Panic Pollution Ephemera (2023)

"Cover" of tabloid: Panic Pollution Ephemera, 2023 by Ambeck Design.

It began with a panic to try and protect ourselves, and others, from each other's breath. Home-made masks were all we had to start with, as proper PPE was only for the professionals trying to save lives.

As time passed PPE became more commonplace for all and, like newspapers once littered the city streets with yesterday’s news, so masks became a new element of public littering.

During months of predominantly staying at home, daily walks were much needed. I was taken aback by the amount of discarded masks and began documenting at random what I would see. This tabloid shows a photographic selection from those walks during the period of August 27th, 2020 - April 25th, 2022.

All photos were taken with iPhone 11 without filters and all masks were photographed as seen.

Front and back covers. Bronze sculpture 'Taxi' by J. Seward Johnson Jr. 1983, on the Embankment, London.

I found it ironic that, before the pandemic, one of the hot topics was climate change caused by our own pollution. Then came Covid and pollution took a back seat for obvious reasons. It seemed like many had forgotten that PPE left behind is full of polypropylene plastic particles and will not decompose for up to 450 years. Unexpected historic evidence.

Four seasons.

Themes emerged as I looked at the final collection of images, 302 in total. These extend across more than one page and, as this tabloid is designed as a fluid visual experience – the double-spreads can be rearranged as the viewer sees fit. 

Everything reflects both individual and shared moments during a time of world-wide panic and grief.

Alternative cover example.

Spread of 'blues'.

Spread called: 'solo'.

A tabloid or a set of posters? The viewer decides.

Stacks of 50 – numbered and signed.

Tabloid paper printed by the Newspaper Club, UK.
20 pages covers included.
Stock: 80gsm Bright Recycled.
Cover size: Tabloid (28.9 x 38 cm)
Language: English
Edition 100, numbered and signed.
Published October 14th 2023. 

Launched at the Small Publishers Fair, Conway Hall, Holborn, London, UK (27-28 October 2023).

In the public collections of: Tate Britain, Bodleian Libraries – Special Collections, British Library, Wellcome Collection, Winchester School of Art Library: Special Collections and Manchester Metropolitan University Library All Saints.

All copies numbered and signed by Ambeck Design, 2023.


Unbox (2022)

Unbox (2022) by Ensixteen Editions & Ambeck Design.

Unbox – the memories of two people. They say you can't take it with you.

Made in collaboration with Ensixteen Editions (aka Mike Nicholson) – the first collaboration since 2003.
A piece about possessions. When uprooting your entire life, what do you keep?
A look at what two people setting up a new life together decided to keep and the stories behind.

Unbox – front and back cover (2022) by Ensixteen Editions & Ambeck Design.

Each copy comes with a free original gift – a rubber stamped used piece of Danish packing paper from the move.

Unbox – opening spread with free gift (2022) Ensixteen Editions & Ambeck Design.

Printed and stapled pamphlet, by Doxzoo.com, London.
Softcover, 20 pages incl. cover.
Stock: Matt (ultra smooth) 160 gsm.
Cover size: A5 (14.85 x 21 cm)
Language: English
Edition 54 + 2 AP – 2nd impression of 50 printed 2.10.2023.
Published October 2nd 2022. 

Launched at the Small Publishers Fair, at Conway Hall, Holborn, London, UK (28-29 October 2022).

In the public collections of: Tate Britain, Manchester Metropolitan University Library All Saints, Wellcome Collection and Winchester School of Art Library: Special Collections.

Unbox – spread (2022) by Ensixteen Editions & Ambeck Design.


Home use ONLY (2020)

Home use ONLY

Without a view of the cover or spine, the book becomes anonymous as to its contents.
What it may hide? – Is it images or text? – Will the reader be surprised, disappointed, confused?
The pandemic is similarly mysterious; specifics are vague, symptoms shifting. The carrier is within the greater crowd, within the covers of society.
A white, featureless book.

Outside appearance is anonymous; a blank white cover with no information, asymptomatic. Contact carries risk, but bears results; in bending the fore-edge language is revealed.


This builds to legibility from abstract printed shapes now visible inside page surfaces.
Deeper handling – flicking through – reveals the iconic virus structure, drifting discretely in print and cut-out on the pages. Appearing out of the spine to again disappear – as we hope it will.

