Lockdown has provided time.
Time to work on projects that have been sitting on the back-burner for months and even years.
Time, for example, to get to grips with a set of images that I made of plant life in the snow from Canada's Yukon territory. A wild and beautiful landscape where I found myself concentrating on plant stems and trees in winter.
Walking in the landscape I started to see only black and white; snow and stems. Tree trunks and branches.
I was drawn to the graphic quality of the landscape. Some blades of grass so delicate that I wondered how they survived.
During this recent lockdown i finally found some time to work these images into a book. I initially thought of setting the images to words by Emily Dickinson in her poem 'It sifts from Leaden Seives'
I wrote to the Emily Dickinson foundation to request permission to use the words in a small run of an artist book. They granted permission, but at a fee that was prohibitive for such a small production.
So I sat myself down and started to write some words of my own.
I looked at the images and responded in words, thinking all the time of music and drawing as suggested by my title 'Winter Notes'.
notes from a manuscript
music for a winter song
a plaintive melody
under leaden skies
fragments of summer
slump into winter days
wave forms in slow motion
transmit old stories
from which new works will emerge
Once I had a collection of short 'poems' I struggled for weeks on the format for a book. Large or small? Hard or soft cover? Which images in what order?
The choices are endless. Decision making not my strong point.
But then I did a workshop with Monica Dengo on working with words and images, and she taught me a simple structure containing three books that overlap each other, allowing the pages to be read in a myriad of ways.
This seemed perfect, for the words and images were interlinked, and each poem was no longer tied to just one image. Even better, the structure was more like a notebook, which fitted my title perfectly. I liked the informality of the structure, with its soft cover and simple binding.
The choice of cover colour relates to one of the poems
needles strewn randomly
in cold disarray
tell a bloodless tale
I was thinking of the colour of blood that a prick from a needle would normally invoke. The many pine needles were lying in a bloodless landscape.
I blind embossed the front cover using my newly acquired Adana press; a lockdown treat to myself. This gave me more pleasure than I care to admit to!
Now that Winter Notes is complete, I have other back burner projects to get on with; the next on my list is a book of sea wall stories from the coast at Camber Sands.
The final book, Winter Notes, can be seen in this video with more images and words.
Caroline Fraser - an ordinary life
on life, suburban living, art, creativity, photography, book art and travel.
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Welcome to Caroline Fraser Photography
Colourful abstracted and traditional photographic landscapes, book art and workshops. Capturing the moods and beauty of nature whether in wild open places or in small sanctuaries in suburbia.