Liz Mathews
Lettering artist and studio potter

 

Thames to Dunkirk, 2009; concertina book constructed from 24 handmade paper sheets, each 100cm high x 140cm wide, forming an artist's book 100cm x 70cm x 12cm closed, opening to a free-standing double-sided paper sculpture I metre high and 17 metres long - an almost impossibly large book reflecting the surreal scale of Dunkirk 1940; both sides painted and lettered with two texts juxtaposed:The Retreat by BG Bonallack and some lines from The Waves by Virginia Woolf; watercolour mixed with Thames water; text lettered with Thames driftwood stick. 
Signed one-off now in the British Library; signed limited edition of 50 hand-constructed digital half-size facsimiles of the A3-page-size working model for this book, with acid-free materials and portfolio slipcase: £50.

 

Strand of the Thames, 2009; text from Virginia Woolf's 1939 diary; concertina book made from handmade (Khadi) papers in a form referencing a 1930's photograph album; 16 grisaille watercolours of the Thames foreshore in London, paint mixed with Thames water and lettered with a Thames driftwood stick; 13 painted pages, painted front and back covers and painted slip-case; acid-free papers and adhesive; dimensions closed 22cm x 31cm x 5cm, open 22cm high x 434cm long max.
Signed one-off £750; signed limited edition of 20 same size facsimile hand-constructed with digital prints, acid-free papers and adhesive £75.

 

One such night as this, 2012; text from Every Autumn by Valentine Ackland; an artist's book made from a single huge sheet of handmade paper, painted, lettered, folded and torn into a sequence of pages, but restorable to its original full-size banner form for hanging; in painted portfolio slipcase; dimensions closed 25cm x 25cm x 1.5cm, double page spread 25cm x 50cm, fully open 75cm x 200cm; can be hung horizontally or vertically.
Signed one-off £800.

 

Tatter'd colours, 2012; text by Anne Finch (C17th/18th); artist's book/installation made from 8 linen flag-pages, that can also be hung as heraldic regimental colours; stored rolled in a linen kitbag; pages and case made from French linen, hand-stitched with linen thread, painted and lettered with acrylics, charcoal, chalk, mud, blood, ash; dimensions closed in kitbag 60cm long x 50cm diam., each page 50cm x 80cm, open hanging max 80cm x 8 metres.
Signed one-off £1,600.

 

Paper Wings, 2014; artist's book/installation in the form of an illuminated manuscript with 55 poem-pages and soft covers; text is a cycle of 55 love poems by Maureen Duffy; double-sided concertina book; materials include handmade papers and acid-free adhesives, acrylics and watercolour with snow-melt, beeswax, honey, blood, wine; lettering tools include reed pen, Japanese brush, driftwood stick, clothes-peg and swan's feather; portfolio slipcase; dimensions closed 22cm x 31cm x 10cm, opens to 11.5 metres long x 31cm high. (Paper Wings is shown above in an installation at Enitharmon Press, pre-construction; now constructed it can be displayed free-standing in a continuous cycle or installed overhead.)
Signed one-off £4000. (For limited edition please see below.)

 

The Seasons Alter, 2013; artist's book made from a single sheet of handmade paper, painted, lettered, folded and torn into a sequence of pages, which can be restored to the whole double-sided sheet with an image on each side. The text is from Titiania's speech in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream concerning the disruption of the seasons (a prescient foretelling of climate change) in which the 'mazed world... knows not which is which'.  The text is set in an unending cycle within the form of the book, and taken from the First Folio MSN of 1623; I made it at midsummer 2013, using heavy rain to mix the colours. In portfolio slipcase; dimensions: open fully 52cm x 73cm max; double page spread 17cm x 36cm; closed 17cm x 18cm x 1cm.
Signed one-off £700

 

Other books available:

Crossing Blackfriars Bridge, 2013; text from Virginia Woolf's diary; artist's book made from a single sheet of handmade paper 42cm x 31cm painted, lettered, folded and torn into a sequence of 6 double pages - can be unfolded to whole image for framing; paint mixed with Thames water and lettered with a Thames driftwood stick; in painted portfolio slipcase. Signed one-off £300.  (Many other frameable one-off books of this size and form available: please contact me for catalogue and images.)

