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Minuet ~ le menuet

 Ready to weave paper minuets ~ mini woven artist books

Ready to weave paper minuets ~ mini woven artist books

Today was my woven book workshop. It was called Minuets, a mini artist book workshop of woven visual sound. It was loosely based on the minuet, a courtly dance of French origin for two people which was popular with the European and English aristocracy especially during the reign of King Louis IV of France. In it dancers use small steps following repeated floor patterns of the figure 8. A minuet is also a binary form of musical composition of two repeated sections of eight bars.

Using a 16 fold accordion book structure, this workshops of mini artist books gave participants the opportunity to interweave visual sounds to create their own paper dance. I cut up many strips of the town’s visual soundlines left over from my gigantic artist woven book and showed people how to record their own sounds on their phones and translate these into visual soundlines. 

But it was clear that the most fun people had was using the beautiful French sennelier inks and painting wet on wet with them, creating coloured bands of luminous colours for their book weavings. While the papers were drying, everyone made their own book covers, many using the pages from some of the old French books I had bought from the charity shop. Some pages had supurb illustrations, animals and art deco page border patterns. Everyone got the knack of the tricky corner folds and were soon ready to begin their cutting and weaving.

 One of the workshop participants constructing her mini woven artist book

One of the workshop participants constructing her mini woven artist book

Soundlines of birdsong and ringing church bells were glued onto strips of painted paper then woven through the second strip of folded paper, a paper dance of two. These were glued to the book covers, ribbon ties added and the finished books closed with bows.

One young girl used her ribbon to tie the book up like a parcel. I thought of the line from "A few of my favourite things" song from The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews. I broke into song ~ brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favourite things! I was joined in the chorus by the other English speaking participants and we laughingly had to explain this most English of songs. It was a beautiful finish to the day.

 The finished artist books

The finished artist books

This project was assisted by a grant from Create NSW, an agency of the New South WalesGovernment. The NSW Artists' Grant is administered by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA).

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