Tuesday, 22 December 2009


Les Bicknell Eva’s Place Sibton Green Saxmundham Suffolk IP17 2JX
e mailto:l.bicknell@nuca.ac.uk
w http://lesbicknell.blogspot.com/

Selected one person shows since 2000
the lesson - National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Jan 2000
reading landscapes - Focal Point Gallery, Southend, Jan – March 2000
rural but not isolated - Peasenhall and Sibton Youth club. June 2000
sibton - Peasenhall and Sibton Youth club. May 2001
folded space - IP Gallery, Colchester, April 2003
suppose it is true after all? - The Cut Arts Centre, Halesworth April 2005
threads: mapped - Gallery 1.1 Town Hall Gallery, Ipswich Sept 08 – Mar 09

Selected Group shows since 2000
Views across the Pond - Blickling Hall National Trust House 2000
Inside Cover - Touring inc Oxford Brookes, 2001
On Paper. New paper art. - Crafts Council, July – Aug 2001
Edges, Crossings, Thresholds. - Elizabeth Fry Building, UEA, July – Aug 2001
paper past/paper perfect - MoDA, Feb - March 2002
paperworks - Norfolk Creative East Tour, May – June 2002
Right here, right now - the Herbert, Coventry, Sept 2006
looking for - University of the arts, London March 2007
Action/interaction - Chicago Centre for Book and Paper May 2007
Picasso’s Laboratory - St James Cavalier, Centre for Creativity, Valletta Malta 2007
From Book to Book - Leeds Art Gallery, March – April 2008
The Last Book - National Library of Spain, May 2008
imprints - mediatheque La Durance, Cavaillon, France Jun – Aug 2009

Commissions since 2000
Queen’s Suffolk Book.
Creating an editioned book, a one off bookwork and web site for Suffolk County Council in celebration of the Queen’s jubilee visit to Suffolk.

Louth Millennium sculpture project.
A number of interventions around Louth with the sculptor Lawrence Edwards including 3 life-sized bronze figures and floor text panels. The work also involved working with local media to generate text, alongside workshops in schools and the generation of a one-off book and exhibition for the library.

Multi-functional street furniture in the Quayside area and at St Crispin’s Urinal in Norwich.
Developed with Norwich Planning Department a large text fence and ‘functional’ text feature that explored the history of the developed space.

Writing instructions / reading words – a site-specific text based work at the Poetry Society and an artist book Here are my instructions.
Curated, produced and edited by Redell Olsen and Susan Johanknecht with support from an Awards for All grant.

Temporary installation - based on ideas around Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.
Large-scale installation for St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity in Valletta. The piece explored concepts around the science of seeing and the myth of believing.

What is important? – Working on a housing estate in Great Cornard within the Housing Department of Babergh District Council.
This became a 4-year project working to develop a permanent creative shared space. The work included working closely with the residents and all stakeholders to development a shared language with which to develop concepts and drawings. These became final inclusive pieces, including paths, which realigned the estate.

Diss stones
The creation of a work with Diss Town Council and Cittislow sited at a Morrison’s store. The work celebrates the history of the site while providing a talking point for the residents of the town. The piece takes the form of 4 large granite pieces in the shape of buildings formally located on the site with text/equations generated from community involvement sandblasted into it.

A piece for the Hythe area of Colchester which celebrates the stories of the people who used to work, live and play in the area before its redevelopment. The two piece artwork sits either side of a path and the continuous text is derived from reminiscence work with past residents of the area and workers from the laundry. The shapes are derived from the distinctive laundry building roof that was on the site. Supported by Barratt’s and delivered by Colchester Borough Council

Wrapping the Corn Exchange with cornfields and sky
A temporary piece which celebrated the history of the space whilst generating a moment of calm within the town. The 75m x 10m printed piece wrapped Ipswich Corn exchange while it was being redeveloped.

Lead Artist roles since 2000

Artistic Director of the Millennium Gorleston Psalter Project.
A collaborative community art project that included building an art team, working with over 200 volunteers and a team of artists and designers to develop, design, and create a one off Psalter. I then worked in collaboration with musicians, both professional and amateur to enact the book in a performance in the church that was involved in the commissioning the initial Psalter.

Marriott’s Way, cycle path, Norfolk County Council Planning and Transport Department.
Working over 21 miles in liaison with 12 Parish Council, Norwich City Council, Norfolk County Council on the development of an artistic vision for the path. The work over a 3-year period included numerous consultation situations, developing the signage, the creation of a number of sculptural text interventions, the interpretative material, working with the Poet Esther Morgan on a YOTA project and the design of a bridge.

