Friday, 23 December 2011


a day of cutting – the printing on vinyl is back from the printers and is now in piles ready to be bound into the books for firstsite but that will have to wait till after christmas.
meanwhile some images taken on my trip to Coventry and an aerial view to give you an idea of what it used to look like and a link to a very informative web site about the GEC factory at Copsewood which was were the photographs were taken.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

current CV

I've been sorting out my filing and rethinking my cv so thought that I would post it along with some wonderful christmas parking to add to my collection

CV - Les Bicknell

Education work

Current Education posts

Course Tutor at University of the Arts London Camberwell on the MA in Book Art
Senior Lecturer on the Textiles BA at Norwich University College of the Arts.

Teaching Experience

Lincolnshire College of Art. G.A.D. Graphic Design. 1990 – 92
Suffolk College, Foundation. G.A.D and B.A. Graphic Design. 1992 – 94
Camberwell College of Art. B.A. Graphic Design & Joint Hons. 1993 – 99
M.A. Book Art. 1996 –
Norwich Institute of Art and Design. B.A. Textiles. 1999 – 04
Visiting Lecturer
Brighton University, B.A. Fine Art.
Coventry University B.A. Art & Craft Studies.
Hertfordshire University. B.A. Fine Art.
Humberside College of Art. B.A. Fine Art Sculpture.
Kent Institute of Art and Design. B.A. Communication Media.
Loughborough College of Art and Design. B.A. Fine Art.
Middlesex University. B.A. M.A. Fine Art, Printmaking.
Manchester Met University. B.A. Visual Communication Media.
Norwich Institute of Art and Design. H.N.D. Surface Pattern, Crafts, Foundation, B.A. Visual Studies, Textiles, Fine Art, Contextual Studies.
Suffolk College. B.A. Visual Studies.

Schools Residencies – over 20 years experience of ‘rising fives’ to 6th forms including inset training with Humberside County Council, Suffolk County Council and Norfolk County Council Education Authorities.

Residencies include

1989 Household Waste Disposal Site, Lincoln

1991 Kesteven House Assesment Center

1993 Stowmarket Library

1994 Becon Hill Special School, Ipswich

1995 Camden Arts Centre

Morton Hall Prison Lincolnshire

1996 Suffolk College

Scunthorpe Library

1998 Norfolk CC P&T Yota

1999 Engage, Encompass Project UEA
Alnwick Festival

2001 Sibton Parish Council
2001 Physical Poetry, YOTA, NCC

2007 St James Centre for Creativity, Valletta

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.

bench for Leiston
Working with Suffolk Coastal District Council on the creation of an ‘art bench’ for the town of Leiston. The project involved working with all of year 8 pupils from Leiston Middle School, creating drawings at The Long shop Museum that were developed into designs which were then sandblasted into recycled stone blocks and sited in the main square.

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


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
we are the history of textiles - Dragon Hall, Norwich, March – April 2010
exhibitor - Royal Academy Summer Exhibition July – Aug 2010
Prospero's Library - Studio 75, London April 2011
Modified Expression - National Craft Gallery of Ireland, Kilkenny July – Sept 2011

Grants and Awards since 2000

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 an
Norfolk CC P&T Website

Advisor/Board membership

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
Course 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 - 2010


Frankfurt Book Fair - 1993

Chelsea Craft Fair - 1994 - 97
Represented at Frankfurt Book Fair - 1994 - 97

London Book Art Fair 1994 - 97


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.

My Education

Lanchester Polytechnic, Coventry, Foundation Course - 1982
London College of Printing, Graphic Design BA Hons - 1982 – 85
UAL - Post graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching - 2009/10

Current projects include

Journey to the podium – a commission for Essex County Council – to create a collaborative bookwork with an athlete for the 2012 Olympics.

The big book – a commission to create a bookwork for the learning programme at firstsite gallery.

Interactive print - working with Firstsite, Colchester museum service and Essex schools to develop print around the Berryfield mosaic.