Swallows on the Thames, 2011; text by Matthew Arnold - 'where black-wing'd swallows haunt the glittering Thames'; artist's book made from a single sheet of handmade paper 52cm x 70cm, painted, lettered, folded and torn into a sequence of 6 double-pages - can be unfolded to whole image for framing; paint mixed with Thames water and lettered with a Thames driftwood stick; in painted portfolio slipcase.
Signed one-off £600.  (Many other frameable one-off books of this size and form available; please contact me for catalogue and images.)

Stream, 2011; text by William Blake from Canto XII; concertina book of 3 handmade paper pages plus cover; hand-painted watercolours with Thames water and lettered with Thames driftwood stick; painted and lettered soft paper cover and slipcase. Dimensions closed 22cm x 15cm x 1cm, fully open 22cm x 90cm.
Signed one-off £400; limited edition of 20 digital print facsimiles hand-constructed with digital printed images, acid-free papers and adhesives £50 (Other one-off books of this size and form available; please contact me for details.)

From Grass to Harvest, 2013; text from Virginia Woolf's The Years; a double-sided concertina year-book with 24 A3 pages of handmade paper, the front side painted and lettered with a month to a page through the year, the back painted with a continuous wave sequence of text like 'a scroll unwinding'; can be displayed standing open and fixed  December to January in a continuous cycle. Dimensions closed 22cm x 30cm x 6cm, opened fully extends to over 5 metres; constructed with linen tape fixings and painted slipcase.
Signed one-off £1200; limited edition of 20 digital print facsimiles hand-constructed with digitally printed images, acid-free papers and adhesives £120. (Other year-books of this size and form available; please contact me for images.)

MOTHERTONGUE, 1999; artist's book with text by Frances Bingham and images by Liz Mathews; 99 pages digitally printed on recycled paper, some hand-made elements, with 18 images made, photographed, developed, printed, altered, tinted and assembled by Liz Mathews, hand-printed soft covers on handmade papers and bound with knotted linen tape. Dimensions 21cm x 30cm x 1.5cm; limited edition of 100 signed by artist and poet, the first publication of The Pottery Press; a few copies still available at £25.

Paper Wings, 2014; half-size facsimile of the one-off artist's book detailed above setting a cycle of love poems by Maureen Duffy; limited edition of 100 published by The Pottery Press, signed and numbered by artist and poet; with digital printed pages, and hand-printed peg/rope/spiral binding; dimensions 22cm x 30cm x 1.5cm 57 pages with soft covers; £15.

 

Artist's statement and short CV

As a lettering artist, I set words to material as a composer sets poetry to music, allowing text to determine form. I make one-off artist’s books with diverse materials: clay, driftwood, linen, often a single sheet of handmade paper folded and torn into a sequence of pages, yet retaining its original wholeness. Sometimes they're only tenuously booklike, referencing page-sequence, volume-containment or bound narrative; I like playing with scale. I letter and paint with materials relevant to the text including river-water, wine, blood, snowmelt, ash - using unconventional mark-making tools: clothes-pegs, chopsticks, slate-shards, feathers; my favourite is a little Thames-driftwood stick.

Public collections and exhibitions:
My artist's books are in major public collections including the British Library, the Saison Poetry Library at London’s Southbank Centre, and the National Library of Scotland.  My 17m long artist’s book/paper sculpture Thames to Dunkirk was a key piece in the British Library’s 2012 exhibition Writing Britain, and is the largest book in the BL's permanent collection. My artist's book and film Paper Wings were shown at The Material Word: Southbank Centre Poetry Library Selected in October 2014.

Solo exhibitions and installations include:
2014 Sept to Oct Paper Wings: an artist’s book installation at Enitharmon Press, London
2012 April to Sept light wells at the London Centre for Psychotherapy
2011 May Watermark at the Icehouse Gallery in Holland Park, London
2008 April to June Journey from Winter, installation and residency at Saison Poetry Library in London's Southbank Centre

Background:
2006 to now  Potters' Yard Arts, N London
1997 - 2006  Whitechapel Pottery, East London
1989 - 1997  Wisbech Pottery, Cambridgeshire
1986 - 1989  set up first pottery in West Hampstead, London
1980 - 1983  BA Hons Art History, Warwick University

 

Liz Mathews
Potters' Yard
116 Lady Margaret Road
London N19 5EX

020 7697 0881
lizmathews@pottersyard.co.uk
www.pottersyard.co.uk

galleryblog: Daughters of Earth