Apr 27, 2011

Death of a Pushbike

Okay, sorry I've been away so long. I've spent a month making an 'artists' book.

Ahh, before I get jumped on..... that doesn't mean that I'm claiming to be an artist. It just means that I am making a book in the style of an artist's book. They are quite fashionable here. I can tell that because my local art shop no longer sells much art stuff like paints etc. It sells craft things. And all really, really, really really expensive. So expensive that us poor people can no longer afford to be painters - so it's lucky they don't sell paint.

See, it's a self fulfilling prophecy.

Now of course the book is fantastic. As you no doubt guessed from the above image, it's a rewrite of the Hansel and Gretel story from a feminist perspective with particular emphasis on diverse destinies and the intimate relationship of the the melodious noise the witch makes (as she is being burnt to death) to the alto tenor solos heard in many Post Modernist operas....

Before I started this 'artist's' book, I realised I didn't have a clue what I was doing, so I spent several minutes on an intensive internet search of book making methods. After much aaghing and ooohing and bottom scratching I decided to go with the Japanese Folding style book (JSFB). 

Now why a JFSB? 

Well, to my simple mind it looks easy. No fancy doody Coopernook stitches, no expensive book braces, no arithmetical challenges trying to work out how many folios of  blindfolded flour pages I would need for a 17 and a half  tonne tome. All I needed was a realy, really, really, really long piece of paper.

Well, the best laid plans of men and mice doth go astray.

Now if you don't know Japanes Folding books they are one step removed from scrolls. The difference being is that the JSFB is not rolled, but folded like an accordion. 

The book is about 5o pages long (not bad for four weeks work) and each page is landscaped A4 at 297mm long. So that means, from beginning to end, the book is approximately 15 metres long.

15 Meters? That's where the fun starts. 

Now the last time I played with glue and bits of paper I was about six and young enough to make the discovery that glue tasted pretty good. Apart from that, I recall that I was master of the wrinkle stick, the bubble grab, and the 'oh my thumb's stuck to the back of my ear' move..

Now a lot more than forty years later I have rediscovered that, although I can no longer lick the glue off my toes, I am still am a crappy "gluer."

Ahh, but why am I telling you this? It's because I have this theory that I need to put stuff in the blank black spaces between images.

But the really interesting part about making this book is this: You see,  I have discovered that only people who live in really long houses will be able to read it.

Okay, enough rambling.

About this image? 

Okay. To be truthful it's Giselda. You know, that  girl who was imprisoned in the tower and forced by an old witch named Mary to spin gold into straw. 

In this image Giselda has discovered that, by deconstructing her brother's push-bike and adding the pedals to the Spinning wheel, she can do the job in half the time.

 The raven's are, of course the witches pets, left there to spy on the girl's technique. 

Soon, courtesy of her push-bike pedal discovery (PBD), she will soon be replaced by machines and lose her job. She will then be given in wedlock to the first woodsman who wanders by. The woodman will feel sorry for her because of her left eye traumatic cataract, and the really bad scar she has at the base of her neck. They will have eighteen children, all of which will eventually become associated, in some way or the other, with various medical professions.

:) :)

Thank you so much  for looking at my work. Recently I had the honour of having some work posted, along with the wonderful image maker  Ces, on Illustration Poetry

One of the images from my artist's book is there.

Thanks Mita, you rock :)


  1. Je suis heureuse aujourd'hui de te lire... Ceci dit, parfois "Dame google translate" est un peu folle avec la traduction!!!
    Le beau temps est installé chez moi et je pourrai parcourir votre livre aisément dans mon grand jardin... pas dans ma dollhouse qui ne dépasse pas 20 m2!...
    Votre Giselda a la même chevelure qu'avait ma fille Fauve (maintenant elle a coupé ses cheveux et troqué sa belle couleur contre ces fameuses mèches à la mode!!!). Une chose qui me rassure c'est qu'elle n'a pas rencontré un affreux bûcheron qui lui fasse autant d'enfants!... autrement tout mon argent partirait dans les cadeaux pour eux! grrrrr et ce serait terminé les voyages!!!
    Il faut que j'arrête mes bêtises!
    J'aime tous les détails que vous mettez dans vos illustrations. Les fleurs dans ses fameux cheveux et sa petite mèche avec les perles de couleur... L'atmosphère est bien crée...
    Je te fais de gros bisous et j'espère pouvoir voir prochainement d'autres extraits.

  2. Hey Martine! Comment êtes-vous?

    Désolé je n'ai été tranquille, j'ai essayé de terminer ce projet et de faire mon impôt avant de me jeter en prison. Je suis sûr que la prison serait bien si:)

    Ahh votre fille avait de beaux cheveux? Et elle coupée? Qu'est-ce la malchance? Et un si beau nom. Vous devez avoir le bon goût:)

    Merci de regarder mon travail et vos aimables commentaires. Je l'apprécie beaucoup.

    vous voir bientôt. Gros bisous!

