The Art of the Book: Book Binding Classes with Sonia Farmer

Fresh Milk’s upcoming resident, Bahamian writer and artist Sonia Farmer, will be offering a series of four workshops on different methods of book binding and design at Fresh Milk in March, 2016. This four week course will examine the intersection of text and the book form. Covering a range of book structures, participants will be encouraged to consider the book as an active part of their storytelling practice rather than as simply a vessel. Each class will build upon the former to provide students who wish to take all four classes with a thorough beginner knowledge in making handmade books and book objects and fresh ideas on how to approach narratives.

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Participants can also take individual classes to explore a particular structure or group of structures that appeal to them. Included in registration for all four classes will be a book-binding kit to continue their practice outside of these workshops.

You can learn more about each of the sessions below. Spaces will be limited, so please email freshmilkbarbados@gmail.com to register your interest. Applications should include a brief bio and reasons for wishing to participate in the course, based on which Sonia will make the final selection of participants. Please indicate when signing up which sessions you wish to attend.

Number of participants per class: Up to 7

Preparation: All materials will be provided for binding, but students are encouraged to bring any decorative papers, magazines or found materials they may want to explore and include in their practice. Each participant will get a basic book-binding kit with a bonefolder, awl, needles, thread and materials/suppliers list if they wish to explore the medium further. Students will also receive how-to worksheets to reference later at home. Other special tools that will be used together in classes, and the correct PVA adhesive will also be provided.

Tea, coffee and drinks will be available during the short breaks, but participants should bring their lunch as the workshops will be 3-4 hours long, depending on the content of the session.

Participants must understand that if they register for Week Two, they must provide a poem by February 15 to include in the class anthology so it can be laid out and printed on the pages that will be bound together before the session. It can be a poem you wrote yourself or just a poem you like.

Week One: Experimental Poetry and Folded Structures
March 4, 10:00am – 1:30pm

Participants will be led through simple binding structures using only folds and adhesives. Considering the “exquisite corpse” exercises of the surrealists, we will explore the accordion book through a collaborative poem and collage, while use of found text will drive an examination of folded books using a single sheet of paper. Participants will leave with two book structures to reference at home and a variety of new approaches to storytelling.

Week Two: Limited Editions, Zine Culture & Chapbooks
March 11, 10:00am – 1:30pm

Moving into book structures using needle and thread bindings, participants will explore simple softcover books and their many applications. Everyone will be encouraged to share a poem of their choice before class (by February 15) that they would like to appear in a class anthology, bound into a limited edition chapbook using the elegant Japanese stab binding. Then, we will explore zine culture through collecting found language and materials into a pamphlet stitch book. The technicalities of edition bindings will be discussed so that participants will be encouraged to explore making their own editions at home in the future.

Week Three: Hardcover Notebooks & Leather Journals
March 18, 10:00am – 2:30pm

In this class participants will leave with two small blank notebooks to fill with their written inspirations. Utilizing the basic cross-stitch, participants will build two multi-signature textblocks to use in two different casing-in methods: a hardcover notebook wrapped in decorative papers with an exposed spine, and a fully cased-in leather journal with rounded spine.

Week Four: Book Sculptures, Objects & Alternative Narratives
March 25, 10:00am – 1:30pm

In this final class, participants will think about how books can challenge their traditional form and become three dimensional storytelling objects. They will explore playful and alternative structures such as simple pop-up techniques, the tunnel book, and the flag book, and consider how alternative materials and unconventional processes can open up new possibilities in narrative structures.

Price: $150 BBD for all four sessions, which includes materials and a personal book-binding tool-kit.

* Persons may choose to sign up for individual classes rather than the full suite, but there is a base cost of $70 BBD for the book-binding kit, and an additional cost of $10 per chosen class (with the exception of Week 3’s session on hardcover & leather bound journals, which will be $50).

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About Sonia Farmer:

A Bahamian writer who uses the crafts of book binding, letterpress printing, hand papermaking and printmaking, Sonia’s work is intimately tied to the Caribbean landscape and identity. Often her work engages with contemporary Bahamian society through the lens of history and mythology, specifically in the realms of feminism and the tourism industry. She is the founder of Poinciana Paper Press, a small and independent press located in Nassau, The Bahamas, which produces handmade and limited edition chapbooks of Caribbean literature and promotes the crafts of book arts through workshops and creative collaborations. Her artwork has been exhibited throughout Nassau including at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, Doongalik Studios, The Hub, & the Central Bank Art Gallery. Her poetry has won the 2011 Prize in the Small Axe Literary Competition and has appeared in tongues of the ocean, The Caribbean Writer, Poui, The WomanSpeak Journal, and Moko Magazine. She holds a BFA in Writing from Pratt institute. Visit poincianapaperpress.com to learn more.

