Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Collective Atlas Details

Hi everybody

I just wanted to repost the details for the Collective Atlas. If you haven't yet contributed or feel the urge again please submit something....

Lets get together and create our...

The idea is to create a representation of the world through people who know the places.

Think of a village/town/city that you have spent time in. The task is to try and represent it the best you can in one simple book.

There are just 2 rules...
The book must only be made from one A4 sheet of paper or card (of your choice) and can only be folded into the format you want. Cuts can be made but the sheet must remain relatively whole – so not cut right in half etc.

You can use one or both sides of the sheet and use any media.

Send your book to:
Somethink Collective
97 Benview

Please include your name on your book. And when sending, please include an email address that we can contact you on to inform you of developments.
The books will be collected with the idea of finding exhibiting opportunities.
They will also be uploaded on to the Blog!

This is an ongoing project, but we are looking for opportunities to exhibit in the new year.

Let's get making!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Iceland Walking

A beautiful contribution from Aine Scannell, with a huge apology from me for not putting it on the blog sooner. I really wanted to do it justice and it has taken some time to get the time to upload this. No excuse though!
This piece combines poetry, print and collage to great effect. The intimate lines of text, hand written, draw the viewer in as we decipher what is being said. The text itself if full of emotion, " birds fly over my pool of tears creating beautiful waves and...:, "isolated voices sleeping and crying". Combined with references to nature and the carefully considered imagery, as well as the deep quality to the printed surfaces, the book takes on a quite peaceful and still feel. The collage and hand made aesthetic of the piece gives the viewer a certain connection with the artist, as well as a personal connection to the place the book represents. There is an air of melancholy that can not be ignored, however this should not be misread as depressing or dark, but rather creates an air of mystery around the book. A really carefully put together piece, down to the intimate package it was wrapped in. A great pleasure to have received it!

Please go and see more of Aine's work and her prints at her website www.ainescannell.com

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Rajeshstan, Rajasthan?

This book was sent in by Varsha Choahan. On the back, a label reads Rajeshstan, which I believe could be the indian for Rajasthan? Please write a comment if you know and I will correct this! The book is a simple A4 sheet folded in two places and covered with a beautiful indian fabric and decorated further by small sequins and the larger gold sequins down the centre. When opened the pages reveal a photo of a traditional snake charmer. The photo is embroidered in parts and embellished with small pearls and a jewel. This gives the viewer a sense of a traditional culture, or perhaps a stereotype? The fabric together with the photo are immediately recognisable as representing India, and it is for the viewer to decipher the meaning of the photo and what this is saying. When standing up, the front folds act as a support and the book is transformed into a portable shrine. This does not seem out of place with the piece, if it was intentional or not. 


This book is by Mariatou N'Jee. What first greets you is strong colours of an evening skyline, lit up like Las Vegas. There's an immediate sense of an active place, of excitement, "Lille - the european capital of culture". On the reverse of the "cover" images is a mix of black an white photos of the town and french text with english translations underneath about the town/region. The text gives a sense of a fun and bright place to go. When fully opened out a large printed illustration is revealed. A busy drawing of places and points of interest in the town. The stylised illustration is gives a real impression of the artist's love for this place. It depicts images we can identify with through deep set stereotypes such as the french cafe culture, pommes frites, and the arts, which the viewer wants to explore further and read. The hand drawn aspect becomes like a diary, a personal account of Lille, and it this personal touch which engages the viewer. An exciting, french, cultural town like Lille, is very appealing! Thank you.

Chippenham, Wiltshire

Claire Selman sent in this contribution piece on Chippenham. The book is simple in structure and on first glance seems to show a a number of images of the town. The images seem quite pixelated giving it an almost CCTV aesthetic. On closer inspection, the images are mirror images, mirrored vertically down the centre line, and the images are also repeated. When it is opened further we see that the images we have been observing are mirrored further, this time along the horizontal centre line. The original images depict places that could be anywhere, and it is the mirroring and repetition that make it interesting. When the viewer turns the paper over, we are confronted with a bright pattern. When viewed closer the pattern is made up repeated images, this time more natural, of a mirrored swan, plants and what looks like grass or ground of some sort. Small hearts also jump out. It is reminiscent of an image from a Kaleidoscope, in fact, so is the whole piece. Pixelated kaleidoscopic images of your average British town, making it anything but average. The place becomes a maze/puzzle that the viewer wants to solve.


This book was submitted by Katie Bradley depicting Burnley. This piece use a combination of hand drawn and printed images, with hand cut lettering on the cover and more cut outs inside. Inside, there are parts to explore by lifting up parts and turning bits over. We discover the city centre and the football stadium, a coat of arms and ideas of history. Modern contrasts with the historic, giving the viewer a sense of history to be discovered. 


Simple in construction and simple in design. This piece is not titled and there was no name with it. An anonymous piece depicting a hand drawn map of an unknown destination. A comment, perhaps, on the idea of "place" and what this means. It could be anywhere, it could be everywhere.


