Archive | January, 2011

On Boxes, biscuits and a trip to the Book Arts Bookshop.

23 Jan

Despite having a rather splendid biscuit tin, I sometimes put my digestives in the cupboard. Similarly, all my tea jar contains right now is the final bag of Make Us a Brew mint and chilli tea (I’d HIGHLY recommend you try it!). The new box of tea is living on the table. What I’m saying, is, objects get misplaced – we think we left them in one logical place, when they’re actually in another, equally as obvious home. So I’m delving into the art of making – and breaking – names, categories and ways of ordering that we use to navigate our daily routines.

Above is a book of boxes. Below is a triangle book of numbers. Both are works in progress: click on the picture above to look at further images of this and other books I’ve been making of late…

If you’re into artist and hand-made books then the Book Arts Bookshop in London is definitely worth a visit. It is the Aladdin’s cave of folded, stitched and limited editions, a veritable feast of paper and print. Books range from £1 – £100 and are arranged on shelves, tables and in boxes for all to see. Spend a good amount of time browsing, as they have a lot of stock in the shop! Indeed it is the place where these ideas of multiple classification, and order within disorder, are living and breathing. You can spot different gems each time you look at a shelf, get lots of ideas for what your own books could be about and have a jolly good time along with it. The spherical window in the door is great fun too. I will post some links soon on the links page to some of the artists whose work I particularly admire. And, as luck would have it they also accepted my very own Shoe Tales Book to sell in the shop.

On the subject of organising… this is the cupboard I received for Christmas, handcrafted by the wonderful Matthew Simkins. Inspired by old spice cupboards, it is a place to store all my tools, bits, bobs and making stuff materials. It’s nice to display these things sometimes, such as the richly coloured Icelandic roving, some books in progress and a jar of buttons. And oh! what to put in the drawers? So much choice! I have that box of teabags on the table – perhaps this might be a good place to start…

A new sort of book…want to make one too?

11 Jan

This book has several layers to each page, forming pockets to stow away all kinds of stuff. Below is a picture – click on said picture for further images and information about this book. Meanwhile – this week is your last chance to sign up to the Introdcution to Handmade Books Evening class at the Cardiff Open Art School. Have a look around my blog, and if you feel inspired to learn the vibrant art of book making, binding and customising then do book a place!

Book by phone on 029 2020 1560 or email

An evening of letterpress…

5 Jan

I have had a delightful time tonight playing with my letterpress. The picture shows the Adana 5 x 3 in action, with the first few lines from Edward Lear’s poem ‘The Owl and the Pussy Cat’ set in 12pt Times Bold in the chase. Card, tracing paper, old book pages, fabric – even wall paper – are all great surfaces upon which to press type.  A few of the things in the picture are in preparation for some small books. Others are for fun, as printing  is very addictive! to the point that I was mischievously searching around the room for further things to print upon. I also have an 8 x 5 press which needs a new roller and a good oiling on a rainy afternoon…

WANTED: Large metal type above 30pt in size, or any wooden type. Please contact me if you, or you know of anyone who has some to sell / swap / barter. Thanks!

Going West

4 Jan

An amazing animation for New Zealand Book Council…

Colours of Iceland Book

3 Jan

The Colours of Iceland book is now complete!
Click on this image to see page details and to read about the inspiration behind this mini project.

Introducing…the Links Page

3 Jan

The Links Page is smick-smack up to date with a variety of recommendations, projects, people and things which are of interest to me at the moment (and you may like them too). It’s pretty useful having this page, as I tend to lose track of the many things I bookmark online. Follow them to see where you end up!

New Year Tootings!

2 Jan

I may have had a blast of a cold for most of December, but managed to keep my crafting hat on ready for the festivities. Below is one of this year’s collaged greeting cards, inspired by the disruptive yet beautiful blizzards that hit the city. Click on the image to see more card designs, plus a rather unusual illustration….

I’ve been busy preparing for the ten week Handmade Books course that starts in 15 days time, sourcing binding materials, book cloth, all sorts of paper and ephemera and most importantly producing example books to demonstrate various techniques. Keep visiting these pages as they’ll be updated daily with links to good materials sites, various recommendations, images of my work in progress and of the letterpress in action…

Today I will be mostly: mending my monster t shirt, completing the colours of Iceland folded map book, experimenting with some new folds and making the first cutouts for a storybook with a trap door. Plus bidding on some type on ebay tonight. Fingers crossed!