Hav & Himmel – Sea & Sky

Exhibition poster: 'Sea & Sky' by Ambeck Design (2015).
– Joint exhibition between Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck & Linda Newington at Doverodde Købmandsgård, Hurup Thy, Denmark – May 19th-June 28th, 2015.

As a result of Linda Newington’s residency at Doverodde Købmandsgård in May of 2014, she returned in May 2015 to exhibit a series of watercolours.
Drawings from her many walks along the North West coast and over 40 watercolour samples painted during the residency was the source for new paintings of light, skies, horizons and the dramatic sunsets seen at Agger beach and Tange.

'Watercolour samples I' – Inspired by sunsets at Agger, spring 2014 by Linda Newington.
Blue sketchbook and watercolours from Doverodde residency by Linda Newington (2014-15).
'Starting points' (sketchbooks) and framed pieces by Linda Newington (2013-15).
'Starting points' (sketchbooks in front) and framed watercolours on wall:'Postcards from Doverodde' by Linda Newington (2013-15). Behind in showcase Eshaness coast, Shetland – oil on board & oil on canvas also by Newington. On floor 'Sun' by M-S. Ambeck (2015).

Meanwhile my work in the show derives from my fascination with the fossilised sea urchins that are commonly found in the area of North Jutland in which I live and work, and which I have collected since I was a child. These are the subject of many myths which reflect the Norse legends.
As well as a series of six large photographic prints incorporating text there are three new book works especially created for this event:

On the floor: 'Sun'. On the wall from the left: 'Five pointed star''A drop of milk''Good luck starman' and 'Thor's fireball' – photographs on canvas by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (May 2015).

9 of the 12 pop-ups which will be bound after the exhibition into one unique book: 'Pop-pindsvin/Pop-urchin'.

'Pop-pindsvin / Pop-urchin' playing with words. Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (2015).

A unique 'pop-up' book expressing the Danish names given to sea urchins and the storage English translations of same (i.e "Petrified lake stick swine" or a "prude trollop"). The title of the book will be: 'Pop-pindsvin / Pop-urchin' and it will be bound after the show finish on June 28th.

'Pop-urchin' page: Paradisko/Paradise cow by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (2015).

'Stonedrops' by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (2015).
A second book work that comprises two pamphlet sections shaped like the urchins carrying the myths connected to them (that they fell from the sky) and which are hung as mobiles within the gallery space. The title of the installation is: 'Rain' while the individual books are 'Stonedrops'.

'Rain' by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (2015).

'Rain' and further back in the room: 9 pages from 'Pop-pindsvin / Pop-urchin' by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (May 2015).

'Rain' by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck and wall behind watercolours by Linda Newington.
The third book work is a joint print-on-demand artist’s book: ‘Hav & Himmel – Sea & sky’ which Linda and I launched at the opening on May 19th.
The book combines both our work – watercolours and b/w photography.

'Hav & Himmel – Sea & Sky' hanging off the wall next to photo on canvas: 'Fallen from the sky' by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck May, 2015.
Printed and perfect bound on demand by Blurb.com
Softcover, 20 pages.
Stock: Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Ultrawhite, 148gsm.
Cover size: 16.8 x 17 cm
Edition: unlimited

ISBN 978-87-991309-4-8

In the public collection of Winchester School of Art.











    Hav & Himmel by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck & Linda Newington

Finally I also created a floor installation using sea urchins belonging to Doverodde Købmandsgård. The installation is called: 'Sun'.
'Sun' installation created with found sea urchins. Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (2015).
Floor: 'Sun'. Wall from the left: 'Thor's fireball' and 'Cart wheel or pentagram man?' – photographs on canvas by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (May 2015).
Floor: 'Sun'. Wall from the left: 'Good luck starman', 'Thor's fireball' and 'Cart wheel or pentagram man?' – photographs on canvas by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (May 2015). Right wall: 'Blue Days series' and 'Shetland Walks' by Linda Newington.

Foreground: 'Sun' by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (2015). Wall: 'Blue Days series' and 'Shetland Walks' by Linda Newington.
Wall: watercolours by Linda Newington (2014). Floor: 'Sun' by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (2015). 'Good luck starman' – photographs on canvas by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (May 2015).
The exhibition was reviewed by the local newspaper: Thisted Dagblad on May 20th.
The cover of Thisted Dagblad May 20th, 2015. Photo by Peter Mørk.