Modified Expression – a touring exhibition developed by the Kilkenny Festival starting at the National Craft Gallery of Ireland in the Irish Crafts Councils head office.

smocking is evil? – research around the relationship between smocking and book binding.

“Between You and Me’ - collaboration with Jeonghee for an exhibition in Korea with the Samwon paper gallery.

rewind – collaboration with Caroline McNamara for the Kaunas/Texere bi-annual.

Thursday, 15 December 2011


a day of rethinking the work around folding and the repeat in the light of going home to visit the spaces where the houses and streets i grew up in and around used to be. the idea of repeat and repetition embedded in the soul is something i am considering at the moment.

Monday, 12 December 2011


spent Saturday in Warwick at the GB Olympic Boccia training – i was there to work with Dan and to show him the work i had done so far for journey to the podium – it was interesting to see people I have only seen on TV or through the web. Andrew Morgan, Zoe Robinson, David Smith and of course Nigel Murray – everybody was so friendly and helpful – I became really interested in Dan’s training and stretching regime – which may become another piece of work.

meanwhile I managed to add to my smoking architecture taxonomy – one that was burnt down!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


when i first came across the wonderful Langlands and Bell in the mid 80s two artists working together in collaboration as one was intriguing and went against everything I had read or been taught about art - the artist as heroic master, a genius of all they survey. the role and position of the artist has evolved since then and collaboration seems de rigour. ss somebody who makes books i understand the very notion of collaboration so it was with this background that i asked Langlands and Bell in the question and answer session after their presentation at UCS to talk about the suspicion they may have encountered during the course of their career. little had i underestimated the role of the 'general public' and local press in warping a discussion of this kind. Langlands and Bell have obviously undergone the hostile, tedious and uninformed what a waste of public money and the woeful is it art? barrage as my question was met with muted hostility and the look of fear. it was a shame as i went to listen to two very intelligent artists whose work i admire and all i learnt was that they have to endure this nonsense. on a lighter note i’m working on a seminar for students on the MA Textile Design at NUCA about context and practice and looking forward to discussing this whole at some length.

Monday, 5 December 2011


still deep into assessments at nuca – now into week three – some really interesting work – some not – onto the draft reports from year 3 - reflecting on what 400 hours of work looks like and if I had a less fragmented life what 400 hours of my work life would look like or maybe the fragmentation feeds each aspect of what i do. spent the day developing more complicated folding for the repeat show and my research in general. tonight off to see Langlands and Bell in Ipswich at UCS after a weekend of film - departures a truly beautiful life affirming film about death and of course life

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


working on the ‘big book’ for first site - along with a manual for teachers to work the book and all the technical stuff around dpi and printing i have been editing all the images down to 20 pages a section – creating double page spreads – these two come from the section titled - abstracted images of the final building – with instructions like - its all in the detail - celebrate and find - point out the design the work is coming together and will be an exciting tool in the education arsenal! its been interesting to consider the idea and role of the author in relationship to this work which straddles the worlds of art and design – the work follows a brief to enable the exploration of creativity, particularly the deconstruction of the exhibitions at first site, whilst being the product of the creative act itself.

Sunday, 27 November 2011


mushroooooooming – its that time of year and i’ve been out and about collecting – meanwhile a busy week of assessments and timetabling at nuca alongside working on the publicity for repeat – a show of the work of people who work on the textile course both visiting tutors and course team. a day at camberwell working on the MA saw the session extending onto 6.15 when it should of finished at 4.00 – but some excellent work needed to be shared and it was the first crit of the year.

