Make: French Sewn Book
Cake: Rachel’s Granny’s Orange Yoghurt Cake
The invite was a real cobbled together affair combining scavenged print finishing leftovers and the coming out of retirement of my Imperial typewriter (swapped for a shiny set of rotoring pens when at Chelsea School of Art nearly 30 years ago and still going strong). Typewriting is a perfect way to challenge the perfectionist within and I forced myself to embrace the mistakes and their inherent charm. It was a good exercise and opened up thinking for future projects.
The making of the book from our french sewn block in part I, took place at Robert Smail’s Printing Works on Tuesday 22 August 2017. We decamped to ‘work’ so that we could make use of the nipping presses, guillotine and extra space. This involved gluing the spines, attaching the ‘mull’ or scrim’ and craft paper to stabilise the block. Then we moved to the quarter case bound cover. I had pre-cut the boards to save time and Heather again provided comprehensive instructions for each step of the process. It was really useful (for someone who usually wings it) to have precise measurements as that really helped the neatness of my finished results.
I had never made a quarter bound case cover before and I have to say I liked it. Traditionally to manage production costs a more expensive (stronger) material (say leather) was used for the spine and extended slightly onto the covers with the rest
being covered with a cheaper material.
Our books consisted of a buckram spine and paper covers. This allowed me to use one of the lining paper roller prints I had made in collaboration with Ruth Broadway at a wonderful workshop led by Stephen Fowler (King of the Rubber Stamp) at UWE back in May. Others used print room make ready sheets, end papers, wallpaper samples and gift wrap… the possibilities are endless.
It was time-consuming… we all underestimated how much time it takes to measure, cut and glue but a couple of us got there by the end (with a chance to finish next time, rather than rush for the others).
There was a satisfaction in making a ‘proper’ book and I liked the potential for the combination of materials this format opened up. The other combination of materials (or rather ingredients) we all liked was the orange yoghurt cake. She has recently inherited her Grandmother’s recipe book and brought this in for us all to see. It was a beautiful, well-loved, well used object and it sparked conversation and equivalent memories and laments for everyone. The thing that made it magical for me was the greasy finger prints, embedded crumbs and especially the little notes put next to the recipes (some glued in from magazines, some handwritten). Their provenance was always acknowledged… ‘Mr Little’s Marmalade’, ‘Isobel’s Coffee Buns’ (not as good as Mum’s), some were ‘good for freezing’, some ‘nice for parties’… a personalised Mrs Beeton which connects and resonates across the generations… the people known forever linked to the food eaten. Will Rachel add her own recipes and notes or conserve it as epitaph all bound up in a book? I wonder…. maybe the book from this OBC will be the start of her own? The Orange Yoghurt Cake had made it into the book three times so it must have been a favourite and after tasting it we could see why… thank you Hazel, I will add it to my own collection with its provenance acknowledged and think of you every time I make it (possibly with a note… ‘not as good as Rachel’s’).