Personal Histories Artist Book Exhibition

Bringing together artists from around the globe to share their own stories in artist book form. Sharing similarities, diversities and individual perspectives. Highlighting the dynamic world of artist books.

REDLAND MUSEUM: 12 October - 30 November 2014
REDLAND ART GALLERY: 29 March - 10 May 2015
UNSW CANBERRA: 28 September - 11 December 2015

For more information please contact the Coördinator, Robyn Foster (email:

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Feature Artist - JAC BALMER

is an artist based in the north of England, she is currently focusing on artist books and printmaking.  

Originally training as an illustrator, her work is still very often produced in response to a text.

Jac considers herself to be an artist who employs a variety of techniques, depending on which is most appropriate for what the work has to say (in practice, she says, this means a lot of time spent reinventing the wheel).

At the moment her twin obsessions are printmaking and bookmaking.  Her work may be an exploration of an idea, e.g. 'Rapunzel' or 'Where the dead live' (made as part of BookArtObject Edition 4), a response to the surface qualities of a technique e.g. 'Weave', or a response to a place e.g. 'Concession Perpetuelle'.

Below, Jac speaks about some of her book works.

To me the dead live initially in the memories of those that knew them.  But later as these people also become memories they live on in the things they left behind.  This could be a name on a gravestone, an anonymous photo, the ruin of a house, an artefact in a museum or junk shop... The stories we tell about them may be no more than conjecture and imagination but while we do there is still some trace of the original person left (these ideas are further explored in my contribution to Personal Histories).

For the pages of 'Where the Dead Live' I used the names of people that I've come across over the years whose story, image or inscription has intrigued me.

In this book I wanted to look at the traditional story of Rapunzel and I was primarily interested by the relationship between the witch and the girl.

The tall format (and embossing on the cover) reference the tower.  I wanted to use the concertina format to play with the idea of stories having different interpretations and readers bringing their own viewpoint to the narrative.  How you fold the book influences and alters the visible image and these can be read in different ways.

The witch and Rapunzel.

Together inside the tower encircled by the dangers outside.

A hint of the intruder/outside influences which will drive a wedge between them.

The outcome of the relationship between Rapunzel and her prince.

The cyclical nature of the story.  

In the original Rapunzel became pregnant.  Does Rapunzel become the older woman trying to protect her child? (I decided in the end to use soft covers on the book so that they don't intrude when it is viewed as a circle).

(based on the structures in the cemetery in Argeles sir Mer)


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