Mandy Bonnell, “Bethany Seeds”
Artist: Mandy Bonnell (London, UK)
Title: Bethany Seeds (2013)
Medium/technique(s): Wood engraving, monoprint cutout collage, Digital print and Linocut
Edition size: 15 plus 5 Artist Proofs
Number of pages: 18
Dimensions, scroll: 28.5cm x 47cm x 3.5cm
Dimensions, box: 29cm x 23cm 3.5cm
The Book can be viewed either as a traditional book with turning pages or as a concertina, 28cm x 258cm.
I am interested in the exploration of the book as an art form, which has for me an historical affinity to the tradition of the Sample book, in use for over 300 years.
Originally produced to contain explorative examples of assorted textile patterns and needlepoint often taken from plant life, sample books were also used for detailed investigative scientific drawings and recordings of nature to document the natural world.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, women usually produced these samples, which was frequently considered a feminine leisure activity. However, intrepid Victorian women travelers Marianne North, Constance Cummings, Miss Burgess and Miss Rowe of Liverpool took the pastime of gathering, collecting, researching and recording very seriously and with resonance for their subject matter. They rightly gained respect for the detailed intricacy of their drawings and watercolors from nature.
Within the construction of a hand made book, there is an interaction of touch that lends itself to addressing a specific moment and personal journey of discovery held within a consistent unbroken link between the past and present.
Pattern making is central to my imagery and I prefer to work on an intimate scale, small objects such as insects, shells, small plants and seedpods can be drawn life size. Drawing within the format of a pattern helps me to understand and recognize how important nature and its growth is as a key to creativity.
Through investigative research I have started to draw Typographic punctuation marks transferring them into different patterns and formations to form their own visual narrative.
I noticed that these marks related directly to botanical pattern formations as seen under a microscope.
The time it takes to draw these sequences unites the pursuit of hand stitched needlepoint Botanical samplers as well as forming their own story utilizing a repeated mark within a non-repeated pattern.
I collaborate with British writer and poet Gabriel Gbadamosi who connects my images with a poem that draws on threads of moments, which are integral to the work, allowing a relationship to evolve between the text and image.
In 2009 I received a Residency from The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Connecticut. I was given unique unlimited access to the archives and was able to explore the text based typewriter drawings of Anni Albers.
I drew a seed each day to reflect the time spent there and this book is a response to a selection of those drawings.