Art and Design Library exhibition – July 2018

Creative Coverage Mixed Exhibition, a new exhibition of landscape paintings from some of Scotland’s prominent artists opens on Tuesday 3 July in the Art and Design Library.

Painter Aileen Wrennall, an elected member of the Glasgow Society of Women Artists, is joined by Michael Mullen, Mary-Clare Cornwallis, Anthony Barber, Priscilla Brightman and photographer Sarah MacDonald in this group show.

“We’re really excited to be working with Edinburgh Central Library and thank the Art and Design Library for their help and interest,” says Tim Saunders from

“This architecturally important building has to be one of the grandest libraries in the United Kingdom. It is a privilege to be collaborating with this venue and we hope that lots of art lovers enjoy the paintings and photographs.”

The exhibition runs from 3 to 30 July in the Art and Design Library at Central Library.


Looking for holiday arty fun for children and young people?

This year Edinburgh Art Festival’s Explorers programme in partnership with the Art and Design Library comes to Central Library for informal, creative sessions suitable for ages 8 to 13 on Thursdays 5 and 12 July and 2 and 9 August from 2 to 4pm.

Join us for all the sessions or just drop in for one. We’ll be drawing, cutting, sticking, chatting about art, playing art games, working together and making fun stuff. We’ll be using found materials and transforming unwanted materials where possible. Feel free to bring in your own stuff to incorporate into the workshops.

You can book online or drop in at 2pm on the day.

Thursday 5 July, 2 to 4pm – Collage
Manipulate and transform printed material and imagery through collaborative collage games. Come along to cut, tear, fold, stick, and make strange and surreal artworks. Book online

Thursday 12 July, 2 to 4pm – Cut-Up
Can a word be a picture? Focusing around words, in today’s workshop we’ll be making collaborative collage poems, word weaves, and combining words, images and drawing to make new and exciting artworks.
Book online

Thursday 2 August, 2 to 4pm – Artists Books
Today’s workshop will focus on drawing, mark-making and collage, using found and natural objects as inspiration to create your own unique artist’s book.
Book online

Thursday 9 August, 2 – 4pm – Assemblage
Using a wide range of found and collected materials, we will be making crazy, inventive assemblage sculptures. Feel free to bring your own objects to add to the sculptures, anything from a shell to an eggbox to a bicycle tyre!
Book online

Edinburgh Photobook Club #5

The fifth session (and the last of the season!) of the Edinburgh Photobook Club meets in the Art & Design Library, Central Library on Wednesday June 20 from 6:00pm to 7:50pm.

Jim Goldberg, Open See, Steidl, 2009

During this session, we’ll be looking at how photographs and words interplay in the space of the photobook. Do they contradict each other? Are the texts necessary? Does the photographer use words in the pictures? How are the texts graphically designed (layout, fonts, colour)? If there’s a foreword, is it essential or just something that you usually can’t be bothered reading? Why did the photographer choose that title for his/her project?

Participants are asked to bring their own photobook or choose from the wide selection at the Art & Design Library.

At the beginning of the session, we’ll take 10-15 minutes to look through the selection of books. This will allow everyone to have an idea of the content of the books that will be discussed.

Our hosts are the independent photographer Alan Eglinton and Edinburgh College of Art photography student Alex Hall. This is a free event. If you wish to attend email:

Art Library exhibition for June 2018

The exhibition in the Art Library this month is Face Your Beauty: Feel Your Power.

The exhibition is a series of fashion photos by Joanna Jarzymowska and Michal Pocwiardowski.

Face Your Beauty: Feel Your Power runs until 30 June 2018 in the Art and Design Library.

Art Library exhibition for May 2018

A new exhibition of paintings opens today by the blind Edinburgh-based artist Alan McIntyre, entitled ‘Moments in time’.

Shown together for the first time, Alan’s paintings are based on remembered cinema moments in time. They aim to capture moments of isolated individuals or fleeting gestures between the interactions of couples as frozen shadows and blurred images.

Alan has had a lifelong passion for art. He was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition and is now registered blind. He maintains his passion to produce art despite being both constrained and liberated by his altered experience of the world.

All paintings exhibited are for sale and a percentage of sales will go towards the recording of an audiobook from Calibre Audio Library. Calibre Audio Library produce audio books for people with sight problems, dyslexia and other disabilities.

The Moments in Time exhibition runs until 30 May in the Art and Design Library.

Visit Alan’s website for more information.

