Liz is a book artist who also writes books, working from her studio in West Auckland. She says: “I have always loved words, not just the words themselves but the artistic nature of them. One of my favourite games when I was little, was creating words to look like they sounded. Words such as: THIN, FAT, LONG were delightful to work with. So it’s hardly surprising I ended up being a book artist who writes.”
As an undeniably creative person, what does ‘being creative’ mean to you?
Exploring, pushing boundaries, experimenting, sometimes bliss – sometimes throwing a piece on the floor and jumping on it! But all of it is all part of the fun. I think the world would be a very dull place without art!
What’s your favourite book creation?
A book called One Small Drop. I wanted to create a book that looked handmade but be mass produced. Then a story came to me in a rush along with the idea of how it would look. It was a challenge from start to finish but it is a piece of work I am most proud of as it has extended me in a way no other piece of work ever has.
Are there any New Zealand artists you take inspiration from?
Ailie Snow is my all time favourite NZ artist. She introduced me to book art. She is a textile artist who makes books. I love that she pushes the boundaries of art and is still as excited about it today as when I met her many moons ago!
Tell us a bit about the project you are currently working on.
I am working on producing a series of books like nothing I have ever seen before. I can only work on the books for about half an hour as they are incredibly intense. The stories are being told sideways, backwards on several levels. I have to trust where they lead me!
Why do you make book art?
I love having an idea in my head and watching it transform into reality. I love the feel of the paper in the studio and watching it change when I dye it. I love making art that has a purpose to it as opposed to just hanging on the wall (not that there is anything wrong with that!).
How did you get to where you are now?
I have a background in early childhood education and career/life coaching. I met Ailie Snow and fell in love with the concept of bookmaking, and book art. I just couldn’t stop making books. So I career changed myself from a career advisor to a book artist!
How has your practice and work changed over time?
The books lead and I follow. They have done this from the start. We have been on some fantastic adventures together, met amazing people along the way and constantly evolved and processed in ways I could never have imagined. I am just going along for the ride!
Where do you see your practice and work going in the future?
n 2015 I exhibited at the Frankfurt Book Fair. It really took a lot of my time and focus to get there and recover when I came back. It took me to a new level of creating and gave me a glimpse of the world of books. I saw my future at the fair so I am now working to produce more published books that are book art related.
Tell us a bit about the classes you teach. Who are they for? What do people get out of them?
I teach a variety of book art classes with Dyed and Gone to Heaven been the most popular of all. It is a weekend class in which we explore, experiment and come up with some extraordinary results. I mostly teach women (that’s just who seems to come along) but have had a few men in the classes over the years. My students seem to enjoy the connection with other students, the chance to slow the pace of their busy lives and get into creating with their hands, they do little happy dances and I’ve had many cry at the end with joy!