Recent Book Repairs and Rebinding
Late summer and the roads are quieter but it’s been a very busy time in the studio! Here are a few of our recent rebinding:
Late summer and the roads are quieter but it’s been a very busy time in the studio! Here are a few of our recent rebinding:
These paper-backed bookcloths are perfect for a rich and elegant finish. Luxury archival material for books, boxes, portfolios, journals, albums and presentations. Limited selection by the half or whole metre.
With a soft sheen and gently textured, these Japanese fabrics are easy to work adding a beautiful finish to artist editions, unique volumes and special projects. Dye lots may vary, for exact match please order complete quantities at the outset. Computer settings may effect colour perception. Samples provided by request, special orders accepted. ORDER ONLINE, UK Mainland Shipping
This special workshop focused on ways to inspire new content creating unique Artists’ Books in the studio.
In an open learning group, we first looked at various artists and the ways landscape and the built environment have been depicted in abstract forms. Students then worked through the stages of creating their own interpretation using specific sites and styles for inspiration. The works were then considered for composition and page layout and folded into book form. Although we only had two and a half hours to work, some highly individual and very interesting works emerged! Here’s the demo model from the day:
Inspired by Meg Green’s work, ‘JOVE’S BROTHER’, this edition of 100 signed and numbered bookmarks includes the electronically readable QR CODE of Jove’s Brother, transparent text and a random slice of Herman Melville’s iconic ‘MOBY DICK’ riveted together in layers.
The UWE ‘Bookmarks’ project aims to encourage appreciation of artists’ books as works of art. Participating artists each produce an edition of 100 signed and numbered bookmarks to give away through distribution boxes at venues around the world. Over the years these bookmarks have been distributed in more than 125 galleries, bookstores, workshops, centres, schools and libraries in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and USA.
Order your own 2015 signed, numbered limited artist edition bookmark ‘Jove’s Brother’ by Meg Green.
An observation on our evolving relationship with books and reading in a digital age. Get out your QR code reader to explore this new book on reading in the age of digital media.
“Why did the Greeks give it a separate deity and own brother of Jove? It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all.” – Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851
The discussion surrounding overtaking technologies isn’t new, it’s one we have every time a new technology redraws the ways in which we perceive and communicate ideas. Photography was supposed to have killed painting, video was supposed to have killed film. Once upon a time, books were the new ‘technology’ that threatened the practice of impressing pointy Cuneiform shapes into little clay tablets.
Clearly, digital books aren’t somehow ‘better‘ than conventional paper books, they’re simply a different medium of exchange. We aren’t confused about it either, we see and feel the differences between a conventional book and an e-reader, a paper page and a digital screen.
We are physical creatures, our perceptions conceived and conducted within our organic brains and bodies. We maintain physical immediacy with the objects through which we express ourselves, exchange experiences and communicate ideas. Our methods continue to change and evolve but this helps refine our subtlety and depth of understanding, our relationship to ‘reading’, books, text, coded images and abstract perceptions.
The book: a codex of turnable paper(?) pages assembled within covers comprising a set of material properties specific to its construction. The illuminated screen, whether an e-reader, mobile phone, laptop or billboard, obviously behaves in ways specific to its own material properties. The idea of Reading has traditionally implied a universality across all forms of media => Reading is reading, without regard to the format or context of the material.
However, the way we interact with different types of reading is now the pivot of change in digital media. Reading is no longer a universal or uniform activity irrespective of the mediating device. Marshall McLuhan taught us this decades ago with ‘The Medium is the Massage’. We ‘read’ differently from a screen, a mobile, a roadside sign, or a paper codex. It’s not just about absorbing information or finding things out, an activity well served by the internet. The aesthetic experience of reading depends on the way we access it. Memory, retention and depth depend on the material properties we select for different types of reading.