"Sea and Sky-landscape and sound" Thisted Dagblad p.6-7, May 20th, 2015.
More images by Thisted Dagblad and Peter Mørk can be found here.


Pushing the Envelope

–by pigeon delivery Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (March 2015).

– a touring exhibition of over 150 decorated envelopes celebrating 175 years of the first UK postage stamp – The Penny Black (May 6th 1840). Curated by Neil Hadfield, course leader for illustration at Hereford College of Arts.

I was kindly invited to take part in this show as I have previously taken part in the SHED show in 2005-06 curated by Andrew Baker. 
Above my humble contribution – the pigeon collage is made using the inside of envelopes.

Exhibition dates 2015
Hereford College of Arts – April 17-May 1
House of Illustration – May 6-16
Hay Literary Festival – May 21-31


Images of all the envelopes can be seen on flickr set up by Neil Hadfield: www.flickr.com/photos/133993230@N04/sets/72157654801536202
Envelope sold to private collector September 2015.
Pigeon has arrived to the House of Illustration, London. Photo by Mike Nicholson May 6th 2015.


The Enemy Map

Screenshot from the original website charliehigson.co.uk (January 2015).
In September of 2012 I worked with British illustrator Mike Nicholson – as digital colourist for the official illustrated London map to accompany the acclaimed series of young adult horror novels 'The Enemy' by British author Charlie Higson.

In December 2014 the map finally became available from charliehigson.co.uk
A fun project to work on – and a nice break from cutting.


Boligslangen: on/off (The Housing Serpent)

3 copies of Boligslangen: on/off (2014). Image M-S D A
A 2014 adventure: Print On Demand
On February 23rd I uploaded my first POD book: Boligslangen: on/off (The Housing Serpent).
Slightly tweaked on March 23rd due to an ISBN error!
This may seem like a departure from my previous work, but there is a close relation to this new piece and the 2010 laser engraved piece: Day Return both in image choice and subject matter.

Boligslangen: on/off – an artist's book created using a 70-minute digital video recording of the Danish building complex Boligslangen (The Housing Serpent) located in Ørestad North on Amager island in Copenhagen, Denmark – adjacent to where I temporarily lived.
The book are stills from the video made every minute while lights go on and off in the building on a Sunday evening in April 2008.
The book works as a flick book, reading first from the front cover but also with the option to be flipped over and read from the back to the front.
It is partly inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rear Window' (1954).
ISBN 978-87-991309-3-1

The physical book was launched at the artist's book fair: 17th International Contemporary Artist Book Fair at The Tetley, Leeds, UK – March 7-9th, 2014.

Boligslangen: on/off (2014). Image M-S D A

Printed and perfect bound on demand by Blurb.com
Softcover, 142 pages.
Stock: Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Ultrawhite, 148gsm.
Cover size: 16.8 x 17 cm
Edition: unlimited

In the public collection of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Library
the Artists’ Books Collection Winchester School of Art Library, Smith College – Mortimer Rare Book Room, MA, USA and Leeds College of Art Library, UK.

In case preview isn't working, see the book here.











    Boligslangen: on/off by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck


Al-Mutanabbi Street – a vicious circle

London Art Book Fair Twitter account by Whitechapel Gallery, London 13.09.2013. Image by Whitechapel Gallery.
I'm excited to announce that 'Al-Mutanabbi Street – a vicious circle' on Friday September 13, 2013 was awarded the Birgit Skiöld Memorial Trust Award of Excellence at the London Art Book Fair 2013 at Whitechapel Gallery in London, UK. One copy is now held at the National Art Collection, Word & Image Department at Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
I'm honoured to receive this prize for the second time in my career. Thank you to the selection panel of the Birgit Skiöld Memorial Trust.

Al-Mutanabbi Street – a vicious circle (2013)
In September 2010 I accepted the call to the project: 'An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street' initiated by Beau Beausoleil (USA) in July 2010 and co-curated by Sarah Bodman (UK).

The purpose of the project is to “reassemble” some of the “inventory” of the reading material that was lost in the 5th of March 2007 car bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street, Baghdad, Iraq – a street known for its booksellers – the literary and intellectual heart and soul for the community of Baghdad. On this day 30 people were killed and more than 100 wounded.

The international project will be raising funds for Médecins Sans Frontières while also honouring Al-Mutanabbi Street by creating work that holds both "memory and future" of what was lost that day.

