Category Archives: artist’s books year book UWE

To Celebrate 40 years of Apul One

To Celebrate 40 years of Apul One

I just realised it is almost exactly 40 years since I created my first artist’s book Apul One in 1975 so there must be cause for some celebration. I was talking to a late friend’s son on Friday and he said that he had taken Apul One to university had read it several times and it had been a bit of a cult ting there. Wish I had known at the time I would have gone there and done a talk etc. Strangely it’s not the first time the book has had ‘cult’ status. Lucien Nunes once told me he had done the same at the Haberdasher’s school. Those of you who know it will know it’s a bit of a strange book. It’s not at all like what a book should be. But it’s me, or it was me, then. I produced it as a kind of scream in the wilderness after working my balls off at college to gain my degree and then beginning to approach the galleries only to find a blanket total non-interest. I predicted accurately as it turned out that that would continue through my life. So I created my own gallery in the shape of a book, or buk as I called it. It could only have b&w images cos colour were too expensive and even then I spent all my savings on ‘publishing’ it. If you want one I shall be at BABE in April and maybe at Baltic in July and I am tinking of creating the long delayed publication of the follow up The Shrewd Idiot in time for the autumn, or Fall as you acrosst the Atlantic would say. I am going to chat with my printer today as to how he can print my plans for it. It’ll be an artist’s book and probably on semi-transparent paper so the pages show thru each other.

Here’s some images of the making and publicizing of Apul One in 1975-76.

The first cover

a1 orignl cova

The wrap around cover front

a1 wrap front

The wrap around cover back

a1 wrap back

The wrap around cover front & back original idea

a design fo A1 wrap cover

Sketch for the image of Apulhed on front cover.


Write up for Apul One by Peter Andrews

a1 PA rite up


Underground poster for Apul One

a1 tube poster

Point of sale poster for Apul One

a1 is shop poster

John St Field aka Jackie Leven 1972

jacky leven 1972

Now funnily enough in one of the ‘comics’ in ApulOne there’s a sketch of Jackie Leven. It’s incredible to think that it was a song by Jackie Leven which triggered all of my recent books about ‘knowledge’ in pots in the last few years. Jackie sang ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ by Kabir


So now the book is in the British Library and the Bodleian along with the national libraries of Wales, Ireland and Scotland because it has an ISBN number, nevertheless if you can’t afford the extortionate price I charge feel free to aks for it there. And I could have represented all the home nations at sport IF I had been good enough at anyting! However it’s in the Tate Artist’s Book Archive on merit having been chosen by Maria White in 2008. My old mate DW did loads of searching yesterday and found all sorts of link to ‘apulone’ on the internet, ta Dunc. You can find Apul-one
Standin on the Bannista Contemplatin the Ways of the Werld & the Farting Donkey


Word Power Books:





and finally here’s the badge, you know the saying ‘got the badge’!

my article is due out today

I saw that today, 17.2.15, someone had been studying my blog archives and looked at 22 ‘articles’ one of which was this one about what constitutes a ‘book’ I have added some illustrations of books I have made and think it is a good time to reblog this post as it is about what the limits are in ‘bookness’, if there are any. Take a look at Anselm Kiefer’s books if you want to know the limit. There’s lots of folk out there who are befuddled about what the term ‘artist’s books’ refers to who ask me to ‘define’ them which those in the field know is impossible as there are as many variations to what an artist’s book may be as there are artists and others out there to create them so the best way I use to describe them is that they are like paintings, in other words they are whatever the maker can dream up

See blArts below the first is mostly about my creation Apulhed, the second is mostly about my book G Batch.

apulhed tingling

October 2013

My first article is due out today in Artist’s Book Year Book edited out of UWE by Sarah Bodman.