A new European study led by Anne Mangen of Norway’s Stavanger University documents differences in the immersion, recall and emotional responses based on whether material is presented in traditional paper book form or via digital e-reader. Researchers found that digital reading is becoming more intermittent and fragmented. They also found that the time invested in sustained reading strengthens our ability to maintain long term focus, improves our understanding of depth, complexity and layered meaning, and provides a more thoroughly immersive experience. Sustained focus helps people, especially children at formative education levels, prepare for and negotiate complex life situations with more balanced references to deeper memory and cultural experiences.
I turned to Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’ as an intuitive choice specifically appropriate to my vision for this work.
Moby Dick is famously debated as one of the few compositions in any language about which no one seems to agree on its content. Ask any number of scholars, professors, casual readers or innocent bystanders what it’s ABOUT and you will get as many answers as there are questions. There are central themes, of course, but there is no consensus on the subject of this book. Is it about fishing? About the sea? A philosophical discussion about Savage Nature versus the Devine? Yes. And no.
The open, ongoing and seemingly timeless discussion on the nature of ‘Moby Dick’ embodies Melville’s intention with a stroke of ironic perfection. Melville’s text is to reading what Ahab’s obsession is to life. What ‘Moby Dick’ is about forms part of the profound mystery of the sea and ourselves, it is archetypal.
‘Jove’s Brother’ is an observation on our changing relationship with books and reading.
Seven non-functioning Kindle e-readers have been bound into one complete volume. Each hand drawn ‘page’ constructs a series of images eventually forming a QR code which can be read by mobile, tablet or laptop. The code links to the continuous text of one of the most iconic books ever written in the English language displayed down a single page of this non-commercial dedicated website JovesBrother.com. The title of this artwork is revealed by searching the text.
See more about this unique concept book at Jove’s Brother.
A new European study led by Anne Mangen of Norway’s Stavanger University, documents differences in the immersion, recall and emotional responses to a story based on whether the material is presented in traditional paper book form or via digital e-reader. The researchers found that “the tactile experience of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does”.
“When you read on paper it is a tactile experience,” says Mangen who also highlighted a paper published last year found that “students who read texts in print scored significantly better on the reading comprehension test than students who read the texts digitally.”
New European study into empirical effects of digitisation on text reading shows reading is becoming more intermittent and fragmented with “empirical evidence indicating screen devices might negatively impact cognitive and emotional aspects of reading”.
The fact that sustained reading takes time strengthens our ability to maintain long term focus, improves our understanding of depth, complexity and layered meaning, and provides a more thoroughly immersive experience of reading in general. This level of sustained focus helps people, especially children at formative education levels, prepare for and negotiate complex life situations with more balanced references to deeper memory and cultural experiences.
Context is everything. #RealPaperBooks.
Historic Clandon Park is one of the UK’s most beautiful Palladian mansions. Built by a Venetian architect for Lord Onslow in the 1720s, the estate has been passed down through generations of this well known family. A wonderful place to visit while participating in the heritage of hand bound books.
Dates for SUMMER 2015 to be confirmed very soon!
In a special Guildhall LIbrary Exhibition, these unique hand-bound books expand off the page and climb out of the covers depicting some of the more unusual aspects of London’s extraordinary sense of place.
Eight hinged folios, Index, Drop down panel box.
Each folio contains a detailed composition inspired by a specific book within the Guildhall Library. Discover the details of each book by matching the folio image to the Index thumbnail to locate it within the archives.
Look INSIDE the box!
Fold-out reversible pamphlet.
Inspired by the Broadsides collections of Guildhall Library.
Twelve panels depicting details of selected Broadside sheets within Guildhall Library’s archives. Each panel includes the Broadside archive reference number.
Open this book and SEE all the pages!
Back-to-back book with fold-out timeline and diptych.
Pictorial timeline of the history of Guildhall Library informed by Dr. Peter Cook’s 2012 lecture for Gresham College on this subject. Layout and artwork inspired by the architecture of Guildhall Yard and the Roman Amphitheatre situated directly beneath street level, access via Guildhall Art Gallery.
