Bookmarking Book Art — Mandy Brannan

30 St Mary Axe is a skyscraper in London's mai...
30 St Mary Axe is a skyscraper in London’s main financial district. It serves as Swiss Re’s London headquarters. Designed by Sir Norman Foster architectural studio, built in 2001-2003. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

London’s 30 St Mary Axe is fondly referred to as “The Gherkin,” which a glimpse of the building on the skyline proves unmistakeably appropriate.  Mandy Brannan’s bookwork homage to The Gherkin is as architecturally intricate as the building’s cladding, and somehow more satisfying, perhaps because it’s less pickled.

30 St Marys Axe
30 St Mary Axe

Architecture: Reflections: 30 St Mary Axe

Chine Colle etching using pigmented gampi papers

Chine colle is a process that introduces color and texture into an etching without having to prepare and print additional plates. Any number of lightweight papers can be successfully used for chine colle, but good quality, natural-fiber papers with some degree of lightfastness are most compatible with general etching papers, which are also used in chine colle.

The papers are cut or torn into desired shapes, then dampened between blotters until uniformly moist. A printing paper used for the etching is then blotted to remove excess water. The chine colle papers are then brushed with a coating of wheat paste on one side and placed on top of the inked plate in their desired locations, paste side up.

The chine colle papers adhere to the plate enough to remain undisturbed when the dampened printing paper is placed on top. The pressure from the bed laminates both the chine colle paper and the etching paper. The ink from the plate prints on top of the chine colle papers, creating some interesting and unusual effects with lines, tones, and values.

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This description of the chine colle paper process, which adds to one’s appreciation of the bookwork, highlights a certain synaesthesia of visual perception and tactile perception that one experiences when confronted by her book as well as by the building itself.

What would the “analogue” among ebooks be to this aesthetic insight yielded by the explanation of the technical craftsmanship that went into making this bookwork?

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