I wrote it because I was astounded to find at the end of the 3rd semester of a Master’s Degree course that one of the assessors understanding of what constitutes an ‘artist’s book’ seemed rather, let’s say, antiquated. He was not entirely alone with his view so I decided to take an  stretch on what makes or constitutes ‘book’ or ‘bookness’.

biscit fired set sm

my clay pothi book

In the article I look at ‘books’ before the codex bound book which predominates the shops today. I look at cuneiform tablets in ancient Assyria & Ur, the Tibetan ‘pothi’ book form, scrolls  and some modern artists books which become ‘book-sculptures’, I show examples of  my own take on the 3 forms. So, I put my money where my mouth is and make a…

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 Planet of the Dolphins? (unabridged)

This is the unabridged version of my new blAst for those of you who are not too busy to read its dense detail and not a bit squeamish as it contains details about the results of high explosives in WW1 that some folk may find difficult. The reason I mention them is because I firmly believe, in my naïve and stupid way, that all war and any assault on other humans with intent to kill or maim should be banished. (I don’t mind hard tackles on the field of sport as in some ways that is a way of working off aggression and in fact competition in International sport has proved to be a substitute for conflict on the field of battle!)


Reporting on my contacts with the ‘outside world’, UWE have put out their latest Artist’s books Newsletter and am happy to share that they, Sarah Bodman that is, included the whole of my ‘report’ about the poetry library’s Open Day on pp 39 thru 41 which includes a couple of newstyle visual typo poems. Best to see them in colour


Also on p 42 the Book Art * Art Book 2 show in Colchester’s Slack Space gallery is flagged up. Some of the best Artist’s book makers in Essex will be showing new stuff from Wednesday 4th – Saturday 28th February. Slack Space is open Wednesday-Saturday from 11am-6pm. I am going to read from my poems at the opening on Thursday 5th.


I did offer to put on a show at firstsite whilst the gallery was empty and they did honour me with a reply in which they graciously pointed out “a 5-week long residency by Maria Loboda, during which time she will fabricate a new work in situ” is soon to begin. That is music to my ears because I felt it was such a waste of space to have the walls bare for the time before the next scheduled show in March.


In a way it’s good to have no demands on my time so that I can concentrate my time on preparing my own contributions to the world of artists books and more generally to my vision and creation of the outputs I perceive and wish to make like the new book for the forthcoming BABE in April.


I quote Rabindranath Tagore who wrote a beautiful poem Gitanjali:

‘I gave myself up for lost in the depth of a glad humiliation – in the shadow of a dim delight.’48.

He also thanks his god for ‘Day by day thou art making me worthy of thy full acceptance by refusing me ever and anon, saving me from perils of weak, uncertain desire’14.

‘All desires that distract me, day and night, are false and empty to the core.’38.

(the numbers refer to the ‘verses in his epic poem Gitanjali for which he received the Nobel Prize).


Warning on the words that follow – “This blog gets a bit heavy man, it’s not exactly hip man,” said Neil from the Young Ones, (a great band).

In my last blog I mentioned Solzhenitsyn saying that just after the WW1 a number of old folk offered the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia (including what he referred to as the ‘ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people’ and I suppose the casualties of fighting Hitler): “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” I also related the recent incursions into Ukraine as treading thin ice under which loomed the possibility of yet more war scenarios in this our blighted planet, as if we, or ‘they’ the powers that be have learned nothing from the wars we look back on in this 100th anniversary of WW1 (and commemorations on Churchill who oversaw some heinous actions by British forces alongside his country’s heroic stance against Nazism in the second world-wide tragedy WW2).

Since I posted that blog Russian military craft loitered about 25 miles from Britain, apparently it was Russia’s show of contempt for manoeuvres by Nato forces in Poland after the incursions into Ukraine. There’s a strategic logic to ‘Russia’ wanting parts of Ukraine which could be overcome if Ukraine were to allow Russian access to the sea and Crimea on a friendly basis. Maybe that’s impossible, I don’t know, I’m no expert. But Russia’s moves in Ukraine only began after the Ukranians ousted what seems to have been a puppet governor who seems to have lived the life of an emperor, but he had Russian backing I would imagine because he allowed certain ‘privileges’ to his backers.