‘Home Zone’, Suffolk County Council Environment and Planning Department.
Redesign of two new streets in Lowestoft within the context of the national 'homezone' design criteria with the residents of those streets, the business's, local and national services. This was a 3-year project and also included in the last year the generation of a creative team to build a new kind of manual for the residents to understand their new street which resulted in many digital interventions, a bookwork, CD ROM, web site and conference.

Earlier Commissions include:
North Kesteven District Council. Alnwick Library. Sustrans.
Scunthorpe Borough Coucil. Essex University. Suffolk County Council
Lincolnshire County Council. Eastern Arts Board. Crafts space Touring
Manchester Metropolitan University. Birmingham City Council Norfolk County Council.
National Museum of Scotland Suffolk College The Minories

Residencies include:
Schools Residencies – 13 years experience of ‘rising fives’ to 6th forms including inset training with Humberside, Suffolk and Norfolk County Council Education Authorities.
Household Waste Disposal Site, Lincoln
Camden Arts Centre
Morton Hall Prison Lincolnshire
Suffolk College
Scunthorpe Library
Norfolk CC P&T Yota
Kesteven House Assesment Center
Engage, Encompass Project UEA
Alnwick Festival
Physical Poetry, YOTA, NCC
Stowmarket Library
Sibton Parish Council
Becon Hill Special School, Ipswich
St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity,

Exhibitions Curator:
mapping knowledge - Dec 94 – Jan 95.
Hosted by CADVAT, Minories, Colchester. 70 bookworks, 50 artists, 6 installations and a bookwork/catalogue on the nature of bookness.
beyond reading - Aug 95.
Hosted by The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea. 6 installations exploring the word within the context of the page, the book and the space.

Recent Grants and Awards:
YOTA - Arts Council 2000
Working for a year with my Parish Council exploring the role of the artist in society. The outcomes were rich and varied including abstract signage, lighting the church, exhibitions in the village hall and editioned artworks each month for every household.
Commission East – Awards for Artists 2001
To work with The Museum of East Anglia Life, the artist Sue Brinkhurst and poet Esther Morgan to work on mapping the collection project.
Commissions East/Eastenglandarts – Awards for Artists 2002
To develop concepts and new work around ‘idea’ a virtual artwork in collaboration with the writer Robin Brooks.
Commissions East/Eastenglandarts – Awards for Artists 2003
Purchase of digital equipment to extend and develop practice.

Published writing and articles:
Artists Newsletter.
Galleries magazine.
Artists Book Year Book.
Catalogue statements as an artist and curator.
Engage 9
Norfolk CC P&T Website

Advisor Board member:
Artist advisor for L.H.C.C.
Panel member for the distribution of individual grants to artists for L.A.B.
Member of the working party validating the M.A. in Book Arts and writing the student handbook at Camberwell College of Art.
Validation panel member for proposed B.A. in Fiber Art/Textiles at Norwich School of Art.
Member of Eastern Arts Board’s Regional Artists Advisory Group, The Year of the Artist.
Board member Commissions East 2007 -

The work has been acquired by numerous private and public collections nationally and internationally including – Blackburn Art Gallery, The Bodelian Library, Oxford, Chelsea Art College Library, Bibliotheque Nazionale, Florence, Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry, Manchester Met University Library, Bibliotheque, Paris, L.C.P. London, The Rijksmuseum, Den Haag, The Victoria and Albert Museum, New York Public Library, H.R.C. Centre, Austin, M.O.M.A. New York, St Martins School of Art, London, Wimbledon School of Art, Yale Centre for British Art.

Les Bicknell is currently working as Course Tutor at University of the Arts London Camberwell on the MA in Book Art and also as Senior Lecturer on the MA in Textile Culture at Norwich University College of the Arts.