  3. You´re making an accordion-book? How fun! I like those. But you know you need to get it printed, so that all the rest of us can buy a copy! It might be 15 meters long, but I still can´t see that from Norway....
    I like the details in her hand, where I can see the veins and even the bones lying beneath the muscles and skin. Very good indeed!
    Summer is approaching. Maybe I should take up surfing ;-)

  4. I've found your blog through Martine Alison, and I have to mark it to come back, because I was facinating while I was reading the story!and the illustration, of course!

  5. At first I thought you were speaking Russian. I thought Push-bi-ke was a name! Hahahaha!!!

    Haaaayyy! Jesus, Maria, Josef!!! Grabe guid katama! Ahh that is just excited meaningless jabbersmackerringdingding.

    I read this post before but I was so sleepy and did not want to sound like an idiot. Hahah! I am so lazy to finish my current drawing which only needs about 5 mins more of squiggling.

    This illustration is SUPERB!!! You sure know how to draw varmint. No one elevates rodents to a sublime state. I should make your rats my models. I like drawing rats because I hate them so much so they remind me of something despicable in a perfect world. Thank you for the special mention. You are so beautiful! yes, a man may be beautiful. Alright, Never mind. You are so good! No, you are terrific. Congratulations on finishing your project!

    Haaay Arrrrriba!

  6. The girl looks so creepy. How delightful. Mita will be so thrilled to see a witch.

    Sorry, you are an artist and you can't get away from that! Heheheh. Only witches cannot be called artists. I am Grandewitch, just ask Mita - Princess Witch.

  7. This time I read your whole story, Mr. Finnie! I took a day off to finish reading ( I am very slow reader, you know) . As you know here in Holland we have very tiny houses. If I would have your accordion-book I have to buy other 14 houses or piece of land to fit it in !
    And than the Spinning wheel. Great. I have got one too. Sinds we have Louise (sheep- there are some post dedicated to her on my blog) , we need the Spinning wheel as well! Do you know where Giselda lives now? I did not succeeded to spin Louise's wool in to the useful fiber to knit my new socks! I could use some help of Giselda.
    Giselda does not look creepy, but more terrified of work to be done! Spinnig is hard job. ( sinds I try to spin my one leg swelled twice its volume!!!!)
    Have a nice day, Mr. Finnie!

  8. Hahahaha, you and your story made my morning Mr. Finnie. I love the creep factor in this image. Poor girl, imprisoned, forced to work as a slave and blind in one eye. As for the accordian book, one year I decided to make a sketch book. It was a daunting task. I sewed the pages together and then glued the cover to it. I'm very anal and it took me quite a while to complete it because I wanted to be perfect you see. It was not perfect, but it worked. I haven't tried it again. I have a great one now, which I purchased, that is bound in heavy leather, no glue and it only whip stitched lengthwise in groups of pages. The leather wraps and ties. I think if I were ever to do it again, I would do it like this one. It is simple and you don't need a whole house to view it after you are finished ;) I actually love accordion books and have wanted to make one, but just never have. I'm sure that your's turned out very well.

  9. It's true! You are a man of many talents, my friend! How interesting that you took the time to learn a new art technique in bookmaking!
    After studying your latest illustration and its related tale, I can't help but spot eerie parallels between Giselda's world and mine- failing eyesight, married to a wood worker, (minus 17 kids, but the one has an interest in science), an isolated existence this week weaving lavender with ravens squawking outdoors...Hee hee!
    How do you consistently spin these entertaining yarns? Should I have eaten more glue? ;o) I'd like to peek into that crystal ball that you must consult (while I can still see), and visit your friends' sites... Looking forward to another post, here! :o)

  10. I love your "stuff in the blank black spaces between images"! Always a great read, and always interesting images too. Good luck with your book!

  11. One of the best posts I've read and viewed, Andrew. A smile on my face at this time is what I needed. Thank you. Kudos on finishing that book..oh my, 50 pages, and that large of sheets..you are incredible. She is beautifully illustrated..as are all of the details, as your illustrations always are. Someday I should like to see this JSFB, glue bits, blank black spaces with stuff and all. Big hugs to you.

  12. Oh my! Deliciously dark and foreboding! I tell you, you are the master of setting mood through atmosphere. She had better let that cat go so it can do its job! Spinning gold to yarn! HA! I only caught that the second time I read it. Poor girl, trapped in a tower. Still, she is industrious and an optimist. I can tell by the colorful beads and flowers in her hair. And then, yikes, eighteen kids? I would have preferred to stay in the tower, methinks.

    What is a wrinkle stick? Never mind. I'll use my imagination.

  13. you know what i'll be back.
    just wanted to say a little something:


  14. Well you sure managed to produce a lot of work in that much time! I think I need to work harder hahaha. It sounds like a really fun project you did. I'm a terrible gluer as well, there's something about glue that I just can't get the hang of.
    The story here sounds great, just like a fairy tale, and the illustrations as per usual are fantastic, her lovely long red hair is my favourite part :)

  15. Hya janne, oh you should see the mess I am making. I knew I should have studied your blog harder! I can't even fold a straight piece of paper. When I finished the work I was going to thrw tea on it to get that patinated effect... but I think I won't have to. There will be a disclaimer saying, all falling out pages are entirely intentional :)

    let me know if you need wax!

