In a bid to get ahead with my work, I have spent three days making a square concertina book that will be exhibited at the University of Dundee in January and February 2023.  I will be exhibiting alongside fellow PhD student Katie Hart Potapoff (who is also producing a concertina book) following a period of collaborative work on Skye in October 2022.  The description of our work is as follows:

“These artist books have emerged as a result of a collaborative exchange between PhD researchers, Alison Price and Katie Hart Potapoff, who at the centre of their respective research projects, explore themes of place and a sense of Being. The collaborative space inhabited by both artists was created in the autumn of 2022, through reciprocal dialogue and acts of presence, while on-site at Loch Cill Chriosd on the Isle of Skye.   

At the centre of Katie’s research is a desire to offer attention to what inhabits the periphery. Through a non-hierarchical approach in her research process, Katie engages in a series of intuitive material encounters that interweave various perspectives and materials in an invitation for the viewer to reconsider relationships with their more-than-human kin.

Alison’s search for Being and capturing a transitory and ephemeral moment with the camera is at the heart of her research. Her aim in practice (and inspired by Nan Shepherd) is to drift into a state of non-conscious awareness, a creative flow, achieved through an intense sense of dwelling and an engagement with another Being in the landscape.   

Present in these art books is the imprint of working alongside the other and a shift in perspective which occurs when one’s Being in place is reflected by another.”   

This is only the second concertina book I have made, the first was under the watchful eye of our workshop leader.   Fortunately, she gave us some written instructions, full of hints and tips that I was able to refer to as I flew solo!  I am very pleased with the outcome but as I worked and completed the various stages of the process, I noted some pros and cons in the finished article.

What went well?

  • The process of fitting hinges to join the six pages together worked well.  I marked the mid-point of the hinge with a pencil line to help me line up the two pages.  I also marked a 1mm or 2mm hinge gap depending on whether the join would fold inward or outward.  I then lay out the pages of the book with the hinges in between.

Joining pages with Handmade Hinges 1 – Alison Price, December 2022

Joining pages with Handmade Hinges 2 – Alison Price, December 2022

  • Having the images on the pages made it easier to ensure they were joined in the right order and with the grain running the same way.   I also had to be very careful not to get glue on the images but at the same time make sure I used the bone folder to ensure a good bond between the hinge and pages.
  • I used Hahnemuhle textured Matt Fine Art paper (310 gsm) to print my work which renders beautiful images as well as being rigid enough to stand strong when displayed.
  • I used Marbled Paper for the covers of my book.  It was easy to handle, allowing for an air-pocket-free surface and providing a quality finish to the concertina book.

What did I learn?   

  • It is important to be very careful with the page binding process to ensure no unwanted glue lands on the pages.  I used light photocopy paper to protect the images and allowed plenty of drying time before making the next join.
  • I used a guillotine to cut the pages to size.  I found that it was not 100% accurate and there was a slight variation in the pages.
  • I used a Longridge cutter to produce the hardcovers of the book.  I found it very difficult to cut the 2mm card to size and resorted to a manual knife to make the initial cuts.  I was then able to finish the job with the cutter.  I need to invest in a better manual cutter. I also had to clean the edges of the covers with an emery board before putting the marbled paper on the board.
  • I found that my pages were not 100% aligned at the bottom.  I need to find a long piece of board which I can use to ensure all pages are in line when I fix the hinges in place.
  • When attaching the cover paper to the hardcovers of the book I found it is little tricky to get a perfect finish on the corners.  I had to make some additional cuts to remove the excess paper.

This is the finished product with a haiku poem attached to the front cover.

The Finished Concertina Book 1 – Alison Price, December 2022

The Finished Concertina Book 2 – Alison Price, December 2022

I am really pleased with my efforts and happy to have ticked another action off my To Do List!


Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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