I am delighted to hear that my submission has now been accepted for display in the Bodleian Library, to accompany the exhibition Designing English in December 2017.
Redesigning the Medieval Book – A modern book artist’s take on the books in this exhibition.
‘Experimental shapes : Things here and gone : Words and pictures : Laid out for use’
When these earliest and precious English books were demonstrated to us, it was a reminder that books come to life when the pages are turned. When displayed, only one double page can be seen at a time, like pinned out butterfly wings.
These books are the epitome of all the reasons why a library can never be digitalised – for reasons of access perhaps, but the physicality of the book can be as important as the content.
Our modern responses are to go into the glass-fronted display cabinet on the wall of the exhibition atrium. The folded medieval books inspired me to make a modern book where several of the pages could be seen at once, maintaining a simple codex format when closed but displaying the content when open on a shelf.
My book opens into four half-cube room-like areas. I used a medieval tile pattern for the ‘floor’ of the book, visually unifying the whole when open, and applying a medieval grounding.
The content then takes inspiration from The Canterbury Tales and Geoffrey Chaucer’s imaginary travellers, and my own journey to the Bodleian and the medieval world. It is a folded pocket timetable to and from the past, keeping information to hand for travel.
The journeying companions echo this, captured in petrified passport photographs with paired seventeen word descriptions.