Current projects include -

Leiston bench – working with Suffolk Coastal District Council on the creation of an ‘art bench’ for the town of Leiston. The project involves working with all of year 8 pupils from Leiston Middle School, creating drawings at The Long shop Museum that will be developed into designs eventually to be sandblasted into recycled stone blocks and sited in the main square.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


today gave a joint presentation with course leader nick rodgers on the textiles virtual learning environment at NUCA. http://www.slideshare.net/l.bicknell/staff-dev-moodle-presentation we talked about how the textiles course has used the learning environment not just as a notice board but as an embedded tool within the students learning - seemed to go well – we will continue with the philosophy and with the work we are doing – i think its important to link the virtual work with the studio work – textiles is this physical, sensual, kinetic experience – something that doesn’t always translate to the screen – yet.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


working on a number of pieces at the moment - the stringcloud pieces are growing whilst i printed some more elements on the pages of the books started in the summer - it has been interesting to allow the books to evolve - responding to the each part as it is created.

Thursday, 10 December 2009


the week has seen me on the train up and down to london - the final day of the teaching element of the PgClt was all about corralling us to a finished state - a little disappointing - meanwhile a day at camberwell - a group crit around generating text and its role in the book was informative with impressive, professional results and assessing pt unit 1 saw some exciting possibilities for final projects - there is an interesting rigour to this group which rubs off - managed to see the MA Photojournalism course at LCC - recommended http://www.28stories.co.uk/

Friday, 4 December 2009


i’ve been on trains a lot this week and after reading the essays by the pt MA Book Art students and finishing off psychogeography by Will Self i have been working on a bookwork started in the mountains around piegros le clastre and le puy last summer. i was thinking about line scale capture observation audience landscape reading and presence. taking away the audience/reader for the book seemed important for the idea of awe isolation and this absence with the book leaves one with the space for the reader of the landscape in the book of the book.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


the mixed/multiple existence that is my life is in full swing – as ever it has been a busy time recently – the moulsham st project with essex CC in chelmsford is progressing with project group meetings and yesterday a day ‘hanging out’/ observing in the street. it was interesting to spend 5 hours in 100 yards of space the issues become obvious and then magnified. I am looking at the various approaches to working with a creative intervention – the whole street is a book where you can move through space and time and also imagined time – the buildings tell the story of change and possibility, hopes and dreams of individuals and a community. on looking at my files i appear to of taken many images of block work in the pedestrian area – having to consider ‘everything’ when working in the public domain can sometimes be
i come from coventry and every house, school, street and area i played in has either totally gone (and has become either a car park or retail space or just flat) or has altered so much that it ceases to exist as it once was. the place i come from only exists in my head and i can’t go back – this was a theme that came up in a seminar about finish (finishedness) that i gave to the MA photojournalism course at LCC when we talked about our jobs as creative people – the theme of testimony was an interesting one in relation to audience. it was a very lively, positive session with many questions to consider and also for me to think about the links between my practice and photojournalism - and again odd to be back at LCC a building formally known as LCP and where i was a student – i could navigate the canteen and remember a former self and there was a shiver as i turned a corner and found myself in a room previously full of printers, now empty, that i spent enough time printing to put my back into the state it is now!
dying string a summer day cloud ethereal sweeping multiple rich layered blue was an exciting interlude on monday i am looking forward to when i can get some time to work with the 2m prints of digital skies that came off the printer on monday – bringing the two together to make a number of bookworks. The work is a continuum of the large scale piece that i made for the corn exchange in Ipswich.
finally a link to the powerpoint http://www.slideshare.net/l.bicknell/professional-practice-09 around professional practice that i prepared for the 3rd year textile course at NUCA i say prepared as it was never given as they failed to turn up as they had not looked at our VLE as i sat waiting for nonexistent students it was odd to think that 50 people had already looked at it through slideshare – the irony of the content for the session was not lost on friends in the retelling of this anecdote about students and their general lacking........

Thursday, 26 November 2009


i have been working on a body of work over the past year that explores the energy connected with some of the places i walk. the line, here a thread connects, pierces and reveals this idea. this idea of energy relates to both large philosophy ideas that attempt to understand the world, holistic world vision’s such as Gaia hypothesis, ‘formal’ spiritualism and Holism in science as well as a way of making sense of physical aspects of being outside. the work has manifest itself as a series of bookworks

Friday, 20 November 2009


spent the day working between developing a powerpoint for a meeting in Chelmsford developing Moulsham St - looking at surfaces and creating a space that works for everybody and creating images for a series of bookworks around the sky and movement

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


Shing created a wonderful book about his time on the Book Arts MA at Camberwell and has published an interesting book that serves as a document of him time in London - i was pleased to add a comment to the book jacket

Thursday, 12 November 2009


its been a full and busy time recently – visited the Venice Biennial – which was as ever wonderful - 4 days of art from 11.00 – 6.00 in astonishing spaces accompanied by excellent food and blue skies. my work at NUCA continues with my involvement with the BA Textiles in reflective thinking and virtual learning recent seminars include problem solving http://www.slideshare.net/l.bicknell/09-005-problem-solving-lateral-thinking and audiences http://www.slideshare.net/l.bicknell/012-relationships-with-audience my work on the MA’s has a focus on running seminars around the work of students from Drawing, Fine Art and Textile Culture. camberwell is ongoing with a recent seminar looking at the catalogue as a form to interrogate. i have started an interesting job working for/with Essex County Council on the development of a road in Chelmsford and finally there is the continuation of the smoking architecture series.

