No. 38, November/December 2007
UWE Bristol, School of Creative Arts, Department of Art and Design


Robert Heather emailed info on Gracia and Louise's new website, so we asked them to write a report for the BAN:

We, Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison, work together as a collaborative duo on various joint ventures, and have been doing so since 1999. We use paper as our primary medium to create an ongoing series of limited edition artists' books, several lithographic offset prints, and even sculptural objects folded, cut and molded into shape, as well as a host of zines created on the photocopier machine.

We have been making artworks together, in collaboration, for close to nine years now. The majority of our artwork is both collaborative and predominately with paper, in particular books, or to be more precise, artists’ books. We make artists' books because, put simply, we love them. We are both fine art graduates from RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology). We have exhibited together and separately, both locally, in Melbourne, and abroad, upon occasion. We were awarded the Australia Council for the Arts, New Work for Emerging Artists grant in 2000, and the Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship for Emerging Artists in 2002; two grants that both financially assisted and further propelled our interest in the medium of artists' books.

Our work can be found in various collections. The State Library of Victoria has a set of all of our artists’ books to date, as well as several one-of-a-kind paper creations. They also have a complete set of all of our low tech zines made on the photocopy machine, usually under the fluorescent lights of our local office supply store, Officeworks. You will also find our collaborative work, both artists’ books and other works on paper, in the collections of the Print Council of Australia, Burnie Regional Art Gallery, Ergas Collection, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Latrobe Regional Gallery, Melbourne University, Monash University, RMIT University, University of Wollongong, Warrnambool Art Gallery and many more, as well as in private collections.

Together as a team, we construct miniature worlds that seek to eke out a space removed from its original context. It is not unusual to find hidden in our work a spotted oncilla helping a woman untie her eyelashes; a red fox observing the goings on at a refractory in Beirut; or a Hectors dolphin jumping to clearer waters. Extinct and endangered species also play quite the starring role as can be seen not only in Louise's watercoloured drawings of New Zealand fur seals, Java sparrows, Snowy owls and like companions, but in our artists' books too. The Case of the Lost Aviary (2005), By the Pricking of My Claws (2005), The Dubious Clue (also published under the title, Extinct animals sing the Blues) (2005) and Trouble at Sea (2005) all feature heroes who are extinct… with the exception of the Ivory billed woodpecker recently rediscovered in the Big Woods of Eastern Arkansas after a 60 year absence. Find your place (2007) explores themes previously only touched upon in these recent collaborative artists’ books. Once again it incorporates elements of collage and photomontage alongside forms both real and imagined.

In short, we plunged in knowing little and are unlikely to ever end our affair with the artists' book and all the possibilities the medium holds.

Every four-six weeks, The Book Arts Newsletter is published at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), University of the West of England, Bristol, edited by Sarah Bodman, Research Fellow for Artists' Books.

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Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, By This Unwinking Night, 2012, Latrobe Regional Gallery