Wednesday, 20 September 2017


A wonderfully creative day in Chelmsford yesterday - starting out with a site visit to test out the full-size model of the proposed sculpture. Envisioning is an interesting activity and a designer has to have lots - the site has its buildings 'foot printed' with most of the 2nd floors built so you can get begin to get a real feel for the site -  the spaces within, between and around the buildings. I was pleased that the scale of the proposed pieces appear to 'work'. But by getting onto the site the idea of the pieces unfolding up and around the buildings became an obvious development.

Part two was a meeting to discuss the initial ideas and to iron out any issues that came to light within the build, design, installation and placing of the work. It's a kind of pre-mortem - I love the idea of working within 'negative space' of possibilities - not in the negative sense but in a positive anticipating problem way - working with the possible by carving away what is not 'right'. The meeting went well and it looks as if I will get to make 'giant' steel books structures and 'scatter' them over the site - sooooooo excited......

Sunday, 17 September 2017


a morning of thinking about scale whilst admiring a sample for the Goldlay Square work. The overall scale of the pieces in relation to the pattern is interesting to consider and has been highlighted after getting a piece of steel plasma cut. Really pleased with the sample, it has a sense of flow and all the connections that I have been inspired by are embedded within the work.

Saturday, 16 September 2017


just back from an excellent afternoon working at Kings in the capacity of a consultant on a new module for the anatomy school - synthetic anatomy. How the arts think, make, reflect, and evaluate was really valued and it was great to share stories and experiences between the arts practitioners on the team and also to consider how to support the medical tutors and then the anatomy students in the pursuit of new skills around lateral thinking and failing triumphantly. Meanwhile at NUA the rooms are ready and the timetable is set - all we need now are students - the year ahead is going to be most excellent.

Monday, 11 September 2017


starting next to a pool and continuing in my studio the thinking around Goldlay Square is becoming focused - there is still a lot of flexibility in the choice and the proposed construction will enable the making to be creative up to the last moment

Sunday, 10 September 2017


the new edition of the book arts newsletter is out

- check out a listing of my work on page 13, also the artist book yearbook which is as ever packed with excellent texts and useful and informed information about current practice - there is  a 6 page article about the work I've been involved in with NanoDTC


8 days sitting next to a pool enabled time for some reading - Ali Smith - There but for the - a fractured layered thoughtful guide through time, Ian McEwan - Nutshell - laugh out loud solid crafted text, Naomi Alderman - Power - beware, a potential dystopia fable that puts up a mirror to the society we live in, Matt Haig - The Humans - a story to enable us to rethink the world around us, David Grossman - a horse walks into a bar - you are in the presence of a tragic story that needs to be told with some excellent jokes, finally two books a little close to home..... Philip Roth - The plot against America - a what if book ....what if Nazis took over America? Lionel Shriver - The Mandibles - a what if book......what if America had a financial crash and old money and old power floated to the top?

Thursday, 31 August 2017


check out another great show from Emma Powell and Melanie Bush from we love your books - the show is on the theme of intersect  if you want a copy download the jpeg but if you would like a pdf just contact me via twitter @BicknellLes 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017


more drawings in an attempt to rethink or plan the nets - added the image of book structures so the idea of maybe not making sense in terms of being built in the mind could be a part of the work. As ever the tangram is a way of thinking out this puzzle part of the project.

Friday, 18 August 2017


After much learning with illustrator the lazer cutting tests for the Goldlay Square commission look good - really pleased with how the references have become heightened - the  images of books opening and cell structures 'pop' out of the design. Also when you have a physical thing rather than the digital you really get a sense of the scale. Other physical aspects of its materiality become obvious such as how the design creates excellent shadows.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017


Spent the day focused on building Penrose tessellations for the Goldlay Square commission. Working with illustrator to create vector drawings that combine the history of the site - the cell like structures that come from the seed/growth/allotment reference and the open book structures that are derived from the book repository and printers. I really like that the more one looks at the design one can see patterns within patterns and the negative spaces provide a place of play. 

Monday, 14 August 2017


I have a piece of writing in the excellent publication that is the Artist's Book YearBook. unfoldingthinking - Making Book Art with Scientists, is a short piece where I reflect on my recent artist’s residency at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Nanoscience and Technology at Cambridge University, UK. The publication as a whole is excellent - intellegent and incisive texts alongside important information about whats going on in the book art world - pre order here - I'm particulary looking forward to reading Egidija Čiricaitė piece which considers In the Space of Time as she is an alumni of the Book arts Course at Camberwell. Meanwhile a weekend of films - The Box - oddly slow low-fi film with a random alien inspired sci-fi moral dilemma at its heart. Their Finest - jolly japes from Bill Nighy and Brits crew. The Dinner - exciting writing exploring what would you give away to do the right thing. Colossal is an intensely dark film about control and power.

Friday, 11 August 2017


Working on the background research for Goldlay Sq in Chelmsford. Continuing the idea of information and communication whilst making connections with the history of the site.  This has taken two more paths. In the process of the space becoming a place it was the site of an allotment. I have been thinking about the material contained within plant matter. Looking at cell structures and the process of growth. Words such as storage, connections, food and seed are spinning around my head. This is a fairly underlying concept and is at the root of the idea of existence and evolution - this has taken me into the world of Ernst Haeckel. Information and embedded knowledge has thrown up numbers, patterns and sacred geometry. On the other hand the library storage facility and the idea of book have resurfaced. I started to build and draw book structures whilst thinking about the question - What does information look like? The book as an image standing in for knowledge, a container of information, documented and disseminating. To disseminate is to "spread abroad as though sowing seed. The two ideas mesh and point to fundamentals - the building blocks of the material around us.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017


almost a whole day of hand cutting paper to get an idea of potential shadows in what I am now calling proto crystal seating structures - no not really. Reminds me of Bruce McLean's work - Pose Work for Plinths but possibly more casual!

Monday, 7 August 2017


some films - If you like your films glacially slow infused with the intricacies of Japanese gangster culture of  respect but interspersed with intense violence then Beyond Outrage is for you. Meanwhile - great John Denver tracks but unsure if all the scrabbling around in the dirt amounted to much in Free fire, I kind of knew it would be but First Kill is just tiresome, The Mummy is just why? 

Saturday, 5 August 2017


continuing to extend the idea of nets, crystals and systems. A visit to look at the potential of a plasma cutter at has led to thoughts of combining the nets with tessellated patterns. The pieces would be a combination of both geometric art piece and seating - shadows have great potential - aesthetically pleasing and useful! Meanwhile collating distances to everywhere from Chelmsford. The signpost/distance idea is fairly straightforward but rather than buying actual signs they could be cut and galvanised to last forever. I love the idea that everyday the individual looking at the posts will consider their physical place in the world, connecting and joining them to others.

Thursday, 3 August 2017


the mental gymnastics that occurs in the mind when looking at a geometry net is intriguing and something that I've spent the day working on.  The galena crystal structure was the jumping off point for this work, also the idea of a plan and how it is interpreted - it would be interesting to have the drawings of nets and actual solid structures within the space - there could be a form of game play - working out what the net would make and then which it matches to.