Last week I watched Fergal Keane’s report about the aerial photographs taken over the trenches and the unimaginable devastation left by effects of the then latest in a line of war to end all wars, WW1. The revelations were staggering even to me who had studied History to A level (in which we couldn’t study ancient history like I wished to because the exams only allowed coverage of the European modern stuff; WW1 & WW2), I had met WW1 veterans and had heard about interminable repeated accounts of the horrors of the trenches and the sending over to certain death millions of men from books, magazines and TV. This documentary blew my idea of those horrors asunder. I had not imagined a millionth of it. Death in conflict is nasty at any time by any method but WW1 created unprecedented massacres in what can only be described as hell-holes. My home town had lots of men killed in the war, particularly at the Somme. Some of the remnants would have become ‘sappers’, because of their mining backgrounds in the pits of Burnley. These poor bastards had to dig for a year under the German lines before Ypres and lay 450 tons of high explosive. They dug into a chalk soil and used their bayonets to take out tiny bits of chalk which they had to catch before it hit the ground because any sound would have alerted the enemy. They were indeed extremely successful. About 19 explosive caches were sunk deep under the ground beneath German headquarters. They were set off to explode one after the other in a line which ran toward the Germans who would have seen the previous ones going up and would have had no time to escape. The biggest part of a body found afterwards was a foot in a boot. All the rest of the people involved had been blown to smithereens ‘no bigger than a fingernail clipping…minuscule fragments’. The prize? 5 miles of ground and a determination on the part of General Erich Luddendorf to NOT give up but (he decided) to retake every inch of ground lost no matter what the cost. Therefore, Passchendaele. And that is the maniacal thing about WW1, from its unnecessary outset the ‘leaders’ of every side were literally ‘hell-bent’ on continuing the carnage with scant regard for human and material losses. The nearest thing I have read of the mayhem is Kenneth Patchen’s book, The Journal of Albion Moonlight which gives an inkling of the madness of all out war.

Why do I, a man renowned for his sense of fun, give such gory detail above? Because Keane’s documentary brought home to me the true horror of what happens when some men feel they have the right to wage war. That is occurring this minute in Syria. The ruins on the news are reminiscent of the ruins of France after WW1, although no matter how bad they look they are not the result of trench warfare, just more potentially damaging munitions. I am a sad bastard myself, I still agree with John Lennon, Ghandi and the Dalai LamaDa Lama in jug who wish(ed) to do away with war. That very notion, abandoning war, seems like madness to so many who perpetrate war and the manufacture of weaponry. War seems like madness to me. And I want to return to the top of this piece and talk about this absence of god. I don’t mention god in any attempt to push any religious doctrine or say one is better than another, remember Bob Dylan’s words that “the Germans they too had god on their side”. And the Arab world all say they believe in Allah yet they attack one another. And some cultures say their god is more important than any other god and indeed that there is no other god but theirs. Which is almost as mad as the two ‘world wars’ because it is so blind, so selfish, so blinkered so demeaning of the thoughts of ‘others’ who may themselves have perfectly good ideas on what is good and right etc, but to condemn them out of hand by saying theirs is below yours and indeed is ignorant in the highest state of idiocy.

Men have forgotten God? Yes almost undoubtedly. They had their own god but it was a territorial god, still is in many ways. Many out there are fighting purportedly for their version of god, but not any god who would embrace their actions. I believe any god worth its salt would not wish the devastation humans have wrought upon their own species as far back as the history books can go. The god they forgot is a universal well-being. A being well for all of humanity. Maybe humans could rename god, the WellBeing, or BeingWell? But I wouldn’t wish to start another movement.

For me there may be a god. There may be a something behind all existence. I am not bright enough to work it out. Greater humans than me have tried. BUT, I do think that most religions are at their base saying the same things; do not kill, do not covet, do not steal nor do bad deeds etc.

I am not certain there is any ‘after-life’ in any recognisable way, not sure we see our relatives on any ‘other side’, not sure if we come back as better beings, or as slugs if we do ‘wrong’. But I am certain there is part of me that was there when the Big Bang took place, apparently that’s true. And am certain that in my genetic make up, my DNA, there are parts that have come down to me from ancestors thousands of years ago. And that my genetic code is passed on to my childers and down to any who may be born in later times. We do re-incarnate in that way, that can be measured.

Also they can work out which part of the world my ancestors came from and research can find out where a skeleton dug up from the ground after being there for say 1500 years where that ‘person’ hailed from. We live in a marvellous world, let’s look after it, let’s try to safeguard what’s good in it and let’s push to end war. Even without war humans have a pretty hard task. But it’s worth it.