Each artist has had a year to complete the work and has donated 3 copies to the project. One will be donated to the Iraq National Library in Baghdad. The other two copies are touring for the next few years in conjunction with shows of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Broadside Project as well as in shows of their own.

See a list of artists and exhibitions and further details of the project:

Article The Guardian by Ellie Violet Bramley, January 2014 www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jan/21/literary-project-baghdad-bookselling-district
Al-Mutanabbi Street – a vicious circle (2013)
Al-Mutanabbi Street – a vicious circle
Baghdad was once founded and built in a circular way and its name at the time was: Madinat al-Salaam or ‘City of Peace’. This has a sad irony now - and, being a child of the early 1970’s, I only associated Baghdad with death and war - rather than peace - from watching so many television news reports.

From the outside the conflict feels never-ending – with no resolution in sight – a tragic vicious circle. This book represents that but is also a tribute to Al Mutanabbi Street – a street where thoughts and ideas were – and are – exchanged in book form.

Al-Mutanabbi Street – a vicious circle (2013)
Laser engraved covers onto grey boards (by Tom Sowden, UWE Bristol), inkjet printed text and hand-cut and burnt illustrations by the artist. Papers: Fabriano Accademia, white 200 gsm & 160 gsm. Binding: pamphlet stitched.
Size: 20 x 20 cm
Edition of 10 – of which 3 copies have been donated to the project.
Completed in February 2013 – 1 year, 5 month and 7 days late!

In the public collection of Manchester Metropolitan University Library All Saints, Tate Collection, William Allan Neilson Library at Smith College Mass. USA, the National Art Collections, Word & Image Department at Victoria & Albert Museum, San Francisco Center for the Book, CA, USA and the Artists’ Books Collection Winchester School of Art Library, Winchester, UK. Also held by international private collectors. The edition is sold out.

The book was launched at the Bristol Artists Book Event (BABE) at the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK – April 20-21, 2013

The first group show for it to be part of was:
The John Rylands Library, Manchester, UK – February 6 - July 29, 2013
Center for Book Arts, New York City, in collaboration with Poets House, New York City –  July 10 - September 14, 2013

The book was submitted for the Minnisota Center for Book Arts Prize 2013 – further details of the book can be seen: http://mcbaprize.org/ambeck/

The book was also on display at The Sheffield International Artist's Book Prize 2013 exhibition at Bank Street Arts, UK.

Al-Mutanabbi Street – a vicious circle (2013)


Dust to Dust

Dust to Dust (2012)

A new laser engraved edition was released in September 2012 at The London Art Book Fair at Whitechapel Gallery, London – extending the fruitful collaboration with artist Tom Sowden which began with my residency at UWE in 2010.

Entitled 'Dust to Dust' the piece continues my combination of photographic imagery and laser-engraving facilitated by Sowden – as first seen in 'Day Return' (2010).
After the abstraction of the earlier piece, however, this new work draws from a long-term archive of photography created amongst the curious, shadowed pathways and tombs of Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington, North London.

Dust to Dust – a few pages from the back (2012)

Traditional crafts of stone carving and masonry meet the futuristic possibilities of computer-programmed laser technology to memorable effect in this intriguing piece. The book looks both to the past and the future.

The meter long concertina book comes in a hand-made grey board box numbered and signed. Inside the lid it carries additional text information on the circumstances and provenance of the piece.

Double-side laser engraved onto 280gsm Somerset Velvet Antique paper by Tom Sowden, UWE Bristol.
Size: 18 x 100 cm
Edition of 10 – in a signed & numbered box.

Half of the edition boxed up in handmade boxes.

In the public collection of the Tate Collection, Manchester Metropolitan University Library All Saints, UCA Epsom Library, CFPR Collection at the University of West England, University of Southampton Libraries Winchester School of Art and Leeds College of Art Library, UK.

Selected for the Fifth International Artists' Book Exhibition 2013 (May 18th - October 2013) at Szent István Király Múzeum (King St. Stephen Museum), Székesfehérvár, Hungary where it has been donated to the permanent collection.


As part of the Doverodde Book Arts Festival IV & Symposium – 2012
british printmaker and poet Nancy Campbell and I collaborated on a small book to promote the danish Festival. The collaboration took place while exhibiting at a danish literature event/festival called 'Ordkraft' (Word power) in the city of Aalborg. Over the course of the three days the event lasted the book took form and each day something new was added. The idea was to introduce the concept of artist's books and show how one can be made. The title Udkant (On the margins) was the set theme of the Doverodde Book Arts Festival and Nancy wrote a short poem related to this, which was then translated into Danish by me as part of the development of the book.

