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........