Atlantic Press library…
‘People I’ve Never Met & Conversations I’ve Never Had’ by Nick White
Published by Nobrow Press 2009. ISBN 978-0-9562135-1-8
‘ This book has a very personal feel. You almost feel that by reading it you’re prying into someone’s scrap book. The way that it is written is very informal and not in a way that should be read by anyone but the author. It’s a very relaxed and chilled out book which stems from the informality of its pages. The illustrations are beautiful and very varied but all contribute to the relaxed and informal aesthetic. Nothing in the book is uniform or regimented allowing the reader to mirror the author in having total freedom with the book. The book is very playful and different to other books.’
‘Tree of Codes’ by Jonathan Safran Foer
Published by Visual Editions 2010. ISBN 978-0-9565692-1-9
‘This story is told over a series of incomplete pages. The story itself is complete, the message delivered is complete but the words on each page are sparse. The idea of a book coming from the imagination to plant a seed of a story and then interpreted by another’s to flourish is present in every story. This specific book however does not only allow the story to be imagined but also the book itself.’
‘Box’ by Chris Bianchi
Self-published as Outlaw books. One of 25 copies printed at the RCA 2005.
‘This book is particularly unusual due to the fact that it’s covers are plain and it’s pages are black. The black pages offer an aspect of uniqueness. Due to all the wording and illustrations being in white, this book gives a real contrast to the norm. The dark brings around the unknown. Taking that in, a large majority of the book is unknown meaning and much is left down to the reader and their interpretations.’
We are very pleased to announce our latest publication! On Ridgegrove Hill is a collection of poems by Alyson Hallett inspired by her time as the second Charles Causley poet-in-residence, the first to live in Causley’s house – Cypress Well – on Ridgegrove Hill in Launceston. Cyprus Well, Causley’s house, is a stepping-down-into house. One step […]
Anna Kiernan was interviewed by Phyllida Bluemel during the Atlantic Press and Tiny Pencil exhibition last year. Anna is an arts consultant, mother and Senior Lecturer in Writing at Falmouth University. Anna’s new book is an Atlantic press published poetry chapbook, in collaboration with Illustrator Harriet Lee-Merrion. Anna’s other books are Voices for Peace (Scribner), Bit […]
“When Steve Braund started the Illustration: Authorial Practice MA at University College Falmouth a decade ago, he writes in a new book, the course was intended to “work against the tendency for [illustration] to become a repetitive commodity where the illustrator was presented with an already clearly defined concept”. Excerpt from Matthew Reisz’s article […]
We are pleased to announce that our most recent publication ‘Isomorphology’ by Gemma Anderson will be showcased at KALEID 2015 London, one of twenty-five bookworks selected from over two hundred and fifty submissions. A networking event in mid-July will formally launch this year’s KALEID 2015 LONDON collection. Isomorphology will then be represented to public collections, […]
Last Friday was the annual Falmouth Illustration Forum, where an amazing group of invited guest speakers, established artists and practictioners, came together to talk about ‘hidden agendas’. Just as the sun (which had appropriately ‘hidden’ itself behind the moon) began to show its face again, Catrin Morgan, curator of the 2015 forum, started the day with […]
Aly Jones is the Bristol-based illustrator behind the wonderful Beyond The Wire a meta-fiction based on the First World War, a visual conversation with the poets and our collective historical knowledge of the years 1914-1918.