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WSA Library

SALT+SHAW: Taking A Journey

2nd November—15th December 2023

WSA Library

SALT+SHAW (Paul Salt and Susan Shaw) have been producing artists’ books in collaboration since 2002. ‘Taking A Journey’ celebrates twenty-one years of making in twenty-one books, with objects and supporting items also on display, to reflect influences, ideas and the process of making.

Based in Sheffield, SALT+SHAW began making books together via a long route through painting, writing, drawing, installation, printmaking, sculpture and photography. The book is an ideal format for their work, enabling them to combine interests, skills and ways of working. They have developed a joined- up approach, either leading individually, or co-producing through negotiation and discussion. Working on location often underpins their practice. Exploring cities, urban landscapes and wild places, rummaging in junk shops and museums, searching shorelines and following river routes have resulted in a reflex action to collect objects and information, gather ideas, make images and write journals. These raw materials form the content, narrative and structure of their work.

Each book begins with a location, object, challenge or connection and develops through structure, experimentation, construction, binding, reviewing and problem-solving. What was important and enjoyable from the outset has remained. The hands-on use of materials (leather, wood, paper, plastic, book cloth, wire, fabric, metal). The narrative of words, images and found objects. The sound of a cover opening, the creak of brass hinges, the snap of magnets and the crispness of turned pages. The smell of polish, printing ink and paper. The intimate nature of books; revealing and enclosing stories through words, pictures, found objects, collage, drawing and print.

SALT+SHAW artists’ books have been exhibited in the UK and internationally and can be found in collections including: University of Southampton Library/ Winchester School of Art, University of the West of England, The British Library, Tate Britain Library, V&A Museum, The Wellcome Trust, Manchester Metropolitan University, Glasgow School of Art, York University, Books On Books and Neil Crawford.


Curators: Paul Salt & Susan Shaw

This exhibition tours to Bower Ashton Library, The School of Arts, UWE Bristol, Kennel Lodge Road, Bristol, BS3 2JT from 01.03.24–16.04.2024.