This is James Hirst's submission representing the city of Leeds. A simple folded structure with blank covers opens to reveal sensitive illustrations of some of Leeds' architectural monuments. The drawings are simple yet contain surprising detail, with no written description. When the book is unfolded and opened up we find another drawing, this time of the "heart" of Leeds. This a wonderful revelation at the centre and "heart" of the piece. The image has been created by hand by an artist who understands the place and is at home there, and this is something that really comes across. The hand made nature and simplicity of this book gives it a real warmth that is not lost on the viewer.

Monday, 2 August 2010


A book representing the city of Cambridge. A glossy map of the city has been cut into leaving only the streets and a delicate structure. A spiders web of a city. The simple tones of the streets contrast with the reverse of the map with its bright solid colours. The viewer can see the delicate structure of what makes up Cambridge and is left to fill in the blanks. It could almost be picked up by anybody and filled in to be a different city around the skeleton structure that is provided. An interesting question arrises - what makes a place special? Is it structure or our personal experiences of a place? This piece outlines that question well and gives the viewer much to question.

The National Gallery

The first book on a particular institution as a place - the National Gallery. A really interesting book with much to explore. The piece is made using a pamphlet/map of the Gallery folded up to keep the art work contained. Tiny paintings from the National Gallery have been cut out and hang on threads from inside the open book. The scale of the paintings and their arrangement invite the viewer in for a closer look. The solid nature and weight of the "cover" and the way it is folded make it clear that it is not required to be opened, but rather it is the book as container that becomes interesting. The National Gallery as a container of art is beautifully replicated in this piece.


This delicate piece was submitted by Carol Sowden. Simply folded and made out of a paper tablecloth (as written on the back), the detail is painted with rust and rainwater. This gives a real connection with the natural world and perhaps to how this village interacts with it? Straight forward lines connect focal points in the village such as the school and the mill. Simplicity reflecting, perhaps, a simple and straight forward location? A really sensitive piece about a possible treasure of a place. Thank you so much.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Collective Atlas - Suzhous

The first of a number of submissions from students at Leeds College of Art (this one is anonymous as no name or contact details were written on the work - please leave a comment if this is your work!) on the city of Suzhou in China. The book is constructed using a very fine and delicate paper, folded in half in landscape format and then in a narrow concertina, to form a small narrow piece. On the front we see part of a stamp, in red, of chinese symbols, which in fact are in reverse having bled through from the other side of the paper. When the concertina is then stretched open a photo image appears showing traditional chinese buildings along waterways. When we open the page up we discover why, with interesting hand written facts about the city, which is often described as the "Venice of the East". There are two further images and some red pen that clearly bleeds through from the other side from hand written chinese symbols - no translation given. 
Though simple in structure, the book takes us on a physical exploration - opening and turning the piece over and over as we read the text one way then the other, and find on which side the marks originate. The paper is so light, yet almost like fabric with the soft airy fibres and the striking colour red, in conjunction with the images, immediately instill in the viewer ideas of China and the East. This really could be a pocket size guide of Suzhou's best places. However, it is also much more than that - the delicacy of the piece makes it something to be treasured.

It's been some time since we last posted any work up here, which is entirely my fault (sarah!). We had wonderful submissions from first year students on the BA (Hons) Art and Design Interdisciplinary course at Leeds College of Art posted through to us by the course administrator Scott Lee Crosby. What a wonderful submission to receive - a package full of different and vastly varied places to explore. 
Having not exhibited the Atlas since April, we are now looking at further opportunities to show the collection and spread the word whilst doing so. 

Monday, 12 April 2010

South London

This contribution is by the Somethink Collective's very own Carolina Martinez-Marin, a graduate from the MA Visual Art course at Camberwell College. She has chosen to make a book about South London, where she currently lives. The book is a simple folded piece, which opens the opposite way a "normal" book would open, and contains imagery on both sides of the strong paper/card. The only text  used is in the title - "South London, from a Plane going back Home (Reconstruction). The imagery has been constructed using photos and images which have been digitally re-worked and layered. On the one side the images are deep and intense, with the other side using subtle tones of grey with more delicate pictures including a cup cake, flours, and clouds. The deep colours portray a random landscape including buildings, park areas, a destroyed sofa, a washing line, shrubbery and figure from ages past. It might be a rather gloomy image if the colours were not so vibrant and the contrast so effective. Carolina's hand altered digital images with a "scribble"effect give the viewer an idea of a hazy sketch, of memories and of imagination. They also give the piece a real warmth - a really positive way of viewing the randomness of South London.


Another contribution to the Collective Atlas. This one comes from Margaret Beech ; Calligrapher, Book Artist and Craft Woman. Margaret chose to represent her home town of York using a mono-chrome map of the city as the "base" of the book. On to this she has stuck coloured imagery of places of interest from around the city. On opening the book the viewer is confronted by an intricate fractured concertina revealing spaces through which we can see further into the book. On closer inspection it becomes clear that the book can be opened out in full to reveal the information behind. The architectural structure of the book mirrors the images contained very effectively. The interesting folds reveal little "nooks and crannies" of information as if exploring individual neighbourhoods within York itself. A really interesting and inviting introduction to the city.  

Please explore Margaret's wonderful Calligraphy and Bookwork further here ...