In early February 2020 I was invited to make a proposal for the themed AMBruno's 2020 project. The theme was a photograph titled: One and many pages.
An image of the fore-edge of an anonymous paperback slightly dog-eared, so probably read. Stood upright on a wooden table with a black background. A substantially thick book – no text or image to be seen – so the content could be anything.
Home use ONLY is the result of my accepted proposal submitted on March 15th. The day before Matt Hancock told the House of Commons that all unnecessary social contact should cease. Little did we know how big an impact the virus would have on the world at that moment.

Printed and perfect bound on demand by Blurb.co.uk
Hand-cut by artist
Softcover, 150 pages
Stock: Mohawk Fine Papers – Proline Uncoated, 148gsm. Archival-quality with eggshell-textured finish.
Cover size: 17.1 x 16.8 x 1.65 cm
Language: English
Edition of 19
Published July 2020

In the public collections of: Tate Britain, Manchester Metropolitan University Library All Saints, Winchester School of Art Library: Special Collections, Bodleian Rare Books and Manuscripts,  the Bavarian State Library: Manuscripts and Rare Books, Munich, Germany and Göteborgs universitet: Humanistiska biblioteket, Sweden.

Also in the private collection of Pascal Fouché, France: http://www.flipbook.info/index_en.php

The complete collection of One and many pages are in the collections of: Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Baltimore – USA and The British Library.

AMBruno – One and many pages has been shown at:
  • Volumes Art Publishing Days, Zürich, Switzerland 26-27.11.2022
  • Small Publishers Fair 2022, Conway Hall, Red Lion Sq. London, UK 28-29.10.2022
  • Printed Matter Store, New York, USA 28.06-24.07.2022
  • 'Miss Read' – Berlin Art Book Festival, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany 29.04-01.05.2022
  • Bristol Artists Book Event (BABE), UWE Bower Ashton, Bristol, UK, 23-24.04.2022
  • Printed Matter Virtual Art Book Fair – www.pmvabf.org / @printedmatter_artbookfairs / ambruno.pmvabf.org(PMVABF), New York, USA 24-28.02.2021


Smørhul (2018)

Smørhul by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (Oct. 2018)
Smørhul was created to be part of Bibliotek Nordica – a portable library of Nordic artists' books created in A6 format with deadline October 1st, 2018. The theme for the project was 'Nordicness'.
The project was organised by Imi Maufe (N/UK), Megan Adie (US/DK/S) & Bent Kvisgaard (DK).
See images of the very first display of the project in Viborg, DK: www.vingaards-officin.dk/438052607

My contribution: Smørhul
As a native Dane it seems foreigners think my country is a small, almost idyllic fairytale place – in Danish it would be called a smørhul (butter hole). I take a different view – and this piece is a reflection of that.

Pamphlet stitched booklet with hard cover in a slipcase. 
Pages hand-cut by the artist, text: inkjet printed. 

Hardcover: ink-rolled with hand-cut & peeled board. 
Papers: Cream, van Gelder – Simill Japon 225+130gsm.
Cover: Grey board with red ink.
Slipcase: Naturel, Clairefontaine – Paint On 250gsm. 
Cover size: 14.8 x 10.5cm / Slipcase: 10.6 x 15 x 0.9cm 
Language: Danish & English 
Edition: 22 + 2 AP (No. 1-11 have been donated to the project) 

Completed in October, 2018

First shown at the Small Publishers Fair, at Conway Hall, Holborn, London, UK (Nov.9-10, 2018)

In the public collection of Manchester Metropolitan University Library All Saints, Winchester School of Art Library: Special Collections and The British Library.

Smørhul by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (Oct. 2018) – inside cut page.
Smørhul by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (Oct. 2018) – inside cut page.

Bibliotek Nordica is part of Codex Polaris – Book art projects organised from Norway.

Bibliotek Nordica was fi
rst launched at the Nordic focus of the Codex Book Fair
/CODEX 2019, Craneway Pavilion, Richmond, California, USA 3-6.02.2019
BABE - Bristol Artists' Book Event, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK - 30-31.02.2019

Frankfurt Book Fair - on the Bergen kommune stand, Frankfurt, Germany 17-20.10.2019

Konstepidemin, Konstepidemins väg 6, 413 14 Göteborg, Sweden 2-24.11.2019

Rom for bøker / Room for Books – Kristiansand Kunsthall, Norway 30.01-21.03.2021

Bókverk | Book art (Bibliotek Nordica – A Library from the North) National and University Library of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland 17.05-22.08.2021

CHART Art Fair 2021 (9th Edition) – Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark 26-29.08.2021

