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Winter Pilgrim

February 3, 2013

The last book for the exhibition took a week to make. The binding – a single-sheet Coptic sewn along the spine, devised by Keith Smith – is one of the most difficult I have attempted. It was an all-day job, and the first few pages required constant reference to the relevant section of “Smith’s Sewing Single Sheets”.

WP sewing

Though he will never know it, Keith Smith is my bookbinding guru. His instructions are astonishingly precise and are illustrated with clear drawings. I noticed that I had pencilled at the top of the chapter, “Total attention! No interruptions!” when I first tried this binding some years ago. Phone calls and visitors, welcome though they were, resulted in mistakes that were often difficult to spot and unpick. It is a beautiful binding though, very firm and secure, worth the trouble.

WP spine

The book is only 10cm tall, but the sewing took over three metres of blue waxed thread.

WP front cover

The book-cloth for the covers was made from damask linen indigo-dyed with a wax resist. The wax was removed and the linen dipped again in the indigo vat. This gives a gradation in the depth of colour. The dyed cloth is pasted to a thin but strong Chinese paper, stretched and left to dry, after which it can be used like paper.

WP 2nd spread

I’ve used home-made paints and dyed velvet and silk to decorate the pages.

WP 3rd spread

The fridge is half-filled with inedible mixtures in yoghourt-pots labelled “Paint” or “Book paste”. The trade-off is motorcycle parts and tools colonising the work-surfaces. Symbiosis in action.

WP 4th spread

WP 5th spread

WP 6th spread

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2013 4:09 pm

    Beautiful. And I like the sound of your kitchen.

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