Here’s a beautiful poem by Tagore’s Gitanjali

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day

Runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean cradle of birth and death

In ebb and in flow.

And my pride is from the life-throb of ages

Dancing in my blood this moment.


Here’s It’s a beautiful Day, a great band I was lucky to see at the Bath Festival, Shepton Malet in 1970 doing their version of a song by Fred Neil.

here’s Fred Neil’s original version ‘This old world may never change The way it’s been’

A ‘babyhowdy’ said, ‘this remains one of the most utterly exquisite songs I’ve ever heard! EVERYONE should hear this song, and it doesn’t matter how or where you first hear this masterpiece, so long as you hear it!

and Tim Buckley’s

Maybe one day there’ll be no humans and this will be Planet of the Dolphins. I’m still searching.


Artasblag. Blagasart.It’s a Big Blart.

I’m Bloggin, just Bloggin and I Know you like blogging it too! Thank you Bob Marley. (In about 1972 we stood and watched him at Rolle College Exmouth play about 3 hours before he became ‘famous’, there were about 30 of us. We were lucky, I just kept downing my pint and wiggerling to the sound, went to the bar, gorranutha pint, wiggled back to Bob and his wailing alongsters. I never thought to bring my camera nor invite him and his boys to play football in the afternoon. Talk about missed opportunities.

Now I am taking the blog line, I still take photos but I had to stop playing football about five years ago. Not before I had the chance to play with my veteran side against Jobserve at Upton Park, twas like playing on a billiard table. Lovely.

Now am changing the name of what I do in this blog. It’s a Blart. Blog-blag art. It’s mine, It’s my art as blogs. Artasblag. Blagasart. Back to blart. I blurt my blart!

So, I drop the name blag, too similar to brag, I don’t like to brag but I do like to celebrate achievement. My blart creates and celebrates. Ok, so, I did some articles and may do some more, I got some in the pipeline but they are a distraction from my real creativity. That happens as I paint, draw, write, print etc. My creativity is a happening process, it’s in process. Compiling a blart is a process in which I bring together old and new ideas and ideas come in the process of the bringing together.

Now I am back on the main trail, being a bookman, making up my buk…s. They come in many forms. I have just started my new buk. It has images in it like this


I began making images like that back in 1968

I have been meaning to ‘publish’ them in some form ever since and now am as the Stones sang, ‘Just A Step Away’. In fact it’s coming thru quicker than I ever hoped it would, that first new squidgerat buk. I don’t think it’ll be in the shops by Christmas. Maybe by May it will be BABE? Am chuffed to bits. In a way it’s a getting one thing out the way so I can plough on thru to the other side, did Jim Morrison sing that? And by the way don’t nobody nick the name, It’s mine all mine. ©pete kennedy2013 and way back way way back. I wouldn’t say that but someone in Ghana has nicked my apulhed name, well they’ve temporarily borrowed it cos they can’t keep it cos I invented it, way way back.

Also you can get my recent book, G Batch, from the following link:

just open the link and scroll down it’s about the third book down. My friend Kevin at Allbooks in Maldon has kindly put the book up on his site. If you look at the image of the title page you’ll ‘get’ why I called it G Batch. Some folk have said that that name don’t reflect the contents, too mathematical, so when I do a wrap-around cover I shall re-name it something like, ‘Inside the jug’, what’s inside? The whole of existence. That’s inside the jug, but in my book it’s just an intro. Kevin is also doing a link to my 1975 buk, ‘Apul-One’ in the near future.

“There’s not many books that I’ve read from cover to cover, honestly, very few, but Apulhead is amongst that few. It still resonates with me 30+ years later, I don’t think you’re ever the same after reading it…and I mean that in a positive way!” Alan Williams said of it on Aug 10th 2013. But let’s move to the near past. To the spate of books which I did for my MA. I need to tell you about them:

G Batch, about which Burkhard Quessel of the British Library has said “Anyway, I found and opened it now and must say that it is really quite a beautiful book.”, was like my ‘commercial’ version of the etchings and prose poem I did for my reaction to Jackie Leven’s rendition of Kabir’s astounding poem, Inside this Clay Jug.