“Guildhall Library Artist-In-Residence Meg Green presents ‘LondEnfold’ a range of original Artist’s Books inspired by the Library’s collections. Meg will be discussing books as artworks, and vice versa, along with some of the eccentric ideas and projects which fuel this unusual occupation. The presentation will be followed by an open reception where visitors are invited to browse the Artist’s Books with time for questions and discussion.”
£45 Advance booking essential
“Discover a range of techniques and make your own books during this half-day workshop. Led by Meg Green of Some Odd Pages Book Arts studio, this interactive session lets you explore materials and develop your own ideas in Book Arts and bookbinding, perfect for creating unique artist’s books and for Christmas. Materials included, tools provided. No experience necessary.”
‘LondEnfold’ by 2014 Artist-In-Residence Meg Green features a series of works inspired by the special collections of Guildhall Library, the world’s largest collection devoted to the history of a single city.
Meg’s hand-bound books expand off the page and climb out of the covers depicting some of the more unusual aspects of London’s extraordinary sense of place.
Exhibition runs Tuesday, 18 November through 13 December.
Workshop 1-4pm, Thursday 4 December, Advance booking required 020 7606 3030.
Presentation and Evening Reception, 6-8pm, 11 December, no booking necessary.
Looking forward to seeing you there!
“Guildhall Library is a public reference library specialising in the history of London. The Library’s printed books collection comprises over 200,000 titles dating from the 15th to the 21st centuries and includes books, pamphlets, periodicals, trade directories and poll books. The collection covers all aspects of life in London, past and present, its trade, people and buildings. In addition, we hold extensive collections covering maritime history, business history, clocks and clockmakers, internationally renowned collections of books on wine and food, historic English law reports and British parliamentary papers and statutes.”
School teacher Abi Seager of Bishopsgate School contacted Some Odd Pages for help with a class project. One of her students, Reuben, was moving to another city and the class wanted to make him a special commemorative book. With some easy guidelines from Some Odd Pages, Abi asked all the students for drawings, photos, artworks of any kind with a few words to Reuben and their signature. It didn’t take long at all to create the covers, title and binding for Rueben’s special book. The whole class presented their book to Reuben on the last day. Here’s what Abi said about the project:
We love participating with groups on these projects. Nothing captures the unique gesture and special presence of your friends like their own hand writing. You don’t have to draw well to express yourself in a few scribbles and add your own words and images. It’s wonderful how the voice of each person really comes through and creates a really special memory.
The binding for a commemorative book isn’t expensive or complicated. Starting at £35 we provide some simple guidelines for making the pages. You deliver the prepared pages, your book is bound in a soft or hard covers with cover title and title page, and returned to you ready for presentation. Easy peasy and a lasting memory of the people and special events created in their own hand.
CONTACT the studio for more details and your idea for your own book.
It’s official. We’ve been added to The Guardian’s list of Unusual Jobs, #WaHey!
“I’ve been working as a Book Artist since 1996 making books as artworks, creating artist editions and collaborating with artists to create ideas in book form. Broadly speaking, ‘book form’ means some kind of moving pages between covers but my work very often expands to include all kinds of hand-held structures. I work a lot with artists whose have ideas to express as books.
I studied Printmaking as an undergrad but then completed my Master of Fine Arts degree as an independent study in Book Arts during a time when most people had never heard of this idea. I had to explain what I was doing quite a lot. By the time I graduated though some people were asking me to make books and teach sessions. I needed a job, so I just carried on making books with people who had bookish ideas. I now run my own Book Arts studio, Some Odd Pages. I also teach Book Arts and do a lot of book repairs as well as continuing to make my own book artworks. This year I have been selected as Artist-In-Residence to the Guildhall Library in the City of London. I’ll be creating a series of Artist Books for their archives this autumn.
Many of my own book works have been made while travelling so I’ve come to specialise in strong, reliable structures that don’t require a lot of heavy studio equipment. These sessions have been really popular with people who don’t want (or don’t have access to) conventional bindery equipment. Some of the most ancient and enduring books are entirely non-adhesive. I especially like the way non-adhesive books hold themselves together through their own structure.
