An artist-led platform is working to facilitate the production of new work and printed material. Folium is an open-ended research project revolving around printed matter.
Run by Stewart Hardie and Harry Gammer-Flitcroft, it began as a series of conversations where the pair started to think about experimental ways of publishing and book making.
Stewart and Harry have been friends and collaborators since they met in Swansea, 2012.
Throughout the years they have engaged in multiple collaborative processes and produced a range of publications, workshops and collective exhibitions together.
In April 2019 the pair started a one-month research and publishing project Undefining Folium.
They invited eight artists from a variety of disciplines to respond to the multiple readings of folium.
In Latin, folium means leaf – a leaf of a manuscript or a tree.
It also appears within geology, anatomy and mathematics.
“The links and ideas surrounding the word folium resonated with us and the way in which we wanted to talk about photography, artist books and printed material,” says Harry.
“This first publication was an attempt to unpick the possibilities of what folium could be by showing research, notes and work in progress.
“This is an ethos we have carried on since, using the book as an action, a start of something, opposed to a finished conclusion.”
A fluid approach to publishing
Harry and Stewart think of Folium as an art practice rather than as a traditional publisher.
Collaboration with other artists is key.
“Materiality and production are a really important aspect of what we do,” says Harry.
“Taking a fluid approach towards publishing means our roles change depending on the project and what is required.”
Harry and Stewart find most of their artists through word of mouth.
However, they have also held open calls.
The Scaffold brings together 21 artists from a variety of countries in a study on construction and supporting structures.
“We really enjoy the variety of artists we have been able to work with and the challenges that come with translating their works and practice into printed material,” says Harry.
Of course, they have had to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19.
Lockdown meant Harry and Stewart were unable to work in the studio creating mock ups, printing and testing out ideas.
Working remotely at either end of the country also caused some issues as they battled slow WiFi.
However, they adapted, launching digital projects during lockdown.
One of these projects was Digital Dialogues – a publicly editable diary where people could anonymously add text or images.
The text and images were then transformed into a 3D cluster exhibition.
Another project was with Exit Productions – an immersive theatre company.
Folium was producing a catalogue for a show due to open in April.
When the show was cancelled, they instead produced an e-publication, Cabin Fever, as part of a research and development project on running immersive, game-based theatre online.
Current Folium projects
Harry and Stewart are currently working on several collaborations.
Amalgam is a collection of writing by Nina Royle co-published with Kingsgate Project Space.
Exquisite Future is a poster book of collages with Revolv Collective.
This is still not a solution is London Alternative Photography Collective’s second sustainable darkroom handbook.
They are also about to start collaborating with Tom Lovelace on a new publication about his performative and photographic interventions.
“Folium gives us the opportunity to learn more about different printing and binding techniques, and gives us a space to try things out,” says Harry.
“Meeting new people and getting to discuss their ideas and seeing them through to fruition is also a really lovely aspect of being involved with Folium.”
So what is next for Folium?
Over the next few months they will be releasing Drifting Dialogues.
This piecemeal publication will allow anyone to submit text through an online form.
Submitted text will be included in sporadically created and nomadically distributed open editions.
Folium is also in the early stages of developing the next project SYN – a mixtape of sound artists and audio research.
“The challenge of curating and producing an audio piece is something that we are really excited for,” says Harry.
Long term, Harry and Stewart are hoping to get more equipment to allow in-house production.
When social distancing measures relax they also hope to get back to hands-on workshops and being able to facilitate artists being present during more of the production process.
Find out more by visiting folium.site.
Main image: Image from the Scaffold book, courtesy of Folium.