Book Art Exhibition at the Liverpool Central Library

Picton Reading Room (one of their reading rooms) at the Liverpool Central Library

As I mentioned to people on Facebook before: I had a wonderful Saturday in Liverpool, visiting the city and the exhibition in the Library with the whole family. I am grateful to be blessed with two children who love libraries. Little boy had a little tandrum when we left the library, and another one when we, after visiting the docks, got into the cars and he realized we would be driving home without visiting the library once again. When I told him yesterday that we would be going to the library (in Wollaton), he insisted he wants to go to Liverpool. And right he is: It was a wonderful library, with an architecture where new embraces the old in a quite literal sence: At some parts when walking from new, light structures with lots of glass into the old building, it is actually made such that the old outer brick wall remains visible. The photo below has been taken in the new part and will give you an impression how diverse the different parts look.

little girl and I going up in Liverpool Central Library to see the exhibition

In the first picture above you see one of their reading rooms, obviously part of the old structure. Oddly (I think it is a strange decision for a library) this is a “whisper room” where you can hear every whisper. Our kids celebrated with yelling and had to be taken (i.e. chased) out of it as soon as possible. Right beneath it they had a children’s section, naturally also a round, with carpeted wide stairs that doubled as sofas leading down to a place where now the fair was put up. It had much light, a very child-friendly atmosphere, and also accustics that did not make us immediately the centre of everyone’s attention.

Picton Reading Room (above), Hornby Library (below), and the Oak Room (unfortunately without photo) are the rooms where the library has their rare books and design bindings accessible. You first enter the Reading Room and exhit through a side door to enter Hornby Library, which has another exhit the the Oak Room. It was amazing to see the artist books among design bindings, and very interesting. I was very happy to see a Mark Cockram original for the first time. On the Oak Room a copy of Bird of America is on display. – I never knew it was so big! I took a couple of photos of the design bindings as well, but they are so poor quality, that I don’t want to bother you with them. – There is not much to see anyway.

Hornby Library in Liverpool Central Library with artist book exhibition

Upon entering Hornby Library: The pieces you can see hanging there are 616 Balustrates created by Carol Ramsay specifically for this exhibtion. The cut paper shapes mirror the balustrates on the gallery in this room.

In the far corner you can see Julie Dodd‘s Can’t See the Trees for the Forest. It made for wonderful photos – I think I saw every single visitors taking snaps at it, and I also could not resist the temptation:

Julie Dodd, Can’t See the Trees for the Forest

There were a total of 39 works on display in the Hornby library which made for a pleasantly intimate exhibition. There was a wide selection of different works, a wonderful display of book art in its many shades. I did not snap pictures of all of them, but I thought you would like to see some:

Hannah Fray, Moth

Hannah Fray‘s Moth is a layered accordion structure, with the moths cut out partially to give a three-dimensional feel to them. It is probably easier to understand what I mean when looking at the next picture:

Hannah Fray Moth (behind) and November Moth (front)
Henri Matisse, Jazz (front) and Deborah Neely, Chartres partially visible (back)
Lizanne van Essen, Suspense
Louisa Boyd, Flare
James Reid-Cunningham, Abstract #19

I am sorry but my photo of James Reid-Cunningham‘s book doesn’t do it justice at all. It is a fascinating piece, all angles and lines and points and holes. You will find some more pictures on his website, but I don’t find them much better than what I managed here: It definitely is a book to experience. I wish I could have held it. It made me want to have a go at some more geometry books once again, and pick up where I left with to touch and to cut. Well, back to the topic of the exhibition on hand:

Lynette Willoughby, Textures Book

A simple counts tells you I have failed to photograph a lot of equally fascinating books. I also failed to take a photo of how and where my book was displayed, but well – you know it by now!

As mentioned before, after visiting the exhibtion and fair (unfortunately without photo) we walked through the city to the docks – of course to put a bottle into the river Mersey

me, throwing a message in a bottle into the river Mersey near Albert Dock in Liverpool

As usual, you can read more about that (and see more photos of the docks of Liverpool) on my blog dedicated to the project message in a bottle.

Liverpool is a fascinating city. Unfortunately we did not have time to see much of it. But we already decided to come back again with more time on our hands.

3 replies on “Book Art Exhibition at the Liverpool Central Library”

  1. What a wonderful library!

    My brother gave me a special treat for my sixth birthday. He took me to the main branch of the city library. It looked like a much larger version of the Picton Reading Room. I burst into tears because I knew I could never read all those books!

    Thanks for the mini-tour of the exhibition as well.

  2. Wow. Just wow! Thanks for the virtual library tour and show. Looks wonderful! I’m so glad your book is included in this exhibit, which looks truly amazing. And it’s in such a magnificent setting.

    And to have a son who throws tantrums at the thought of leaving the library? Is it a genetic thing…? 😉

    1. Hi Ellen,

      glad you like the pics. Maybe it is genetic, maybe it is just training, we’ll never know. But we are both grateful to have kids who enjoy books and libraries. I mean, we could have ended up with kids who want us to throw balls at them – and we are both better at reading than throwing balls 🙂

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