Malmö Artist Book Biennale, Sweden 6-7.05.2022

BOOKED 2022, MUU Helsinki Contemporary Art Centre, Finland 25.11-18.12.2022

Small Publishers Fair, London, UK 27-28.10.2023

Torpedo Bookshop, Sofies Gate 11, 0170 Oslo, Norway 10.01.2024 18:00

BinBagBooks (2017)

The first two BinBagBooks by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (Nov. 2017).
Each book is created from one Danish paper bin bag from Thisted council. A type of paper bin bag used nationally in Denmark until about 10 years ago when black biodegradable plastic bags were introduced instead. The type of bag used is one-layered, made from a nice heavy recycled stock. Often the bin bags were made with two thin layers of paper, which would have been of no use for this purpose. Thankfully I found 11 unused bags my mom had saved, among many two-layered bags.
Danish one-layered bin bag from Thisted council. Photo M-SDA 2017
When used as dustbins, the bags are held in place in a metal stand as shown in the image below – here photographed in the museum: Den Gamle By (The Old Town) in Aarhus. The use of bags are slowly but surely however being replaced by hard plastic wheelie bins all together.
Metal dustbin stand, Den Gamle By, Aarhus, Denmark 2019. Photo M-SDA
The first two books – Trash and Rubbish – were made for the Small Publishers Fair in November 2017, and sold swiftly.
For the Small Publishers Fair in November 2019 another 4 were made: Trash, Rubbish, Garbage and Junk – of which Garbage and Junk are still available.

The books can be used as note/sketch books or just kept as they are – piece of art in their own right.
Second batch of BinBagBooks by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (Nov. 2019).
Second batch of BinBagBooks by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (Nov. 2019).
Second batch of BinBagBooks by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (Nov. 2019).
Paper: Each book is made from one unused original bin bag (pages+cover).
Each has 120 pages of Danish brown bin bag, with print and pockets.
Stitched with hardcover.
Cover size: 17.4 x 12.4 x 2.1cm
Edition of 11, each unique – four titles used: Trash, Rubbish, Garbage and Junk.
First copy made November 2017, the rest of the edition not yet completed.

Launched at the Small Publishers Fair, at Conway Hall, Holborn, London, UK (November 2017)

In the public collection of Winchester School of Art Library: Special Collections, University of the West of England (UWE) Library – Special Collection at Bower Ashton, Bristol and Manchester Metropolitan University Library All Saints.
Second batch of BinBagBooks by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (Nov. 2019).


367 (2017)

367 by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck (2017). Click image to see preview of content.
367 – a POD artist's book of skies.

On July 25th 2015 I began taking photos of the sky every day. My plan was to do this for one year and my rule was that it had to be done between 12:00-14:00 and I never missed a day, though occasionally life got in the way.

Strangely, that first day was not only my 42nd birthday, but also that of both my grandmothers.
That I share my birthday with my grandmothers, who I never knew, has also made the day a special one full of reflections on life and what connects us across the years.

That my days are filled with the care of my own mother, who has Alzheimer’s, intensifies these feelings. This new book from Ambeck Design shows the skies I saw every day; beautiful, moody, drab and exciting – and all emotions between.

The physical book was launched at BABE (Bristol Artist's Book Event) at the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, 1-2 April, 2017.

Printed and bound on demand by Blurb.co.uk

Hardcover with ImageWrap, 128 pages

Binding: Durable library binding

Stock: ProLine Uncoated, Mohawk Superfine uncoated photo paper, 148gsm and ProLine light grey endpapers

Cover size: 21 x 26cm
Language: English
Edition: unlimited
ISBN 9781366236906

Published March 12th, 2017
In the public collection of Winchester School of Art Library: Special Collections & Wellcome Collection.

There is now a 2nd edition as minor corrections were made on April 25th, 2017.
ISBN: 9781366039859
Published April 25th, 2017
In the public collection of Manchester Metropolitan University Library All Saints and The British Library.

367 (2017)


Forty copies ready to post.
August 23rd, 2017: Finished my contribution to the Nordic project: POSTED/UNPOSTED – a book art project with special emphasis on letterpress printing from the Nordic countries: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Åland Islands.
Around 30 artists, poets, printers and publishers who use (or have the potential to use) letterpress have been invited to contribute to a collaboration with constraints. We have all had to contribute with 40 letterpress printed envelopes with contents (both being of equal importance). All envelopes had to be C5 size (229x162mm).