  16. Bonjour Sylviane, wow I just checked your work. Those cherries are superb. And the view over the roofs of Paris, it's so romantic. Strange that eh? Thank you fr your kind words!

  17. Haha Ces, oh Yes he is "Alexander Pushbike, the late Russian president :)
    Did I ever tell you about my eyebrows? I let them grow till they are very long, then a lady from the local hairdressimg association sends a shearer round. They give me fifteen dollars a kilo and use them for hair extensions and fur coats. I think a coat made of my eyebrows is going to presented to the Queen (English) later on this year. I hope she likes it.


    thanks for seeing the varments, err varmets, err rodents. I think I will give one a halo for my next image :)

  18. Heh I like creepy, it reminds me of myself : hehehehehehehheh oops.

  19. art is joken heh, you made me laught thank you, and thank you for reading. I am sure that I can send you an abridged version, maybe just two sentences ... :) Giselda? Ahh I believe that she is working in a fish and chip shop in Battersea in England to supplement her pension... I will get in touch :)

    You know I had to look at a video on youtube to see how a spinning wheel works!

  20. Karen! Ahh yes, being careful is a wonderful talent that you have. I am jealous of yours!

    Mine is to be uncareful... you know, when I wax my board up I throw it in the sand face down, to stop the sun melting the wax... it never occurred to me that it makes sand stick in the wax... that's what my book is like, happy illustrations of children being err ... children, with lots of sand mixed in the glue ...

  21. Michele, glue, didn't everybody eat glue? We had Perkin's paste - strawberry flavoured, and the cardboard added fibre.... :) I hope your eyesight settles down! Is it just presbyopia? Meaning you need reading glasses? Ahh and you missed out the sevnteen children... I can post you some !!! You are very lucky being maried to a woodworker.. my wife wishes she were married to one!

  22. Linda! Thank you. Oh I have to stop mysslf raving on. I have very little self control - though I do stay away from polo matches since I was arrested ... I think I might hang around and get some lessons off you. Kind of passive osmosis, it's true though, images need words so we think they are importnat enough to have words written about them.

    well that's what they teach at uni ;)

  23. Hello Shirley :) Thank you for your kind observations and thoughts. I hope you are well. I would love to show you this book. Maybe I will send it away once it is stuck together? I think it has five kilos of glue... :) So it better be a good aeroplane!

  24. sur l'vivro: Gracias mucho! Se lo agradezco.

    Acabo de comprobar su trabajo. Excelente, muy misteriosa y antigua del mundo y patinado

  25. Bella, ah a wrinkle stick? In Australia we have people who have been hit too many times with the "Ugly Stick." so a wrinkle stick is something similar. In fact I am in the processing of inventing the unwrinkle stick. It works like brown paper bag material.... :)

    Yes she was turning Gold into straw! In a land full of cows, it is very handy. Heh. Thank you again for coming to see my work!

  26. WW, Can I call you WW? Thanks for the pic. :) I think the sentiment is returned thrice! You know what people write about your images, I agree entirely with them, I just woudn't say it - don't want to give you a swelled head or nothing :)

  27. Hya Vanilla, oh I think I am undiagnosed obsessive compulsive in that I am quite happy to work till I drop and then get up and do it again the next day... life is too short to do otherwise. I'm really glad you like the hair, it was an accident, that red colour, but happily so!

  28. Pedal powered spinning wheel! Who knew? Why that one innovation alone could have set the industrial revolution on its head. Amazing.

    An artist's book. Interesting. I went in search of information and found this little tidbit:
    "Once you know what they are, be warned, you have the burden of trying to explain them to others." I have decided not to find out what they are because I don't think I could handle the pressure. Yours sounds very interesting. But then, how could anything you do not be interesting.

  29. grandewitch was right, of course im thrilled!!!!
    you know youre so talented and a good storyteller.

    ps: i think im the one who is honored!!!!!!!!

  30. this is freaking funny, look what i just found!!!!



  31. i forgot...

  32. Hey Andrew! Congratulations!
    Actually I think I understood only half of what I read, therefore I should only say: Congr
    Thank you for your comment, telling me: my friend, my friend, the second my friend I'm telling you. Do you understand, my friend? You told me my friend, my friend, then I say to you my friend, we're friends, my friend!
    Hey, my friend, I think I've been flying over your head! ha ha check this out:

    Well. We will contact
    (I have a question: Why did the front paws of the cat are so stiff?)

  33. Mi suegro decia que los espacios blancos tambien son arte... algo sabrá el caballero.

    Me gusta la idea de tus 15metros de libro... se le puede instalar una linea de tren y proveer bebidas y pasteles mientras dura el recorrido de la lectura.

    Besos y mucha suerte en tus proyectos.


  34. Hey Andrew!
    I love your comments because I never know about what you're talkin!
    It's like watching a silent movie with your eyes closed!
    What an exciting feeling!
    You know, I was in NZ for a long time. four weeks in front of the Tasman Sea. And every morning I got up, opened my window and I screamed waving my hand (obviously facing Australia): Good morning Andrew !!!!... You do not hear me, right? :(
    I would have crossed by swimming, but the water was very cold.


Hya! Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I appreciate your time and thoughts.