Fresh Milk welcomes Helen Cammock and Emma Critchley to the Platform

Fresh Milk is excited to welcome our first resident artists for 2016, Helen Cammock and Emma Critchley, who will be travelling from London to be in residence with us between February 1 – 26.

Helen, who is of British and Caribbean descent, works with video, photography, installation and text to consider how individual and collective experiences expose structural inequality through exploring the politics of society and visual, spoken and written language and of representation. Her planned project under the working title Myth, Lie and Omission will explore the ‘inopportunity’ of acknowledgement, hidden achievements and perceptions of worth, aspiration and value, particularly as they relate to race and gender, science and invention.

Emma’s practice is rooted in the underwater environment. She is particularly interested in the way sound is perceived beneath the water’s surface, and how this affects our relationship to our surroundings. She will use the residency to explore these concepts and the idea of echolocation as a way of using sound to explore the rich natural environments that Barbados has to offer. By working with a variety of underwater locations, very different to everyday experiences, and placing them within more familiar spaces, she hopes to question notions about the role of the acoustic landscape and our perception and relationship to the spaces around us.

Helen and Emma are taking this opportunity to continue dialogues that they have already begun about filmmaking. Both their concerns and work are very different, but they see a real value in some of the conversations that have emerged, and view this residency as a prime chance for a peer development discourse that is already proving productive for both of them to further evolve.

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About Helen Cammock:

Helen Cammock graduated with an MA from the Royal College of Art, London in 2011. Her work spans photography, video, poetry, printmaking and installation.

Helen says about her work: Using installation, video, photography and text, my practice considers how individual and collective experience exposes structural inequality through exploring the politics of society, of visual, spoken and written language and of representation. I often use archival material and historical points/events that are connected to my subject position. I am invested in the relationship between the individual lived experience and the connection to the wider post colonial context. In constructing narratives that in general pivot around historical or contemporary events the viewer might recognise particular dates, events and speeches, but they are woven into a narrated if fragmented story. I am interested in the idea of authorship – and something I call ‘the audible fingerprint’. I will always be drawn to the question Who represents whom, and for whom?

Recent screenings and exhibitions include:  Hmn4, London, 2016, Carte de Visite, Hollybush Gardens, London, Dec’15-Jan‘16 Transform, Tate Artists Moving Image Screening Programme, Tate Britain, 2015, Changing Room, in Common Place, Brighton Photo Fringe, 2014, Scene, Pitzhanger Manor Gallery, London, 2014 You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows, Hollybush Gardens, 2014, Reach out and Touch Me, Hollybush Gardens, London,2013, London Art Now, curated by Armesden, Lodge Park National Trust, 2013 Oriel Davis Open, selectors Ben Borthwick & Ann Jones.

Her writing has appeared on photoworks.org.uk and Aperture Magazine and she was shortlisted for the Bridport poetry prize in 2015. Helen was Co-Director of Brighton Photo Fringe 2008-12 has has run projects for The Photographers Gallery, London, Open School East, London, Photoworks, London and PhotoVoice, London.

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About Emma Critchley:

Emma Critchley has worked as an underwater image-maker for over ten years. In 2011 she graduated with an MA from the Royal College of Art. Through working with a combination of photography, video and installation she explores the human relationship with the underwater environment. Emma has developed works funded by The National Media Museum, The Photographers Gallery, The Arts Council England, The British Council, the Singapore International Foundation and INTERREG IVC (financed by the European Regional Development Fund). Awards include the Royal College of Art Sustain ‘Moving Minds’ award, winner of the British Underwater Image Festival, finalists in the Saatchi Gallery & Channel 4’s New Sensations, the Saatchi Gallery & Google’s Motion Photography Prize and most recently the Firtish Foundation & Saatchi Gallery’s UK/RAINE award. Her work has been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally, including exhibitions at The Australian Centre of Photography, the ICA Singapore, Gerhard Marcks Haus Germany, The National Portrait Gallery, The Photographers Gallery and the Royal Academy. 

Season’s Greetings from FRESH MILK: 2015 in Review

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FRESH MILK exists because of the tremendous support we receive from artists, our volunteers and the wider community. This has been a great year, and we are pleased to share our newsletter highlighting activities we undertook in 2015.

