Category Archives: Books

World Book Night 2018

For 2018, the World Book Night United Artists issued an invitation to read and respond to the short story ‘Watching God’ in the collection Three Moments of an Explosion by China Miéville. There were many ways in which readers could respond to the text, through word or image, bookbinding, or even boat building.

The image and text submissions, including my letterpress responses below, have been printed out and framed to display in the manner of the library and gallery scenes in the short story. They are on show in an exhibition from 1st – 30th April 2018 at Bower Ashton Library, Bristol. The artist’s book will be launched on World Book Night, 23rd April 2018.


The artist’s book will be published as a paperback ‘ur-text’ in keeping with the contents of the town’s library. The title of the WBN book is Their Eyes Were Watching God – the book searched for but never found. It will be available through publish-on-demand, published on 23rd April 2018


Occasional Book Club Four Part I

Make: French Sewn Book

Cake: Yummy, Scrummy, Carrot Cake and Malteser Tray Bake


French Sewn Block

The fourth OBC happened on 18 July 2017. The invitations were little three hole stitch books with a self-contained wrap around clover with slot and tab fixing. We were very pleased this time to have Andrea join us around the table. In the continuing spirit of recycle and re-use the covers were off-cuts from old, left-over, prints.

This time Heather took the lead to get us to do some ‘proper grown up sewing’ and introduced a stitch that was new to most of the group. It was one which she had been shown on her bookbinding course at the Borders College. See the link for further info, she is really enjoying it!

One of the joys of Heather is her organisation so we had copies of her beautifully written college notes to keep for future reference. She truly had the patience of a saint and was having to do a dynamic risk assessment as most of us handled the folding with no problem but the making the holes with a Stanley knife was slightly erratic to say the least! I would definitely review this part when I do more for myself. Holes were eventually made both in sections (huzzah!) and tablecloth (boo!) but thankfully not actually in anyone.


Once we had calmed ourselves with tea and cake we continued. The sewing was actually straight forward when you concentrated (note to self) and the finished results quietly pleasing… it brought discussion about books with exposed bindings like these beauties from Ruth Bleakley. Future project for the making methinks!

Thank you Heather and we are all looking forward to Occasional Book Club Four Part II when we will take our French Sewn block and turn it into a proper book!

Occasional Book Club One

As a way to get making and baking again, the Occasional Book Club (OBC) was set up to bring a small group of people together to share thoughts and ideas whilst making books. I am also increasingly drawn to the ideas of ‘potlatch economies’ where the personal exchanges of ideas, skills and action replace those of money and goods. Finally remembering that ‘thinking about it is not the same as doing it‘, I made a call for a response. The invites (thankfully) survived the postal service and as a result the first OBC took place on 14 March 2017.

Make: Victorian Puzzle Pouches and Envelope Books

Bake: Yummy, Scrummy Carrot Cake + Pear & Ginger Loaf

These require no gluing or stitching, just folding. They are designed as containers for other books/objects/gifts. We have all experienced the pleasures of receiving and opening a gift, the promise of a handwritten envelope on the doormat… an effort that makes a simple connection and spreads some joy. The idea was to move away from, or subvert conventional formats, to add curiosity, intrigue and engagement of the recipient.

PUZZLE POUCHES were very popular in the Victorian era. They were easily made by hand and many were covered with intricate hand drawn or painted patterns. They were often used to pass secret Valentine messages, a lock of hair or other personal gift.


Getting to grips with the folding, remembering that 1mm out at the start can become a metre by the end!


It was a simple way to start and gave the time for people to get to know each other. Lots of common ground was discovered, ideas were shared and help offered. We discussed ideas of the haptic both as maker and receiver and how the thought and the hand work added value to the action. It was also a very useful way to recycle and re-love some of the small mountain of ‘that will come in useful for something’ scraps I have hoarded. Paper and covers were recycled from old prints and make ready sheets or from paper off-cuts. Additions were made with rubber stamps, sequins and googly eyes. Jane won the inkiest hands competition and I think lovely time was had by all.