A special highlight of this year’s annual Artists’ BookMarket at Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh is an exhibition of works by Helen Douglas over the weekend of 9-10 February 2019, curated from her recent retrospective show at New York’s Printed Matter, Inc.
The gallery will be displaying book works by Douglas which look at “the flow across the page”, including some of her earlier works and more recent publications.
Born in Galashiels, Selkirkshire, Douglas has lived and worked at Deuchar Mill in the area since the late 1970s. She makes books in response to the local surroundings of the Scottish Borders, which are published by her own Weproductions imprint.
Early Weproductions books were printed as affordable paperback artworks on the in-house litho press, with Douglas’s specialist, smaller, handmade digitally printed editions emerging more recently. Her books traverse a visual, narrative journey across and through the page, delving into life below the water, or high up into the treetops at the heart of the woods.
Douglas is well known for her intricate concertina and scroll books (some of which extend to 14 metres in length). These are beautifully printed on fine Chinese papers which allow light to reveal tiny details of the subject matter as they are unravelled.
Reminiscent of traditional illuminated manuscripts on parchment, these delicate scrolls might trace the journeys of tiny minnows in a Yarrow river or the opening of Kingcups in the pond.
In 2013, her e-scroll book The Pond at Deuchar was published by Tate with an introductory essay by Clive Phillpot. An exemplar of a digital artist’s book, it visually explores the pond through skimming across the surface onscreen while also enabling the reader to zoom deep down into the watery depths.
The display at Fruitmarket will be a wonderful opportunity to see some rare examples from Douglas’s extensive back catalogue. Other exhibitors include: Museums Press/A Plume, sister of the Glasgow-based independent publishing champion Good Press; JUJU books; Theresa Easton; Tom Kindley; Riard Österlund; and Joanna Robson. Rachel Hazell (The Travelling Bookbinder) will be signing copies of her new publication Bound, while Stills Gallery will host stands dedicated to photographic artists’ books and a Friday evening launch event.
Artists’ BookMarket takes place 9-10 February 2019, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, 11am–6pm
1. Helen Douglas, The Pond at Deuchar, 2011, 14 metres x 27cm hand scroll, printed on Chinese Xuan paper, ultra chrome inks. Silk ribbon edged. Edition of 4. Photo: Weproductions
2. Helen Douglas, LEAVES passing, Weproductions, 2015. 23cm x 13.5cm, 24 pages. Printed colour digital dryprint on Mohawk Ultrawhite 148gsms. Black card cover, embossed title. Hand stitched. Edition 80. Photo: Weproductions
3. Helen Douglas, Insects & Grasses, Published by Printed Matter Inc, on the occasion of the Weproductions retrospective at Printed Matter Inc, 123 11th Av NY, 2018. 9.5 x 18 cm, 20pp. Printed colour HP Indigo on Munken 135gsms. Green card cover, label title, Hand stitched. Edition 175. Photo: Weproductions
4. A Plume catalogue 2017/2018: ‘using the wrong thing to make the sound’ by Rebecca Wilcox; ‘The Future is a Carrot’ on a Stick by Judith Hagan; ‘A Plume Annual Volume One’; ‘Please Touch’ by Giuseppe Mistretta; ‘Very Considerate’ by Edwin Stevens. Available through Museums Press / Good Press Gallery. Photograph: Good Press
5. Joanna Robson, Vasilisa and the Witch’s Fire, 2018. Lasercut concertina booklet 13.8 x 45 cm (unfolded) with accompanying dustjacket, 14.5 x 14.5 cm, unlimited open edition. Photo: Joanna Robson