Thursday, 29 January 2015

Books with Blank Pages

  Or should this post be called : Let's make a book?
   When I was young, girls had dolls and tea sets, not toolboxes. They really were for the boys, this is not just a stereotype it was just how life was for me. But I always wanted my own set of implements.When my great uncle died, I coveted his box for tools, so that stayed with me. The wood container has passed from hand to hand, smoothed with age, polished with time, it now houses my chosen craft items. My pink pliers for twisting steel, my scalpel for sharpening my pencils, my set square for mounting photographs and now my new bone folder for book binding. I think he would be pleased it stayed in the family. When I carry it around I like to think of his hand on the handle where mine now is. A holding of hands through time. 

Before I started my MA, I would never write in books, never break their spines and certainly never remove a page. Funny how education changes you. In the course of studying The Book Unbound, I find that it was normal in the late 1700's and well into the nineteenth century to do all of those things. Marginalia, that is the writing in margins and anywhere outside the text was accepted. Think of William Blake. Books were passed around, and the additional text was part of the book owner's correspondence, a early form of a mobile library or book club? Horace Walpole at his deliciously named Strawberry Hill residence, was at the centre of the world of extra-illustration. Books were expanded by the addition of relevant images and then rebound to create bespoke, highly individualized versions of the original text. The additions often more interesting and now potentially more valuable than the source of the idea.

This is all my way of an introduction to why I spent a Sunday at the The Society Club in Soho with the intention of getting back to basics and making my own book with the talented Edel Hopkin from  Cambridge To love books is one thing, to write books an ambition, to make books an experience which I loved. If you look closely you can see my 'kettle stitch' where I have sewn the sections together, using linen thread and a bookbinding needle.

 So in the comfortable environment of a bookshop, with copious amounts of tea served in elegant cups and saucers by George, I engaged with the materials and components that make books.

 Ribbons and headbands. Sigh, nothing  particularly girly about this. Same names, but quite different meanings from the ribbons and headbands of my childhood.

Marbled endpapers, a passion of mine. Maybe I should hunt down a course for marbling next!
But am actually collecting images of endpapers from old books for a later blog so I think I will be going on a different route with this one.

Glue and paper.

Marker ribbon attached .

                                                        Now for the cover.

                                      We used buckram grained paper.

                         Edel in action demonstrating attaching the book block to the cover.

My book is in this weighted down pile.

Back home nestling amongst my Persephone books, my blank is further pressed until fully dry.

Then it is pulled from the shelf, outwardly observed and then timidly opened.

                The marble end papers are admired , the pages played with to create a fan.

And now I can proudly say.
Here's one I made earlier.

                                                          But will I ever write in it?

                                                              Maybe, maybe not.

Links The Society Club London

Information about Edel and her courses here:

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