Freezing Antarctic air recently brought sub-zero temperatures and snow to parts of Queensland's far south. The ABBE (Artist Book Brisbane Event 16-18 July at Griffith University Southbank Campus) coincided with this so-called 'Antarctic vortex'. Braving blustery winds, overcast skies and sporting a new super-warm jacket, I ventured south to attend this smorgasbord of book art delights and debates.
The program for ABBE included academic presentations from 19 leading critical thinkers in the Book Arts feld, as well as keynote addresses from Brad Freeman (American-based artist and founder of JAB), Dr Sarah Bodman (Senior Research Fellow at CFPR, UWE in Bristol UK) and Dr Lyn Ashby (Australian-based artist and founder of thistoopress). Attached to the event was the 'books by artists' exhibition, a comprehensive display of book-based artworks in the Webb Gallery, including two of my own pieces. Co-ordinated by Dr Tim Mosely, the exhibition included works by Victoria Cooper, Caroline McKenzie Craig, Fiona Dempster, Hesam Fetrati, Anniqu Goldenberg, Judy Macklin, Christine Mellor, Tim Mosely, Adele Outteridge, Geln Skien, Doug Spowart and Wim de Vos ... to name just a few.
I came away with a head overflowing with information and ideas for future projects. After time to reflect upon the experience, I can honestly say that the best part of my trip to Brisbane was connecting with the people. There are times as an artist working alone that you think there is no-one who shares your interests, passions, self-doubts and insecurities. It is part of our nature to want to belong and it is the associations and friendships that create the joy in life on whatever level they may be. I am very grateful for the new links made and the old ones re-established.