Friday, 18 November 2011


between you and me – the exhibition at the Samwon paper gallery in Korea looks good. The photographs show a really diverse approach to the book – so far I have images of the international section and I look forward to seeing the collaboration with Jeonghee. Mine is the sky and string piece and the upturned brown book sculpture!
I had my first print on demand book printed/published this week – its a sequence of images that I have been working on for a year – an element of which was trying to find the correct format for the digitally manipulated images that were taken in the swampy marshland area between Dunwich and Walberswich in Suffolk.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


a creative day of large scale and experimental drawing for textile students at nuca. working with martyn Blundell - year 3 students we looked at scale and touched on collaboration all within the context of their work within unit 7 which is a precursor to their final projects which they start next term – there is some interesting work within the student body and it felt good to set up something ‘old skool’.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


spent yesterday working on the ‘smocking is evil’ project and making design decisions on the ‘big book’ for firstsite, eventually the day culminated in a meeting there – i don’t think i will get over the interesting space – I have also managed to see some shows - Gareth Bayliss at Ipswich art school gallery - some well conceived straight-up designs for t shirts and Joni Smith at Stew in Norwich a wonderful show of insightful crafted pieces which on investigation have a richer meaning.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


another interesting day in the hands of TEDx at Aldburgh. highlights include Vincent Wash’s succinct overview of creativity linked to obsession which will find itself embedded in a seminar at nuca someday soon and the interactive work of Kathy Hinde. it was a pleasure to be in the company Nitin Sawhney listening to him talk about the point of music and finally the Modified Toy Orchestra who gave an excited presentation celebrating the nerd and the effects of standing next to the Hubble telescope before giving a short set finishing up with my MTO favourite Black Star – a good day.

Friday, 4 November 2011


to follow up some of the exhibitions I’m involved with –
Modified Expression is at the County Library in Tallaght, Ireland. Between you and me starts at the Samwon Papergallery_ 649-4, Junggok-ding, Gwangjin-Gu, Seoul 140-220 Korea on the 12th. The Sunderland Book Project at Arts Centre Washington has its last day on 5th Nov, its next exhibited at Durham Xmas Book Fair and then next year off to Bristol for a month. Theresa has really worked hard on the curation and distribution of this.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


its been a busy week so far – a faster than sound at snape – not a bad one, it was interesting to see the wonderful Cynthia Millar and her Ondes Martenot again, although the visual side felt a little unconsidered and repetitive in the first half but it did improve in the second half with some almost exciting channel distortion from Rod Maclachlan. teaching at nuca has been around notions of ambition using images from Venice, exploring how management theory can be used in artistic reflective practice with a P.E.S.T analysis and practical advice on how to develop a context for your making.
the first teaching session at Camberwell saw 25 years of bookmaking – sequence, order, control, revelation, image generation, text, translation, narrative, 35 book structures and 225 images of bookness crammed into 4 hours of contact time. it was good afterwards to go to the private view of overdue an exciting exhibition in the library of the year 2 part-time students work and a chance to meet socially the new students.
looking forward to TED x on Saturday – highlights should be Modified Toy Orchestra who are really extraordinary and blew me away the last time i saw them and it should be great to hear Nitin Sawhney talk after seeing his many collaborations at snape, especially with Akram Kharn.

Sunday, 30 October 2011


back from the Venice Biennale. i am a little overwhelmed just thinking about some of the wonderful work i saw over the 4 days. in my role as lecturer i have several hundred images that i have taken with a view to talking about them to students over the next 6 months – the subjects range from – the idea of archive, the role of documentation both as art form and how to display and access, the floral, the role of the artist as protagonist, activist and testifier, materials their use and meaning and the idea of how to exhibit process. in my role as artist the idea of ambition and scale has sparked in me a desire to get some things printed very large!
and then there are the highlights – Venice! – i will never tire of riding the vaporettos late at night but in terms of the art moments there are so many - but to name a few they have to be Lee Yongback in the Korean Pavillion, especially the video piece angel soldier, the painful madness of Christoph Schilingensief’s German pavilion – the design of the Austrian pavilion, Fernando Prat’s act of printing actual disasters, the warmth of Domink Langs collaboration with his dads sculptures, Hungary’s car crash opera, the darkness of Serbia with Dragoliub Rasa Todosijevic, the subtly of Alejandro cesarco’s photo drawings of cloth, Dayanita Singh series of photographs of archives titled File Room and Yto Barrada, Family Tree and telephone books will stay with me alongside the wondrous ambition of The Clocks by Christian Marclay.
now to work.....