Jackie died recently but luckily I had been able to catch up with him in a small folk club in Southend. He told me not to leave it 30 years before we meet again because we would both be dead. Sadly he didn’t stick around long enough for me to get back to chat some more. My whole Clay jug project is dedicated to his memory. I’m crying now just thinking of him and I have seen grown men cry listening to his stuff, other than clay jug. He really touches chords. Ian, IF you can watch this link it will show you Jackie as he performed in 2011 he uses that deep vocal growl from the depths of his Experience. His Experience was profound and he’d really been around.

It is a sad reflection of society that he was not more lauded in his own lifetime, but, that is the way it goes. He did skirt with fame as Doll by Doll and hated it so he spent most of his days as a troubadour. I admired his tenacity. When I saw him at Southend, I thought, where does he stay? Why does he do this? I never got to ask him. Enough people of quality, like Mike Scott and Robert Bly appreciated him. Anyway, he inspired me to do my clay jug stuff. The pot you see on the cover of the G Batch book was made at the start of the project when I intended my ‘book’ just to be six scrolls in a pot, reminiscent of the Dead Sea Scrolls. As I rolled thru the learning curve I came across such a vast body of knowledge and I learned so much, about my Self more than anything, and about all sorts of incredible ideas and their sources that I decided to make some ‘books’ which could also carry the ideas and which themselves would have beautiful qualities.

The first ‘book’ was a poti/pothi, a Tibetan style of book where they don’t necessarily bind the pages, altho sometimes they have holes in each sheet and the sheets drop onto metal spikes in a pile which is then covered on both sides with wooden supports. Sometimes they may bind the sheets with a thong of leather instead of the rod. I decided that my pages were not to be paper but fired clay like the cuneiform tablets the first alphabet was scribed into in Uggarit. So I created a clay poti with some symbols which I cut into the wooden top, a copy is on the back page of G Batch which you can see on Kevin’s site. This would cost you a lot of money to buy and as there is only one I decided to make a book of the writings on each of the pages in a card version, this is now available as a concertina book. The Chinese were making Buddhist concertina books hundreds of years ago so I thought that would be an appropriate way of presenting my pages which are each a condensing down of the ideas of six men I call ‘mystics’, those names represented in the title, ‘G Batch’ .

I also did a series of ‘banners’ which also have some words related to each mystic on. I deliberately made them really hard to read, more ‘word as art’ than word as message! I also used a style of layout reminiscent of the likes of Bochner whose exhibition I saw in 2012 at the Whitechapel. These and the clay poti book with the card replicas will be on display at my next show at The Red Lion bookshop, Colchester in February 2014. Watch this space for more details.

After the clay poti I decided that I wanted to make images of the six ‘mystics’;

G…iorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev (more often known as Gurdjeff)

B…euys Joseph

A…ngeli Silesii

T…enzin Gyatso

Carl… Gustav Jung

H…ermann Hesse.

Which I did from various sources including photos I took of the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, when he came to open the Peace Garden in London and drawings I did of him whilst he was on television. The one of Joseph Beuys I did to put in a pitch to do a T shirt for the show at Royal Academy of his work but it stumbled on the refusal of his estate to allow images of him to be used. Funny that, a man who said everything is art and we can all be artists having his legacy so corrupted. I suppose that’s life, or death. Anyway, I did a series of collages from which I did some master drawings which you can see at Kevin’s site, as they are the main illustrations in G Batch. I then transferred these drawings onto zinc plates and did several etchings copies of each onto Somerset paper. I had to blind emboss a triangle to simulate a ‘folio’ for each print and a rectangle on each sheet for the prose poems I did about each mystic. Karen Harrison says of the ‘poem, “ It’s a brilliant transformation. Maybe it’s a prose poem. I can hear the musicality in the word sounds now. And it’s got a core, maybe like a pot. It must be the dance metaphor weaving through it. I found this version quite moving, (no pun intended!)”