Each copy of the book is handmade and individually typed on my mom's old Adler Special typewriter and has two small pop-ups. 
The title is printed using a hand carved rubber-stamp based on an enlarged version of the typewritten title.
The edition is open.
Size: 10.5 x 7.3cm

In the public collection of Tate Collection, Manchester Metropolitan University Library All Saints and also held by international private collectors.

More about Doverodde Book Arts Festival: www.doveroddebookarts.blogspot.com

Since 2012 'Udkant' has been on show in 'Typewriter: Print On Demand', an exhibition of typewriters, related works and artists’ books presented by Angie & Simon Butler at Bath School of Art & Design, Bath, UK – February 6-17th 2013.

Mentioned in the article: 'The long s and the small publishers' by Michael Caines at The TLS blog (The Times Literary Supplement) on November 15th, 2014.

In 2015 it will be on show in an exhibition of artist's books Nancy Campbell is hosting in Iceland called: 'Síður í Siglufjörður'/'Pages in Siglufjörður' – Contemporary artist’s books on the coastal environment at HERHÚSIÐ, Norðurgata 7b, 580 Siglufjörður, Iceland.
Open Saturdays 14, 21 and 28 March, 2015 (11am - 4pm).



The last book of 2011.

The cover of all three books.
x= is the third and final book in the series of distinctive and unusual robots based on ordinary recognisable objects hand cut into 10 pages.
In this edition 10 seeds from 10 trees common to London (Acer platanoides, Populus nigra, Acacia, Sambucus, Ficus carica, Alnus incase, Aesculus, Platanus × acerifolia, Quercus, Ulmus glabra.) have been transformed into strange new creatures, the first one being a mechanical butterfly which over the turning pages alter into a mad pod-like robotic medieval fortune-teller, who asks the question: What is to be done?

Like the previous two books (10+ & =∞) the inside cover reveals the robots technical specifications.

x= is produced under the theme of the ten anniversary of the bookartbookshop in London, UK which was 'X= or what is to be done?'.
The book was selected as 1 of 20 shortlisted books to go on exhibit at the Red Gallery, Shoreditch in London from February 21-23rd, 2012.
The rest of the year it will tour art libraries and be available at the bookartbookshop.


The book is inkjet printed and hand cut. Edition 10. Size: 21 x 14.8 cm 


Autumn Update 2011

It ended up being a very busy Summer, though sadly not making any of the new work I have planned. 
I was however helping at the 3rd Doverodde Book Arts Festival 2011 in Denmark (June 2-5th), which was a great event, once again bringing together lots of lovely work and great people. 
Along with collating and designing the catalogue I also set up a Flickr account if you want to see pictures of what happened: www.flickr.com/photos/doveroddebookarts/

In August I began my new role as Festival Organiser for the new-look Doverodde Book Arts Festival IV & Symposium – 2012, which I hope will be as successful as the previous ones co-ordinated by my colleague Liz Hempel-Jørgensen. As before it will be at the Limfjordscentret in Doverodde, Hurup, Thy, Denmark. 
You can read more about all that on the social networking site I set up: www.nordicbookarts.ning.com or on www.bookarts-doverodde.dk

And now – after a break in far-off Skagen – October and November will involve new teaching and book fair experiences, meaning almost 4 lovely weeks in London.
Hope to see you at one of these events.
Happy autumn – the leaves have already been blown off the trees here in Denmark.

Up coming events autumn 2011
Book fairs:
The London Art Book Fair – stand no.50
September 23-25th 11am-6pm
Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX, UK
Admission FREE
Small Publishers Fair
November 11-12th 11am-7pm
Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL, UK
Admission FREE


Retrospective exhibition

From June 7th-26th, 2011 I'm having a small retrospective exhibition of my work from the 15 year period 1996-2010 as part of the Doverodde Book Arts Festival 2011 at Limfjordscentret Doverodde, Denmark.
The exhibition shows some of my earlier work, prototypes, sketches and notes for projects and later work including the installation: Cogs – a Book in the Machine (2006) and some original prints from Ambeck's Typographic Bestiary (2006).

Cogs – a Book in the Machine