Saturday, 22 October 2011


a sharing session as part of the journey to the podium enabled the artists to present a range of interesting work but the individual process of making and thinking rather than the outcomes was more useful.
during the day i added some images to my collection of public non-designed designed spaces and a pond that I have been documenting over the year.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


just back from Hopton Holiday Village after 3 days of a residential course with year 1 textile students from nuca – a wonderful creative experience of drawing workshops, bonding exercises, lateral thinking and problem solving all within a holiday complex. It will stay with them forever!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


it was good to show a group of teachers the plan for the big book for firstsite at a learning to look presentation last night. the presentation included some sample pages from the contents of the 10 books which go to make up one large bookwork. the images range from a collection of mind bending optical illusions to a collection of images from my ongoing archive juxtaposed with each other - all an attempt to generate a range of possible narratives.
the feedback after the presentation that focused on the idea of a book as a tool was positive – i now have to finish the designs, get it printed and then bind it – so still a fair bit to go.
meanwhile I have finished the bookwork for journey to the podium. the folder has two sections sewn into it - one a colophon and the other a text piece written by Dan and typeset by myself that gives a real flavour of Boccia.
and finally I have in my hand a copy of the firstsite berryfield leaflet with the perforations – i am really pleased with the feel of the print and it really has gone down well.

Monday, 3 October 2011


faster than sound – quite possibly the most complete combination of sound and visuals so far with the wonderful Christian Marclay creating a film sound collage piece that was responded to by live musicians including a brass band. I was first taken with his work when I saw telephone – a collaged film of people answering the phone amassed from various films and then mesmerised by a huge projection of Video Quartet at Tate modern – Iooking forward to seeing the clock when we go to the Biennale in a month’s time – can’t wait.
before that we were treated to Ephemera – a piano piece with a graphic score of torn printed matter with pieceds of both actual and invented musical notation which was performed by Steve Beresford and Manga Scroll – sound effects collected from manga comics and graphically written into long text piece a interpreted by vocalist Elaine Mitchener in the intimate space upstairs at snape.

Friday, 30 September 2011


working on a number of projects at the moment and enjoying the cross fertilization between them - the folding structures for the show at nuca titled repeat which were Informed by the work for the exhibitions Modified Expression and Between You and Me are feeding the cover design for journey to the podium and that work has connections to the big book for firstsite.
meanwhile fresher’s week at nuca saw me running a session around group work and problem solving – as ever the images don’t really show where the work happened – the glorious conversations between the students -
Modified expression - the show organised by Kilkenny Arts Festival is being toured by The Crafts Council of Irelands National Craft Gallery The tour dates are Tallaght Library, Dublin: Oct 21 – Nov 26 2011 and Galway City Museum: Dec 2011 – May 2012. I have a body of work in the show which was in response to the new poems of Gerard Smyth.

Friday, 23 September 2011


after a long day of folding, cutting and gluing I have finished the 12 copies of boccia the bookwork i was commissioned to make as part of journey to the podium. there is a proposal to have a show which is centred around the theme of repetition for the staff who work on the BA Textile course at nuca and i am struck by the production lines i have created as part of this and seemingly every project i work on.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


half-way through spray painting the pages of boccia - really pleased with the system I’ve created to make the work and the effect of the spray-paint on the paper makes sense in terms of the research i have done around projectiles, especially the cannon ball trajectory drawings of Leonardo da Vinci.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


working on the journey to the podium bookwork – developing the spray painted pages with an intricate masking technique – the printers in Colchester called and wanted me to pop over to sign off the layouts – after checking I dropped into firstsite to take photographs for the large bookwork I am designing for the learning department.