Monday, 19 October 2009


friday saw the selection of the work and allocation of prizes at the 6th form suffolk art exhibition at Wingfield. a wonderful day looking at dedicated, thoughtful work. we were led by the workbooks (sketchbooks) which illustrated the thinking and wider context of their thinking.

sunday saw the opening, handing out of certificates and a presentation by myself about the use of art and the role of artists in society - http://www.slideshare.net/l.bicknell/opening-suffolk-school-art-exhibition

the catalogue is very smart and has a text about my connection to the creative process.

- catalogue text

Trained as a Graphic Designer at London College of Printing now London College of Communication I started out printing books, using them purely as containers for information, binding images and text. The bookworks I made went onto challenge the notion of what a book could be through developing concepts such ‘bookness’ encompassing ideas like ‘form as content’ and ‘constructing narrative through manipulation’. My working practice takes the elements from the design world of problem solving, such as the idea of a ‘brief’ and combines it with the open possibilities of fine art practice. I have a history of creating pieces that explore the potential of text as image and the relationship between text and image within forms. I work within the public space to develop interventions that are socially engaging, creating work which makes the individual aware of their presence and supports the individual in owning their environment.
I write this to illustrate my connection to some inherent themes embedded within my life. Change is a given but a challenge to us all and we as a society are in constant flux. I have a devotion to the margins, to the edge – to creative activity that is not the mainstream, to the hybrid - the book with its numerous collaborative possibilities that go towards their creation.
My connection to the creative process is through ideas related to book. Dance, music, performance, film and storytelling could be seen as having more in common with the book than the content printed within. Sequence, order, control, revelation, and an acknowledgement of audience are at the heart of what I do. This lateral approach is what artists bring to a problem.
An exploration of the ideas around a sense of place has been at the core of my practice. This could be a personal mapping of my surroundings, working with a Parish Council to celebrate its specialness or researching the history of a specific space to create appropriate and meaningful pieces of public art. I am interested in work that communicates with people and leaves space for the viewer, to enable them to stop and reflect. This has got to be a good thing. The work I am involved in with pupils and students has its roots in attempting to make the world a better place through creativity. I have a belief in art as an enabling force, as a way of engaging with this world, of seeing its beauty and opportunities and supporting the individual in developing their own understanding of what it is to be.


the diagrams created by 1st year students now takes the form of an exhibition in the basement corridor at NUCA the work explored the students connection to the world.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


a good day yesterday at NUCA - the afternoon was spent working on my PgCLT reflective thinking action research project - delivering one of my presentations/seminars on the idea of building a context for your making. http://www.slideshare.net/l.bicknell/09-003-who-are-you-and-how-do-you-think-2104744 the session delivered some interesting outcomes with what is becoming a receptive group – (two groups of 30ish) one of the things i got the students to think about is building a diagram to explain their connections and the influence/value they have in your life – the resulting diagrams are going to form an exhibition at NUCA.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


thought that i would provide a link to a PowerPoint of images of smokingarchitecture i have been collecting www.slideshare.net/l.bicknell/smoking-architecture

Monday, 12 October 2009


in the world of twitter i think that i may be famous - i posted the powerpoint what is bookness? and others around theworld have been looking and talking about it - its all part of my new way of thinking - that of giving stuff away to a/the common good - to see the PowerPoint go to www.slideshare.net/l.bicknell/what-is-book-bookness-09

