Kildare Library and Arts Service launched an exhibition of their notebood project in the new library at NUI Maynooth last Thursday.
Curated by Kildare town’s Susan Boyle, the exhibtion has been on display in various locations for the past couple of years, and grows regularly as new notebooks are added to the collection.
The Kildare Artist Notebook project was established in 2011. Artists in all genres and at all stages of their career were invited to take an A5 moleskin notebook, to use it as they wished and to return it, to become part of a permanent touring collection.
To date, over 150 artists from around the world have donated notebooks – sometimes reluctantly, as notebooks are often very personal and private.
However, seeing the notebooks displayed collectively allows participants to experience how an individual thing becomes greater in the shared experience.
Some of the notebooks are from well known artists such as Prosperous mother and daughter Pamela and Cliona de Bri, or poet Ann Egan, and sometimes the artist is less well known.
There is, NUIM English Department Colin Graham noted in his speech at the library last Thursday, a generosity and reciprocity about the collection. Sometimes it’s serious work in progress, sometimes the progress is the work, and sometimes it’s just doodling. Either way it’s revealing.
The collection of notebooks has been exhibited annually in Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, as part of the Kildare Readers Festival and has toured to Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda, Co Louth and Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.
At NUIM, unlike other venues, it is in a glass case to protect it.
It has also been put on line recently, the work of John Blake, at kildarenotebookproject.com.