The prints of the words I put onto kozo Japanese paper using an inkjet printer and then had to work out how to stick the extremely fine print onto the Somerset paper base. This I did using Japanese rice glue. And it wasn’t east to get the beautifully finished look. I lost several etchings because the wordprints crinkled. So, now I had 3 ‘good’ sets of the whole pages, two I kept as long sheets and one set I tore carefully in half so leaving a rough edge like you get on the other sides from the paper-making process. Now I had one set which I could ‘bind’ like a book. I tried several different cover ideas including my favoured one a ‘secret Belgian’ form which Mike Sullivan had said would allow the prints to sit flat as the pages were turned. BUT I decided that I did not want to stitch the prints together, they are lovely separate so, having seen many (many) ‘books’ were not stitched in the beautiful book, ‘A 1000 artist’s books’

I decide to build a pouch to hold my prints inside a book cover. I had a model of a small book I had bought in Bruges which had leaves covering the cover and as I had a lovely castor oil plant I decided to use the leaves from that on my cover. To stop the prints flopping around I created a way of binding them in using two leather straps and two little brass studs. I was also able to use a bay stick on the spine similar to the little stick on the spine of my Bruges leaf book.

bukartobjet 002the big leaf book

But that ‘book’ again would cost you hundreds nay thousands of £s  or $s or yens to buy so I did G Batch for the normal person.

I still have lots to say about my recent books and future plans but it’s sunny out and my fingers are aching from all this tapping of the type. So, I shall close for the day. Enjoy.

OOOOPs I fergot!

I fergot to tell you what I dun wid the other two copies of my etchings batch! So, here we go agen. One of em, the least good un or the one with most mistakes, I just rolled and scrolled them into the pot. They cum out at exherbitions and stand like tin soldjas..

north sea scrolls at JDD

And t’other lot, well I call them my ‘Flat scrolls’ a contradiction in terms cos you cannot get flat scrolls cos scrolls are scrolled up documents. Anyway they are in a claret colored burlap covered portfolio what I med. And they may or may not be a book and I don’t give a.. ducking and diving has always been my business.

jo2 042

I didn’t mention my ‘Enbuk’, well that’ll be the day said Buddy Holley. An udder day. My Enbuk is a series of ring bound books with all the notes I did on the run up to making the Big Leaf Book and the pot and all the stuff during my MA course year 2. It’s designed like a catalog I bought at the Dieter Roth show at the Hayward gallery in 1973. The books fit into a plastic box. Since making it in 2013 nobody yet no-one has shown any interest in buying one. Sad that. Mind you nobody has bought any of the work at all. I do it for love.

my article is due out today

October 2013

My first article is due out today in Artist’s Book Year Book edited out of UWE by Sarah Bodman.

I wrote it because I was astounded to find at the end of the 3rd semester of a Master’s Degree course that one of the assessors understanding of what constitutes an ‘artist’s book’ seemed rather, let’s say, antiquated. He was not entirely alone with his view so I decided to take an look on what makes or constitutes ‘book’ or ‘bookness’.

biscit fired set smmy clay pothi book

In the article I look at ‘books’ before the codex bound book which predominates the shops today. I look at cuneiform tablets in ancient Assyria & Ur, the Tibetan ‘pothi’ book form, scrolls  and some modern artists books which become ‘book-sculptures’, I show examples of  my own take on the 3 forms. So, I put my money where my mouth is and make a clay pothi, [which is an amalgamation of the Tibetan form of the ‘book’ (a poti or pothi) and the clay tablets on which cunieform was scribed]bis clay pothi buk smand a ‘pot-as-book cover’ with 6 scrolls inside representing the pages then the whole becoming the ‘book’.

a pot on hextablemy jug and scrolls book

As it happened I stumbled into a roaring ongoing debate with different groups taking a wide range of opinions on it. So, I have to thank the assessor’s limitations as a trigger for a massively positive outcome. Sadly he didn’t see the article so it had no impact on his understanding & marking criteria. But that’s life.

I hope the printer delivered the new ABYB to UWE today and if he or she did then some copies are winding their way to me and I shall have some to sell at my show.

I did a one-man show at the Minories Gallery in Colchester in August 2013. It was an amalgam of images, artefacts and words with action & dance. It was one of my new Performance Art pieces where as in my 1973 Apulhed Performance myself and the audience wore masks. Here’s the first gallery appearance of Cowboy Pete.

Above clockwise are The Gurdzhiev mask, the 1973 audience wearing Apulhed masks and Cowboy Pete tooting his childhood fingers as guns trick at the Minories with his Dalai Lama mask on.