Deadline September 1st, 2017.
By the end of September the organisers: Imi Maufe (Norway) and Lina Nordenström (Sweden) packaged the limited edition collection and sent copies touring around the Nordic countries and the world in the months/years to come. Each contributor got a copy of the limited collection.

The collaborative project was launched at the Bergen Art Book Fair October 19-22, 2017. (www.bergenartbookfair.no) and other venues followed.

Past Exhibitions:
CHART Art Fair 2021 (9th Edition) – Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark 26-29.08.2021
Malmö Konsthall, Sweden6-12th May 2019

San Fransisco Center for the Book2nd Feb-29th April 2019 (see Posted / Unposted ++) This is a extended version with extra works by 9 of the participating artists called POSTED / UNPOSTED ++ and is part of Codex Polaris' Nordic Focus at the CODEX 2019 book fair and Symposium, USA.
SFCB produced a catalogue to go with the exhibition which is available from their websitewww.sfcb.org

Grafikk i Väst, Gøteborg, Sweden5th-31st January 2019

Viborg Hovedbibliotek (The Main Library, Viborg), Viborg, Denmark, June 4 - August 6, 2018

Leeds Letterpress Conference 19-20th July 2018

Galleri Pi, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 15 - July 7, 2018

turn the page – book fair, Norwich, UK May 25-26, 2018

Malmö Artist's Book Biennial, Sweden, April
20-21, 2018

Rönnells Antikvariat, StockholmMarch 2018

Konstfack Library (the University College of Craft, Arts and Design), Stockholm, Sweden, February 2018

Bergen Art Book Fair, NorwayOctober 2017

For more detailswww.codexpolaris.com

All parts of Posted/Unposted by Ambeck Design, 2017.
Digital vs. Analog: posting messages/updates vs. keeping it private/only for the few.

When one communicates online via platforms like Facebook most posts have the potential to be seen and read by hundreds if not thousands, as many have a large number of "friends" – not unlike writing a letter on the outside of the envelope rather than the inside – for all to read.

These were my initial thoughts/inspiration when presented with the theme Posted/Unposted.

Front of envelope close up.
Outer Design
To express this idea I sought Facebook posts which I felt expressed this deeper, private level which would have been shared with a much more select circle of people before online platforms existed.
I chose to digitally inkjet print these posts in the official "Facebook blue" using Helvetica Neuethe previous Facebook font before San Franciscoas used today with OS systems.
The posts are all in lowercase and no names are mentioned, thoughbetween commentsa number of friends are randomly listed.
All this is printed on the outside of a standard British Brown Envelope. (1) because I like them and (2) because they have been/are part of my life since living in the UK for a number of years.
The envelope front is left blank, specifically where the stamp and address would ordinarily be placed. The pieces are for no one in particular, but for all who care to read.

Envelope with content.
Inner Design
The inside content is an SRA2 Munken Pure 120gsm folded sheet of paper with the Danish word "Privat" (Private) placed centrally, with red ink using wooden letterpress.
The font used is unknown (indeed the word may include more than one font) and the letters were found in the UK.

Woodtype set to print & printed.
The reason for the large folded sheet reflects the "secret folded notes" which I first experienced as a late 1980s High School student in New Hampshire, USA before internet and mobiles became commonplace. The secret notes were used for love letters or just general teenage comments.

Between the outside and the inside the tension and huge difference in the past and present etiquettes and processes of our personal communication exists, and only opening the envelope allows the completion of the message of the piece.

I constructed my own folding as I didn't want the print to be folded, but it needed to fit within the C5 envelope.

Front and back of the "secret" folded note.
Note unfolding.
I used a HumanBook Press for the printing (my body weight and a book); the only press I have available.
Printing in progress August 2017.
Each of the forty copies are numbered and signed with my stamp on the inside of the envelopes.
Robo-Girl aka Ambeck Design
Red ink.

Stacked, ready to go.

October 19, 2017 a box arrived by post – my copy of the collection (No. 19) – exciting.

A parcel arrived with a box inside.
Inside the box was a catalogue listing each artist's work and then the whole collection of envelopes held together by a broad wrap-around held in place by two rubber bands. The work of Imi and Lina.
Once the rubber bands were off the collection could be viewed.
24 lovely pieces to be explored one-by-one.

Below some official images by Imi Maufe.
Image by Imi Maufe © 2017

Image by Imi Maufe © 2017

Image by Imi Maufe © 2017

Image by Imi Maufe © 2017

Image by Imi Maufe © 2017

Public collections which hold the collection:

  • Göteborgs Universitets Bibliotek, Sweden (2023)