Thursday, 1 October 2009


an invitation from Tim Wilson, SCC Arts Advisor, to both select and present Suffolk Schools Art Exhibition and Prizes was a nice surprise this week. i have worked with Tim providing INSET training for sessions for Suffolk Art Teachers so it will be good to meet up again with him and fellow artist/teacher Neil Hanger http://www.visualarts-ipswich.org.uk/archive/level2/1999/neil_hanger.asp - i worked with Neil on the Leiston bench. i am on a panel with Jean Page http://www.49andrising.co.uk/jeanpage.htm and Dale Devereux Barker http://www.daledevereuxbarker.co.uk/ – nice people I have worked with before. the exhibition will be at Wingfield Arts http://www.onesuffolk.co.uk/wingfieldarts/ i intend to try and present something about the role of the artist and public perception.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


the first practical session at Camberwell working on the MA Book Art Course was lively with some exciting thoughts on the book, the fold, narrative, structure, form, content, time, sequence, order and revelation. it is a workshop i have run with previous years but the input from the reading I have undertaken around the PgCTL led to more collaborative work within the workshop.

Monday, 14 September 2009


just recieved a copy of Eco Books by Terry Taylor who has used an image of a book of mine to illustrate connections between making books and recycling

Saturday, 12 September 2009


a slide from my action research presentation given at the residential element of the course. from more studentness working on the PgCert - excited to think about the opportunities offered by massification, open access to learning and widening participation. am about to embark with twitter as a push pull communication opportunity and i need to think about a quote by Kevin Kelly – “nobody is as smart as everybody”

the only sadness – as part of my trip i went to the glorious Coventry Cathedral to look at the oak tree that would of grown from the acorn that John Lennon and Yoko Ono planted in 1968 as part of an exhibition but it had been stolen along with the plaque/seat and the susequent 2 trees Yoko had planted as part of the 40th anniversary of the event last year – on reflection i had no need to think about why i now live in suffolk.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009


a week of hanging shows - ma textile culture, ma drawing, both the masters and MNS3. some exciting work with appropriate site specific staging, taking into account the space and the work of others – the final hang will be very good – next week assessment.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


14 days away in france – creating drawings that will become a new book – collecting images to add to the sets – some interesting grave still lives - learning that poor parking is universal  

Tuesday, 4 August 2009


i have finished Profile 2 of the PgCTL - thought that i would post the beginning and the end of the text here.
The purpose, for myself, of signing up for the Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching course has, to a large part been accomplished in that I am beginning to ask questions again. My teaching practice has been re-ignited – there is energy and creativity where there was duty and a job. Attending the 3 days residential element was an intensive experience – being presented with a range of often conflicting educational theories and ideas enabled me as a student to navigate my own path through the words. On reflection this experience has been not unlike a compressed version of the undergraduate student experience – one of being given information, again much of it diametrically opposed. The student moves from being passively presented facts and figures and then undertaking given tasks – effectively a surface activity lacking the depth of real engagement. To the student taking control, developing his or her own learning and being proactive in the pursuit of information..................................................Working with Entwistle’s (1988) cataloguing methods it became evident that there is a degree of conflict with certain teacher – student types. It is obvious if I consider the ramifications around reallocation in relation to my children that as a teacher it is my responsibility to consider very different teaching approaches to individual students and their individual needs. Maybe the re-evaluating of my relationship to responsibility has been the most interesting outcome of the PgCLT so far.


spent the day working on a film using the field next to the house - the hemp looks good with the sun behind it and the final short film will explore themes linked to hemp

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


more coverage for the bench in Leiston is good for the museum and the council - meanwhile I have been exploring some book structures in my studio

Friday, 24 July 2009


redesigned and set up a show detailing how the bench for Leiston was designed and built. the show includes many of the drawings and designs that the children from Leiston Middle school created but were not sandblasted into the stone

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


last night saw the MA Book Arts final exhibition - a really interesting group this year with some exciting possibilities for the future - a packed wilsons rd - a wonderful crowd - several ‘generations’ of Book Art Alumni - the work looked excellent and people looking at books - what more could you ask for - got home at 12.00 ready for a busy day at NUCA for training on AVA today

Sunday, 12 July 2009


a week of planning and reorganising the pdp in relation to the course has also seen me wining an award for my teaching - i must be doing something right!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


well we are in the paper. now the bench exists


one lunch time saw me documenting Susan Johanknecht documenting Finlay Taylor releasing a pair of Camberwell Beauties – a butterfly that was last see alive in Camberwell 100 years ago when this was all fields


two days at Camberwell saw the hang for the Book Arts MA get underway. some exciting work has been presented that will be exhibited in really thoughtful and dynamic ways. stapling a bookwork directly onto the wall was a highlight for me. the private view is on 14 07 09 and the show continues till 19 07 09.