Herbarium stilt book


Printmaking has yielded another book-like object, and it seems to me this has a Japanese feel, like the two previous ones, quite unintentionally.

This one started as a concertina pocket book, made from two sheets of paper, printed on both sides, using the same plates and colour choices, joined, then the bottom third folded up to create a pocket, and the resultant piece folded again to make an 8-page concertina.

Cuts were made across the folds so that the paper could be pushed against the fold at intervals to make a piano hinge. I inserted narrow bamboo sticks through the folds and hung on them the small labels that were printed at the same time as the main images. The purpose of the stilts was to allow the labels to dangle below the edge of the book, so they could be seen from either side.

The labels had been scattered randomly across the inked-up plates before the print paper was laid across the plate, so there are label-shaped areas interrupting the image, as well as embossing from the shape of the labels and their strings. The labels were turned over and printed again when the next plate was printed. (This is not so complicated as it sounds!)

Once the book had come to this stage, I had to decide what went in the pockets – I had intended the labels to be tucked in them, but they disappeared as the imagery was the same as on the paper, so I had to rethink. Eventually it came to me that it should be some kind of natural material, grasses or leaves. On my morning walk I found fronds from a pine tree that the cockatoos had stripped off, then a small twig with gum nuts and a few leaves. I already had some dried bay leaves, so they were included too. I am really happy with the way this looks, but it may not be the end. I am thinking of printing some contrasting larger labels that will fit in the pockets as the leaves are not really durable. Maybe the labels will have natural imagery on them …

stilt04web stilt02web stilt03web stilt06web stilt07web stilt08web

Printed on Fabriano, each panel 90 x 100 cm, total length 72 cm, bamboo poles 20 cm

Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

18 thoughts

  1. Oh so very cleaver in so many ways. I love the tags and how they interact with the prints on the paper and putting the whole thing on stilts gives it a whole different feel. I like the range of objects that you can put in the pockets to change the piece again. Always a treat to see what you come up with. Karen


  2. Very beautiful and unique. I would love to be in a room with with these. I think the photographs make it appear larger than it really—kind of like a Japanese screen.


    1. Yes Nancy, when I looked at the photos I thought it looks like a full size screen. It’s only small, the bamboo sticks are only 20cm (8″) tall, but the pics make me think it could be interesting big! Thanks for your comment!


  3. Oh Anna .. I’m sat with morning tea enjoying this SO much . You know when an email or post shows up and you just know it’s a real goody .. one that deserves much more than a hasty look .. well yours never fail in that respect . I love the intricate almost red embroidery design on the paper print it’s like a designer fabric ! Pockets for mementos and labels … I could see you taking this further ….


    1. Oh thank you Poppy! I’m so glad you are enjoying these pieces. I have to say I am loving doing them – I have no preconceived notions, ideas just somehow emerge for the ways to work with the prints. I love the idea these are like fabrics or embroideries – in fact, that could add even more new angles! (Lovely to have you back from your beautiful icy sojourn by the way!)


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