Disrupted and rumpled
Dim wood, spark bright
A warmed pebble in my hand

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, Disrupted and rumpled, 2017, artists’ book

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, Dim wood, spark bright, 2017, artists’ book

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, A warmed pebble in my hand, 2017, artists’ book


Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison
Disrupted and rumpled
Dim wood, spark bright

A warmed pebble in my hand
8 page concertina artists’ book, inkjet print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm, with covers mounted on gold-trimmed board, housed in a printed slipcase on 225gsm Buffalo board
Printed by Arten (covers, pages)
Printed by Bambra Press (slipcase)
(Each an) edition of 6, with an artists’ proof


A trio of new artists’ books created especially for Looped, our exhibition in the La Trobe Reading Room at State Library Victoria. Following I think all the world is falling, and No longer six feet under, they complete a series of five independent yet related artists’ books, which together weave a tale.

Disrupted and rumpled

The moon rolled in front of the sun, snuffing the light like Wee Willie Winkie come early, “tapping at the window, crying at the lock …. ‘Hey, Willie Winkie, are ye comin’ ben? The cat’s singin grey thrums to the sleepin hen.’’ And I walked through the silvered scene, of a day turned night.

A solar eclipse, folklore tells, and nature feels unordered, unexpected, even animalistic, as the sky wolves of the Vikings chase the orbs of the sun and moon. But an eclipse is also, in ornithological wings, a term used to describe a duck whose markings are veiled during moulting of the breeding plumage.

Suddenly from one celestial body obscuring the light of another to a small bird’s distinctive markings, eclipsed, I feel myself to be a tiny, tiny speck. The path ahead, an unfinished, unfixed, ever changing puzzle.

Dim wood, spark bright

I entered the cage and felt my way along the floor in something of a clumsy crawl, as my eyes played catch-up with my body. Piercing the struts of the timber structure, the light was blinding. I was reminded of Gerald Manley Hopkins falling upon the word ‘shivelight’ to describe sharp lances perforating a forest canopy. Making like Hopkins, strolling through woodland, exploring a new environment, proved a comfort as forms slowly shook off their haze. I extended my arm forward, and pawed at the wall. I collected a splinter under my skin. I cursed the ‘shivelight’, and found no romance in my surrounds, nor interest in coining a word to describe a particular sensation. I cursed the confines of both the hut I was in and the rut of my predicament. I cursed it all.

And it was then, uttering my annoyance, that I noted several pairs of eyes in the darkness. They glowed. They glowered. They did not blink. I retraced my tracks as best I could. So loudly was my heart beating that I never heard them coming for me until it was too late.

gracia haby louise jennison concertina artists book cover

A warmed pebble in my hand

I closed my eyes, to look at the stars. I laid my head, to explore the wilderness. I coiled up upon a rock, to feel what it was to scamper, and glide, and ultimately soar, and I did so knowing that you were my eyes and ears. I blotted out the day, and replanted it anew.

With your hand on my cheek, I looked up at the sky. In the hug of your tail, I felt my skin prickle and burn.

I was stationary, and yet I was leaping. I was warm, and yet I was stone.


Books as Art
Margaret Barca
artlife magazine
volume 27, 2018
cover and pp 27–32

Our exhibition, Looped, features in the article ‘Books as Art’ in the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Societies’ artlife magazine (volume 27, 2018).

Artists’ books are at the heart of the art practice of Louise Jennison and Gracia Haby, who both trained as painters at Melbourne’s RMIT. Their ongoing collaborations — described as “a poetic partnership” by Olivia Meehan in Imprint magazine — see Louise and Gracia write, draw, collage, bind and produce a wonderfully lyrical and intensely thoughtful series of artists’ books.

“We’re inspired by natural history,” says Louise, “but also by dance, music and literature. In short, by a wide sweep of things.”

Louise and Gracia’s project Looped — which consists of five eight-page concertina artists’ books, inkjet-printed, with covers on gold-edged board, each presented in a slipcase — is an example of how flexible the definition of an artists’ book can be. The books have also been displayed stretched out in the glass cases that encircle the dais at the heart of the State Library of Victoria’s Reading Room, so the dais itself becomes
a book.

“Not a book you hold in your palm, but a book that you walk around. One foot, after the other .... turning the cabinet pages with your feet,” they explain.