Artists Book, 2022
‘Tapestry’ is a miniature handmade artist’s book made from a strip of canteloupe-coloured paper, accordion-folded into a 120-page hardbound book. The pages contain 626 hand-punched holes that mark the positions of the human figures as depicted on The Bayeux Tapestry. When the pages are removed from the hardcovers they can be used as a melody strip that sounds notes when wound through a 15-note mechanical music box. A sound recording of the book can be heard by accessing Augmented Reality content through the Artivive App.
Making of Tapestry
(short film, 5 minutes)
This short film shows how the artist's book ‘Tapestry’ is designed and made. The miniature concertina pages form a strip of sheet music, which measures 13.3 feet, and is playable through a 15-note mechanical music box. The musical notes, which appear as holes, mark the exact position of all 626 heads of the human figures as depicted in The Bayeux Tapestry. The film reveals how the book is designed and printed and the various processes used in making the book pages, cover and wrap.
'For my artists' book, I wanted to explore the Bayeux Tapestry - and experiment with how specific elements of it could inform the content. I began by sketching out ideas and using a scale colour reproduction of The Bayeux Tapestry as a reference listing all the visual elements that appear- such as human figures, animals, trees, buildings and ships.
The original Bayeux Tapestry is a 70-metre-long embroidery made during the 11th Century, and it depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England, and The Battle of Hastings. It is complex and layered and I was interested in isolating specific areas, to experiment using simple shapes to abstract the visual elements of the tapestry.
Using tracing paper over the printed reproduction I marked every instance on the tapestry where there was a human figure. In total, there are 626 human figures scattered across three horizontal zones of the tapestry, and I thought the spacing and position of the heads would translate well into sound and rhythm, offering a wide range of musical notes. To transform the visuals into sound, I decided to create a bookwork that could be played through a 15-note mechanical music box, which also meant that I could use my favoured book-making format — the miniature concertina. To begin, I scanned in the 1/7th scale colour reproduction of The Bayeux Tapestry, and using Adobe Indesign resized it to fit across a template consisting of four A4 sheets.
I marked out with dots the exact position of all 626 heads. It was these dots that once punched out as holes would sound like musical notes when wound through the mechanical music box. I printed the template onto 4 A4 sheets of 180gsm card choosing cantaloupe-coloured card in reference to another type of punch card- the ones used in the Jacquard Loom machine.
After scoring the lap joint, I cropped down each of the A4 sheets and folded each section into eight. I then cut these into individual strips. Using a metal punch tool I perforated three-mm holes into the 15 strips of paper. Once all 626 holes were punched, I glued the strips together to form a single 13.3-foot strip. It was this hole-punched strip that became a musical score. As the paper strip is fed into the music box and passes between the cylinder and comb the holes sound the notes. You can hear a recording of these musical notes in the background of this film.
To make the book covers, I cut a strip of book cloth and marked out spaces for the book board. I glued each piece of book-board to the cloth and cut them out. I then cut off the corners, glued and turned in the edges to form the finished book cover. After glueing a book cover to each end of the 120-page concertina, I wrapped the finished book in a printed band.'