We wish everyone a wonderful season and all the best for the upcoming year. We look forward to continuing to engage with you then! Fresh Milk wants to kick off 2016 by learning more about what young artists and filmmakers in Barbados are doing. Graduates of the Barbados Community College (BCC), Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination (EBCCI) and all creatives: share your practice with us by sending in a CV, 200 word bio, 500 word artist statement and 5-10 images and accompanying  image list or links to your video files. Send all information in one email to freshmilkbarbados@gmail.com by January 29, 2016.

In the meantime, we invite you to take a look at our 2015 in review newsletter!

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Open Call: Fresh Milk International Residencies 2016

FRESH MILK is seeking proposals from artists working outside of Barbados to apply for our international residency programme in April and May 2016. Available dates for the residencies to take place are between April 11 – May 6, 2016 and May 9 – June 3, 2016.

This residency aims to support visual artists, writers and curators by offering a peaceful working space for a minimum of 4 weeks for creative production, the opportunity to interface with contemporary practitioners living and working in Barbados, access to the on-site Colleen Lewis Reading Room, the chance to broaden understanding of the work being produced locally and regionally in the Caribbean, and to strengthen international networks and relationships. For more information on the residency, application process and associated costs, please visit our International Residency Opportunity page.

The deadline for applications is January 25, 2016.

To see the blogs kept by our past International resident artists, click here.

Maj Hasager & Ask Kæreby – Week 4 Blog Post

Danish artists Maj Hasager and Ask Kæreby who undertook a residency at Fresh Milk during the month of November share their fourth blog post about a very busy final week in Barbados. The end of their trip included everything from research, sound recordings, a catamaran cruise, an exhibition opening, a workshop and our last public event for 2015, FRESH MILK XVIII. Read more about their packed last days below:

It seems now like a distant memory of being warm and sweaty night and day. We have returned to Copenhagen after a detour via London and Cologne, and suddenly the days are even shorter and the evenings and nights seem darker and colder. Winter in Copenhagen is a challenge. It always feels strange to have to reflect back on recent events when shifting location, and it sounds like a voiceover in my mind when trying to reconstruct the pieces and images that go with it.

Our fourth and final week begins in the library of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, which seems to have chosen cryonics as their method for preserving their material. Maj meets with historian Miguel Pena while Ask reads on the formation of workers’ unions and migration to the Canal Zone – until the chatter of his teeth becomes so disturbing that we leave to defrost in the tropical sun. Even this didn’t prepare us fully for the Danish winter though…

We also pay a visit to Government Information Service, located in an unassuming building in the outskirts of town, and seeming to operate with a landline and the phone book as the primary resources. They are the sole distributor of the documentary Diggers, which is the only locally accessible source of footage from the construction of the Panama Canal. As it’s right after lunch, and our contact person is not around, we meet and greet seemingly all employees in the office, as a prolonged discussion over the spelling of the title takes place until we finally leave with DVD and receipt in hand.

Tuesday afternoon we are picked up by a driver, who is struggling to find our location hidden away in the centre of the Island – we are in fact “out of range” according to his company’s definition, and it does feel that way sometimes, which seems curious in such a small place.

We take the hydrophone sailing off the west coast, capturing some wonderful eerie sounds when anchored or wind powered – though any engine active in the entire bay can be heard clearly. As the sun sets, the visual beauty of the surroundings rivals the sonic seascape.

On Wednesday morning Maj meets Annalee to have a studio visit on her work. Exciting conversations unfold before we head off to meet Allison Thompson, the director of the fine arts department at Barbados Community College (BCC), where exchanges on pedagogy, teaching methods and structures are shared. In the evening we are attending the opening of This Quagmire, an exhibition by Versia Harris at the Punch Creative Arena in the Morningside Gallery at BCC.

Wednesday is also the final session of the sound workshop, and everyone chips in with fascinating yet very different compositions. We are also busy preparing for FRESH MILK XXVIII, which is quite a packed evening with both of us presenting work, Maj in conversation with Therese Hadchity, and the Beyond Publishing collective presenting their activities as well.

A packed final week, that somehow sums up the intensity of a month’s residency at Fresh Milk. Our suitcases are loaded with reading material and textile works by Mark King when we leave Walkers in St. George. A huge thank you to the wonderful Fresh Milk team: Annalee Davis, Katherine Kennedy, Natalie McGuire and of course also Barbara and Vere Davis. One thing is for sure: We can’t wait to return.

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This residency is supported in part by the Danish Arts Foundation