Behind The Scenes of ‘Stories From The Eyes of an Owl’ with Sarah-Jane Crowson

Behind The Scenes

Welcome to our brand new “Behind The Scenes Interview Series” hosted by Marcelle Newbold

For the 2021 Festive Season we are delighted to be working with you on a limited edition artist book, tell us a bit about the history of this collection of images?

These images are the culmination of about three years worth of ideas. Because of the spontaneous nature of the project I had to find and/or create six visually coherent images within a brief timescale and so I drew on some earlier drafts of work that remained incomplete/unresolved and some more recent completed work that I hadn’t already sent out for publication. 

Will you tell us about the major themes and ideas explored, and why you were compelled to develop this specific body of work?

The images use public domain material and rework it, combining very homogenous ‘standard’ images in unusual ways to create something new and different. I’m very influenced by the French philosopher Henri Lefebvre’s ideas about space as having the potential to create alternative narratives, to provoke ideas and celebrate the surrealist, the possible. You’ll also see my avatar in some of the images – the deer-headed narrator. I draw courage from this image – it represents a freeing of self, a celebration of ally-ship. Like other of my work, this also looks at ideas of performance and performativity, and is situated firmly in the tradition of collage and bricolage, a kind of happy finding by chase, the theatre providing a space for the images to share their stories. 

What has been the most enjoyable or satisfying part of the process?

Working with Renée and Rare Swan. It’s highly unusual to chat about an idea with a publisher online and find that the publisher is up for exploring all kinds of not-for-profit activities that are imaginative and curious. Also, our ideas bounced off each other, and our joint dedication to exploring quite how far one can push the goodwill of printers has no boundaries!

And from the Publisher’s Perspective ? A Word from Renée Sigel

STORIES FROM THE EYES OF AN OWL   has been a very spontaneous collaboration with Sarah-Jane. We were in conversation about the artbook Rare Swan Press is planning to release in Autumn 2022, and we discussed how it would be great to do something for the Festive Season 2021. Sarah-Jane offered that she could try to put together a card set, and I suggested how lovely it would be for to be a fold-out piece – to be put on the mantlepiece. Sarah-Jane liked the idea and said she would give it a try. In the meantime I looked at creating a bookmark, that could be included in the presentation of the artist book. It occurred to me, while working on the bookmark, that it would be lovely to use a bookmark as a promotional item for the project that is coming in 2022 also. We agreed, and a snippet of one of the artworks was sent over. This all took place in the period of 10 days – a bit of a scramble, and late nights, and working on different aspects from different geographical places in the world, bringing things together for the release of the art booklet on 1 December 2021. It has been a learning curve for both of us, due to the new government regulations relating to postal and shopping legislation.   A very quick, lightning-quick collaboration – it really is a joy to work with someone with such a clear vision, it is also very motivating to be able to step up and do the same. It has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience,and especially gratifying that it all came together in time.

We hope readers will delight in the booklet as much as we did making it.

STORIES FROM THE EYES OF AN OWL is a special limited edition collaboration between Sarah-Jane Crowson and Rare Swan Press to celebrate Sarah signing with us for forthcoming publication in 2022. ONLY 25/25 are currently available and only 100/100 copies of this limited edition will ever be published. Be sure you don’t miss out.

Stories From The Eyes of an Owl

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