Based in Sauchiehall Street’s Centre for the Contemporary Arts (CCA), Publication Studio Glasgow offers artists, makers and writers a chance to collaborate in producing and printing their own limited edition publications. It is the latest in a chain of projects collectively run by a set of partners - one of which is Cristina Garriga, founder of MyBookcase. CCA alongside My Bookcase, Good Press Gallery, A Feral Studio & artist Joanna Peace, have joined forces to bring Publication Studio to Glasgow: a publishing enterprise as well as an open source printing facility housed within its creative hub.
MyBookcase is a facility subverting the closed nature of public libraries; concerned that printed media exists as a rich yet secondary influence to buildings now densely populated by computers and printers, quietly kept in cold storage. MyBookcase supposes several invented spaces dedicated to drawing the community together; giving them access to books but also encouraging conversation between lenders and borrowers; perpetrating this social element by making this book-sharing community subject to roundtable events and literary-led discussions.
By creating small makeshift ‘concept bookcases’ across the city - like those in Project Cafe, The Whisky Bond and Oxfam Byres Rd - MyBookcase operates as an intermediary between public and private collections. It is a project largely generated from Garriga’s personal connections; evolving from a series of artists and writers, approached to compile a list of books that were influential to their practice; reconciling the aesthetic with the literary. Alternatively, MyBookcase’s online lending resource, Platform, hints at these exchanges having a social life of their own.
Publication Studio Glasgow carries on from the ideal of this user-interactive utopia; in the hope of generating its own inclusive community to share in and identify with the glory of a good book. from an enterprise by Matthew Sadler, who created the first and founding Publication Studio in Portland, Oregon, Publication Studio is interested in the circulation of texts in a public, and caring space. It started with a similar set-up: a small shop front, with a few simple, easy to use machines, producing one book at a time for and by whoever it interested. Individuals don’t write to Sadler formally to continue this branding; connections and processes are shared online, and the Portland Studio they help you when needed - free reign is given, but executed within ethos of PS (with a small stamp to mark each publication made, and to clarify their practice within the Studio’s umbrella).
This may explain why Garriga has been forever keen to involve those close to her within her projects - a theme with and to encapsulate their interests (their love of books) with her own:
“I was interested in the idea so I visited Publication Studio London, as run by Louisa Bailey. She informed me that Good Press Gallery looked into bringing PS to Glasgow before. When talking to Good Press, they mentioned they did look into it along with A Feral Studio; an initiative run by Neil McGuire, similar to what I was doing with MyBookcase, but with the intention of bringing fellow designers into contact with potential clients. We decided to look into it together and I invited Joanna Peace to join as she is highly interested in publishing and writing, being one of her projects The Writing Group. We got in touch with Ainslie at CCA and together we formed a strong team to put this project forward. It was then all these threads of people and interests came together, and we became Publication Studio Glasgow. How I approach people does come from what I like personally - it has to, really. But then again, it all comes back to books - I liked the idea of bringing people together from different stages in the process; graphic designers, bookbinders, artists, writers. I often think, what would happen if this person met that person? I I like selecting two people, putting them in a room together and seeing what happens. This is a theme that’s been pretty constant in these projects, and makes them not quite my own. We’re working together, constantly. I don’t think we want to define ourselves too early, because we all mutually see this as an opportunity to evolve organically.
I wonder, is there ever a resistance to work together? As Garriga prepares to take Publication Studio forward, MyBookcase is developed in unison with others - in itself, becoming the open source enterprise Publication Studio represents - she’s asked whether she’s ever felt that her own, individual tastes have been compromised by constant collaboration over the years:
“Coming away from MyBookcase has been refreshing; its a chance for new voices to come into the project, to contribute and to understand new perspectives on where we can go in the future; to become an enterprise that functions internationally. I’m interested in how the model of interactive lending, of reading groups and roundtables, happens in other places - will people be keen on the idea, or will there be a tendency not to participate? Even if MyBookcase doesn’t hold ground in Barcelona, or Amsterdam, or London, the project will still be significant, in asking why…”
There is a genuine fear that Garriga has been spoiled by Glasgow’s rich creative scene. She has worked on the principle of trust, and on spontaneity: it is a city where she has almost reflexively met likeminded individuals, and trusted them enough to forgo any apprehensions. Publication Studio facilitates users with a retro binding machine, designed to fold and bind pages; a guillotine, and enough stationary to sustain basic publishing - like a zine, or a print run of a few small portfolio pieces. High technology comes at an advanced price. Publication Studio privileges experience, opportunity and availability over the excluding influence of money on creative businesses. Individuals can come and rent the space in CCA for a half-a-day, or a day at a time.
“By keeping the equipment simple, what we are promoting is the joy of making something. In this sense, the book isn’t an expendable product; it won’t have the limited lifespan of a story; a narrative to be digested then placed back upon the bookcase. It’ll have an extended life - an art object, as well as something to be read.”
Publication Studio Glasgow aims to empower people to participate in the lifespan of the book: in its making, its writing and distribution by encouraging anyone to learn and to contribute to their own printed publication. The hardest part of working collaboration, she admits, is putting a proposal into words. Along the production line, there will be a tendency for the vision of Publication Studio to be misinterpreted; garbled in the mix of backgrounds, knowledge and ideas. Yet part of the excitement is the generative quality of these books, making PS an ideal resource for creative students who are aspiring writers, artists or designers.
Publication Studio Glasgow is an initiative by CCA, Neil McGuire (A Feral Studio), Good Press Gallery, artist Joanna Peace and My Bookcase. For more information, please see:
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