Pushing the bindings

Since last October, the University of Edinburgh postgraduate intern, Elliott Jenkins, has been working with the artists’ books and photobooks collection in the Central Library’s Art & Design Library. He has researched the current collection as well as the Scottish artists’ book scene in order to suggest further acquisitions. This research has culminated in an exhibition entitled, Pushing the Bindings: Artists’ Books and Photobooks from the Art & Design Library Collection. The exhibition seeks not only to showcase the wide range of artists’ books in the collection but to explore what makes an artists’ book special – and the artist book scene in Scotland specifically.

Artists’ books are artworks created through the medium of the book form. Typically, these books are printed on a small scale and with limited editions. Sometimes they can even be made as one-of-a-kind objects. Additionally, it is not uncommon for the artists to own the press from which the books are printed. This would be an example of the artist controlling the entirety of the artistic process. However, the artist chooses to create and print their artists’ books, they are sure to set themselves apart from the standard novel or text book. Sometimes the book might follow an artistic narrative or simply a common theme is repeated throughout, but in all cases they are artworks in their own right. The library has an array of styles of artists’ books. The collection holds an international collection of contemporary artists’ books dating from the 1960s onwards totaling approximately 200 items. This includes works by renowned Pop Artist Edward Ruscha, Conceptual artists Sol Lewitt and Joseph Kosuth, and famed Scottish artists Ian Hamilton Finlay and Kate Whiteford. Therefore, the collection spans all categories of artists’ books and is therefore an excellent resource for researching and understanding this form of art.

The Art & Design Library began collecting artists’ books in the 1990s and has been steadily adding to the collection, with a more recent focus on artists working in Scotland. While Pushing the Bindings exhibits books from Scotland, England, France, and the United States, the emphasis is on the Scottish artists’ books in the collection. The Scottish artists include the late Ian Hamilton Finlay, Elaine Fullerton, Joanna Robson, Susie Wilson, and Lynda Wilson – just to name a few. Most of these artists are working today and have prolific careers creating artwork through many mediums including artists’ books. The Scottish artists within the collection also exemplify a signature style that may be developing within the scene in Scotland. In Elliott’s research and in the exhibition, it is argued that Scottish artists take on a style of abstraction and craftsmanship which transforms the book into something more; and, therefore, separates them from other artist book practices. While this argument is not solidified, the exhibition invites visitors to examine and explore the way in which Scottish artists’ books are similar too or differ from practices in other parts of the world.

Another overarching theme within the exhibition is the accessibility of artists’ books and democratic way in which they make artwork available, more so than a gallery or museum would. Artists such as Ed Ruscha and Sol Lewitt, who are extremely important in the history of Modern Art, also used artists’ books to create works of art. While the book itself may not exactly be a work of art, as it may be the case with Scottish artists, it demonstrates Ruscha’s and Lewitt’s desire for their artistic practices to reach a larger audience. By simply requesting to view Rushca’s, Lewitt’s, or any artist’s book from the Art & Design Library, you are participating in one of the most important features of the medium – their accessibility and their capacity to turn a big idea into a book you can hold in your hands.

The final feature of the exhibition is the inclusion of the photobooks in the Art & Design Library collection. A photobook is a collection of photographs usually by a singular photographer in order to display a specific body of work. However, it is more than just a document of work; it is a compilation of the performative act of taking the photograph and then the concluding result of a cohesive narrative or an overarching theme. The specific photobooks in Pushing the Bindings are similar to the artists’ books on display in that they are projects created by a singular artist and about one specific subject. While the artists’ books may focus on an aspect of the artist’s life or on a specific object, these photobooks focus on a topic or issue that is of importance to the artist. Many of these interests lay within the documentation of everyday life and the natural world. The way the photographs are displayed in the book, which sometimes include corresponding text material, inform us of their significance to the project and to the artist. Due to the relational quality of photography, the photobook – similar to the artist book – becomes a medium that allows for a more personal and intimate encounter with art.

Pushing the Bindings: Artists’ Books and Photobooks from the Art & Design Library Collection is on display on the Mezzanine level at Central Library until 30 April 2018.

Elliott and the staff of the Art & Design Library hope that you visit and enjoy the Pushing the Bindings exhibition. We hope that it encourages you to visit the library in the future, peruse the photobook section, and request to explore some of the brilliant artists’ books in the collection. The collection can be viewed on request during normal library opening hours. Appointments can be arranged for group visits. All artists’ books are listed on the Library catalogue and are for reference use only. To view items from the collection, please contact the Art & Design Library. Email and telephone 0131 242 8040.

Art and Design Library exhibition – April 2018

April’s exhibition in the Art and Design Library is New Work by Nihad Al Turk.

The exhibition features well-known Syrian Kurdish artist Nihad Al Turk. His collection of drawings shows a variety of mythical creatures which Nihad loves to depict in his art. He has been living in Edinburgh since 2015. 

The exhibition runs from 4 to 28 April 2018.