judith waring

livre bio//organic book

Livre Bio exhibited in Marseille

Gunnera manicata leaves, linen book cord, plum stones and gold leaf

29 x 21 x 10 cms

The ideas for my 'végétal' artist's book are informed by research into mediaeval manuscripts, in particular the production and circulation of books in 11th- and 12th-century Byzantium. In exploring the materiality of 'végétal-ness' I experimented with using or manipulating plant-based materials and evolved the concept of the organic book.

Livre Bio exhibited in Marseille

The process of biodegradability is also important and the book will decompose but in a way that challenges Lucy Lippard's much-cited 'de-materialisation of the art object' (1973). My book is compostable rather than merely ceasing to exist. Within this concept there is also a challenge to the long anticipated 'death of the book' and a re-affirming of the book, especially the artist's book, as a valued cultural object.

Exhibition publication Marseille

I made a quire ('cahier') from each of the single leaves which have been cut up. There is clearly a recto and verso (top side and bottom side) of each folium. The leaves are not trimmed but retain their own shape which can be seen in from the paper maquette. Each quire is sown with a figure of 8 binding process using 3 sewing stations. The large veins of the leaves provide the support for the sewing structure.

livre bio was shown in Marseille, France in 2017.

Anemometer (Mare's Tail)

Anemometer exhibited in N. Ireland

Wood, Icelandic dry wool, Majorelle blue

200 x 100 x 100 cm

The Anemometer was made for the RHS award-winning (2009) Walled Garden in the grounds of Bangor Castle, N. Ireland. I researched the Garden's history from its creation in the 1850s, through its decline and subsequent reconstruction in 2008. The basis of my anemometer is a Victorian model from 1846 which operated with 4 hemispherical cups. During the reconstruction of the Garden there were some issues with the prevalence of the plant Mare's Tail. I have used the idea of a Mare's Tail to modify the Victorian anemometer. The Anemometer is dynamic and spins around in the wind but it functions aesthetically rather than scientifically.

Anemometer exhibited in N. Ireland

Anemometer (Mare's Tail) was shown at the ForM Sculpture Exhibition, N. Ireland in 2017.


Folium exhibited in Cambridge

Bodleian hand-made paper (1975), Aida cotton, linen thread, harvested fur (obtained from a natural shedding process), gold leaf residue

46 x 32 x 0.5 cm

The concept was to move beyond and engage with ideas of the 'production' of books and to a large extent codicological research informs the thinking behind the fabrication of this work. The materiality of harvested fur explores the animal-ness of parchment as a surface for text and the visceral, domestic-scale process of its making. The 'parchment' here is unadulterated, hair left in situ rather than depilated while the preserved residue of the skin surface is almost negligible.

Detail of Folium exhibited in Cambridge

The use of vintage paper along with woven cotton offer a visual coalescence with the skin. The tufts of fur mark the surface as a 'text'. This text is fixed by black and red thread after manuscript convention.

Detail of Folium exhibited in Cambridge

Folium turns the form of the manuscript book inside out; here it is both the object and subject of itself. Folium was shown at the New Museums Site, University of Cambridge in 2014.


Image of Tesserae

analogue overhead projector, fabricated faux glass

300 x 300 x 200 cm projection

Tessera is a ‘window’, a mimesis of the refraction of natural light through the medium of glass. This ‘window’ creates a suffused light moderated by changing environmental conditions, those of day/night, sunny/overcast. The intensity of the imaged window is diffused with the disruption of viewers’ bodies, unintentionally or self-consciously, passing by and through. An on-going choreography of the light with shadows and the spectrum of opacity offer a perpetually changing window.

Image of Tesserae

The work was shown in a deconsecrated church over 4 months. The faux glass degraded and the projection morphed from a 'stained glass window' falling to earth becoming an 'organic mould'. The projection occupies a space where a window had not and/or could not have existed previously. It can be seen as a type of fragmentary episode and a kind of oneiric overlay, a short, imagined footnote on various histories.

Image of Tesserae

Tesserae was shown in Norwich, England in 2012.

Rue Visconti, Paris

Rue Visconti

45 gallon oil drum, site specific installation

My work on boundaries and borders was inspired by Christo and Jeanne-Claude's 'Iron Curtain' from 1961/2. I drove 5 x 45 gallon oil-drums in a small van from London to the Rue Visconti, Paris and on a quiet Sunday morning recreated a number of re-imagined versions of 'Iron Curtain'.

This body of work was shown in London in 2010.

Vi Ses (See You)

Vi ses banner

linocut on linen

150 x 150 cm suspended banner

Vi Ses was made for an outdoor exhibition in Denmark. It needed to be ephemeral but also durable as it was on show for a month by the sea. The concept explored absence and the tension between presence and absence. I used the light-hearted iconography of x and o (kisses and hugs) to reflect on the deeper human emotion contained in the 'goodbye'.

Vi Ses was shown in Faaborg, Denmark in 2016.

Four Kilometres

Four Kilometres

wood, spools of linen thread, steel wire

150 x 10 x 5 cm

This work is made from 4 kilometers of linen thread wound on spools tensioned on steel wire and suspended across a wooden support. It was made after I swam the Hellespont in Turkey, crossing from the continent of Europe to that of Asia. The absent element of water might be seen as a potential catalyst to releasing the thread and its tension, dissolving Angst and the trepidation of deep, cold water and the body moving through it, from A to B. The work is poised on its own long thread, like that of the spinning Fates of antiquity. Fragility and strength combine in the materiality.

Four Kilometres was shown at 'Blow My Skirt Up', Chelsea Futurespace, London in 2008.