2018 Libris Awards

Paw Pad Path

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison
12 page, unique state, concertina artists' book, archival pigment print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm, with covers mounted on black-trimmed board, housed in a linen Solander box with inlaid drawing on Fabriano Artistico 640gsm traditional white hot-press paper
Printed by Arten

You’ve got to get dirty in the earth, cold and fearful in the air, singed in the fire, and seasick in the water. You’ve got to scratch, scratch, scratch the world with the same paw or wing movements as the creatures you long to know.
— Charles Foster, Being a Beast

Our long, folded snake of an artists’ book, Paw Pad Path, was prompted by and shaped through chewing over, questioning, and confusing what it might feel like to be an animal, compiled and collaged from paintings which sometimes threw us off the scent. “To thrive as a human being [we] needed to be more of a [fox]” to register the elements on our skin by staying in less rather than covering up as we watered the garden on chillier autumn mornings; to “pay[ing] attention to the world in many planes at once rather than just our usual one or two”. We sought, as we all do, really, and as we still do now, to “[re]learn old tunes .... Sit[ting] in the corner of a field hearing. Say[ing], with Saint Francis, “Hello, Brother Ox,” and mean[ing] it.” Then and now, yes. What does that feel like? What do you know? How can I experience what you do? Lend me your agility and quick responsiveness.

The limitations of our human form make responding as an animal a challenge, but it is through “put[ting] oneself into another’s hoofs, pads, or fins .... [that] the ability to appreciate the interconnectedness of all things” comes. The space between our understanding of the world and how a fox (in a painting) sees the world is vast, but this is what we were thinking, dreaming, scratching, sniffing, living as we worked on Paw Pad Path. It is of the earth as much as of the canvas and of history. And we are delighted that it has been selected for the 2018 Libris Awards: Australian Artists' Book Prize exhibition at Artspace Mackay.

The exhibition runs from Saturday the 26th of May through until Sunday the 19th of August, 2018, at Artspace Mackay (Civic Centre Precinct, Gordon Street, Queensland). The Libris Awards is an initiative of Mackay Regional Council through Artspace Mackay.

Paw Pad Path is a unique state piece, however you can pick up a copy of it as a stapled zine through our online store.

May a lion in a book, a bear in a zoo, a lorikeet perched upon your garden fence, may you feel them differently. “Learn old tunes; eat food that comes from where you are .... Put in wax earplugs, close your eyes, and smell. Sniff everything, wherever you are: turn on those olfactory centres”.


In other good book news, the Australian Book Designers Association recently announced the Longlist for the 66th Australian Book Design Awards 2018, and we are delighted that Prattle, scoop, trembling: a flutter of Australian birds is one of seven books longlisted in the Best Designed Independent Book category.

You can also pick up a copy of the printed edition of Prattle, scoop, trembling: a flutter of Australian birds through our online store.

Incidentally, the unique state version of Prattle, scoop, trembling: a flutter of Australian birds is in the collection of Artspace Mackay, and was acquired alongside our artists' book, Closer to Natural, which was exhibited as part of the 2016 Libris Awards.

(Download the ABDA Longlist.)


 Image credit: Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, Paw Pad Path (detail), 2018