Demonstrating a Living Journal.
I was recently asked to provide a demonstration for the Society of Bookbinders Book Arts Day 2018. The starting point was what to demonstrate. I work in a number of disciplines, both in my commercial work and my own work, but my book arts were obviously more relevant here.
So what to do? The audience were likely to be interested and have a knowledge of both bookbinding and book arts, so it couldn’t be anything too simple. (Not usually an accusation thrown at me though!) Most of the Inkpot & Pen Press books are simply bound, Japanese stab binding being one of my favourite methods along with a concertina format, both of these were likely to be well known to the audience so I need to make this more interesting, more personal, more engaging, but still relevant to the event…
And then I hit on the idea of a ‘living’ or ‘live’ journal.
My sketchbooks are a mess of ideas and drawings, lists and notes, but my holiday sketchbooks are usually an A5 concertina format, (Seawhites concertina sketchbooks with their lovely protective box are my favourites,) and tell a story. Walking from one end of the holiday through my experiences to the other end. Sometimes they are just visual, other times they are full of writing, sometimes personal, about the distinct lack of chocolate or how Mr Inkpot has yet again fallen asleep in front of the fire while doing his crossword… It’s a journey from the beginning to the end of the holiday.
The Book Arts Day was held in the Congregational Church, Kelly Street in Kentish Town, so the location and surrounding area is one I knew well, the idea started to form that I would make a journal on the day throughout the event, documenting what the day meant to me.
Some preparation work and pages were worked on beforehand. The map to venue for example, the drawing of the venue’s exterior (see below), which as it turned out was the rear of the building, but was more interesting anyway!
Some pages were partly done, set up so that they could be added to on the day, for example my timetable for the day and the page for overheard conversations.
Then some pages were left to be created almost from scratch, the pages were precut to size and drilled for binding and some pockets were pre made. Like the venue’s interior drawing and the ‘Layers of Sound’ pages.
I wanted to create a unique very personal response to the day, but there also had to be something for my audience to participate in, so that they joined me and became part of the book.
There are more examples of the different pages below along with details of the paper and binding techniques used.
I hope you enjoy walking through the book, doing this demonstration and making the book was a great experience for me.
I met so many lovely people on the day from individuals to two of my hero bookshops which I absolutely must tell you about.
Tanya Peixoto runs Book Arts Bookshop Hoxton, East London. A small space packed with interesting and exciting artist books, it’s also a place for discussions and events, so well worth a visit. The opening hours are quite specific so check the Contact & Location page on their website.
Along with the Tanya, the lovely Cate and Nash from the wonderful Much Ado Books in Alfriston visited. If you don’t know about Much Ado Books, you really, really should! It’s based in a beautiful part of East Sussex, just down from the South Downs Way if you fancy combining a trip to the bookshop with a walk, (views of the countryside and sea from the top of the Downs, so what’s not to love?!) in the pretty village of Alfriston (pronounced All-friston, not Al-friston as I said for years!)
This is a bookshop with a difference, they sell new and old books, alongside their own Re-covered Notebooks, it’s a haven for book lovers with comfortable chairs and it’s the first bookshop that I went into that had spare reading glasses if you’d forgotten your own. It’s a bookshop for the visitor, everything about it is set up for you to enjoy your experience. They have Propero’s Projects which are their social enterprise projects and they have an envious staircase that every bookie person will want to take away!
I hope you enjoy looking at the video and pages, if you have any questions about the book please drop me a line and I’ll try to answer. I’m currently in discussion regarding running some journal workshops later in the year, so if you’re interested nip over to the Contact & Signup page and subscribe to the mailing list as this is where things will be announced.