Print assemblage – ‘Songbook’


A pile of monoprints has gradually transformed into a book – or a sculpture. The theme of the prints was music, in maybe an obscure way. Some of the plates were made some time ago, others are new, but all were destined to be made into assemblage artworks for a travelling exhibition called ‘Music Box’. The imagery was derived from the shapes of instruments, such as a violin, and the inside of a piano. I had made four artworks some time ago (see here) and am now discarding one and adding another.



The images above show the main pieces that went to make the pages, and the first stages of putting it together. The pages are printed on both sides then folded in half to make a double page spread. To join them into a book form, I placed a wooden rod within each fold then wove coloured leather straps through small slots on either side of the fold and around the rod, then in to the next spread, and so on for 6 spreads. Finally, the long ends of the straps were glued across the front and back of the book as both an anchor and decoration. (See the last two photos.)

I also added smaller pages or pieces of print inside or outside each spread. Some of these were altered with cuts, folds or pieces inserted in them, to add interest and give a sense of dimension to the book. Although I have called it ‘Songbook’, I intend the book to stand fully opened so each page can be seen, rather than be ‘read’ as a conventional book.

The last two images show the book closed, with the spine and straps visible.

Author: anna warren portfolio

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

17 thoughts

      1. I like the idea of revisiting art later and making tweaks. I agree, it is hard to decide when to stop! I guess we all suffer from the “when is it done” moment!

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        1. I have realised recently that this is just the way I work – some people can start one artwork, work on it till it is finished then start a new one. I can’t do that, I have half a dozen things on the go at once, and keep coming back as inspiration strikes. I find they always need breathing spaces!


  1. Such a treasure Anna! Each individual piece is wonderful, but all together makes something much more than the sum of the parts. Thank you for showing me how you made it.

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    1. I do agree that the sum is greater than the parts – with all my printmaking now, I produce pieces that don’t stand alone as an image but provide a path to develop into something new, and hopefully better. Thanks Anne!


    1. Thanks Nancy – I won’t be doing any more to this one, for now at least, once it is out of my hands! The internal pieces seemed essential to me, it lacked interest without them, so I’m glad you enjoy them too!


  2. I do like the way your song book is a package both open and closed. Recently I’ve been looking at pictures of altarpieces (centuries old) that have exquisite paintings on the inside and out. Most of the year they are closed, only opening up for religious ceremonies. Art which conceals itself, only revealing its insides when the artist (or owner) wants to open it up, makes a fascinating object to behold.

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    1. The mystery and surprise of opening a closed book, or altarpiece, is part of the pleasure in creating these kinds of objects. I imagine that the artists that created those ancient altarpieces thought very carefully about how the outside related to the inside, especially considering that they were probably only opened for sacred occasions – the inside would need to be a revelation and a development of the imagery shown on the outside. There is something very nice about continuing an ancient tradition, albeit in a very different form!


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