Les Bicknell

what is it to make bookart?

bookness - a way to think about the making of books.

In my practice I started out printing books, using them purely as containers of information. My connection to the creative process now is through ideas related to concept of bookness, a whole book philosophy, an art activity that explores concepts and actions relating to the making of bookworks; folding, printing,  sequence, order, time, control.

This concept has been developed over the past 26 years and provided me with a framework for a practice which has encompassed both the making and teaching of books/bookworks/book arts.

The presentation will - 

1 - lay out the concept of bookness

2 - examine what a practice looks like as a result of this thinking using examples,

3 - The hybrid nature of the book form has led to undertaking an extensive range of commissions and exhibitions, some examples of these will used to expand the notion of bookness, specifically recent work within the science community.


Revelation, and an acknowledgement of audience are at the heart of what I do. This lateral approach is what artists bring to a problem.  The world could be viewed as having book-like qualities, which could be explored by making connections within the idea of the page, chapter and binding. The act of how a walk or book evolves through visiting and revisiting, reading and rereading. The bringing together of individuals within structures has at its heart the idea of book. 


Les Bicknell has an extensive history of making that explores the concept of bookness. His exploration of the hybrid nature of the book form has led to undertaking an extensive range of commissions and exhibitions.

The work has been exhibited widely, and is held in many National and international collections including The Rijksmuseum, The V&A Museum, M.O.M.A. New York, Yale Centre for British Art, The Tate Gallery.

His practice includes large scale public art commissions and an extensive history of working within community engagement initiatives.

A desire to collaborate underpins his work, evidenced by his engagement with a wide range of socially engaged situations both within formal education and outside.

Current education posts; Senior Lecturer Textiles Design BA and MA at NUA, Course Leader Camberwell Book Art MA UAL and Year Tutor MA Fine Art Course OCA.