You can see more about my books at SomeOddPages.com“
Some Odd Pages celebrates UNESCO World Book Day 2014 with an online exhibition of Book Arts featuring work across a wide range of skills, interests and charmingly bookish eccentricities.
Many of these works are available for purchase. Your purchase helps individual Book Artists making unique books unlike anything you’ll find in shops or online through big corporate retailers. Support hand made books that are really special, a wonderfully intriguing addition to your own library or to give as one-of-a-kind gifts.
There are so many reasons to celebrate 23 APRIL as Books and Roses day. Here are some of the best:
To promote universal access to reading, writing, literacy and education
To promote cultural diversity, exchange and understanding
To improve access to culturally relevant reading materials in local and regional languages
To celebrate books as the global archive of humanity
Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO:
“Our relationship with books determines our relationship with culture. In all formats books embody ideas and values considered worthy of pursuit and preservation.”
Happy World Book Day 2014!
Maybe. But not necessarily.
Very often I watch students experience anxiety as they work through a new process, cut into new materials or make the first marks of a text or drawing onto a white page. They say things like, ‘I’m so nervous – I want it to be PERFECT.’ What does this mean and why is it the cause of so much anxiety?
It is disturbing that ideas of ‘Perfect’ are increasingly being replaced by ideas of machine-made. This arbitrary exchange of one set of subjective aesthetics for another clouds our judgement and undervalues the meaning and intent of original artworks. This is especially important in Book Arts as the commercial manufacture of books is at an all time peak. If we want a hand made book to look like it came from Paperchase, why don’t we just go to Paperchase and buy one? It would be far simpler and less expensive. Forcing a hand bound book to impersonate a machined object only conceals and subverts the essential nature of the hand made thing as well as the artist’s intention in making.
Do we want our books to look machined? Do we want all the edges to line up? All the angles to be square? Maybe, but that’s not the point. The point is that Some Odd Pages is hereby redefining PERFECT, particularly in regard to Artists’ Books, original artworks, and indeed all objects made by hand. So, here it is officially:
So, if aligned edges are essential to your concept, if straight geometry enacts your idea, if colouring inside the lines realises your intention, then so they should be. On the other hand, if a big splashy, splodgey tangle of lines, cords, shapes and textures substantiates your vision then clearly it is PERFECT on its own terms.
This in no way compromises the value of excellence in craftsmanship. Expertise in materials, techniques and skills comes with time and practice. If you don’t want your Artist’s Books to have all those glue marks all over the spine and covers perhaps it’s time to rethink how you arrange your workspace. If you like clean well-laid corners and insets as much a I do, spacious unmarked margins, tight strong bindings which really support the weight of the book block, then it’s important to explore and practice ways of achieving this through workshops, experimentation and experience.
A ‘connoisseur’ is literally ‘one who knows’. This idea isn’t restricted to the highest levels of making and achievement. One who knows is acquainted with a subject across a broad range of styles, methods, materials and outcomes embracing a vast range of effects and results, from the clean and pristine to the wild and woolly. Through practice, vision, intent and connoisseurship does the artist achieve artworks of perfection.
We are really excited about being Artist In Residence with Guildhall Library in the City of London this year! First established in 1425, the Guildhall Library houses a number of specialist collections and is itself a cornerstone in London’s great history. Can’t wait to get underway, new work for their archives, workshops, panel discussions and an exhibition. #WaHey!
Guildhall Library is a public reference library specialising in the history of London. The Library’s printed books collection comprises over 200,000 titles dating from the 15th to the 21st centuries and includes books, pamphlets, periodicals, trade directories and poll books. The collection covers all aspects of life in London, past and present, its trade, people and buildings. The library also holds extensive collections covering maritime history, business history, clocks and clockmakers, internationally renowned collections of books on wine and food, historic English law reports and British parliamentary papers and statutes. Some manuscript collections can also be consulted at Guildhall Library.
Special collections include those devoted to Samuel Pepys, John Wilkes and Thomas More, plus the libraries of the Clockmakers’, Gardeners’ and Fletchers’ Companies, the Antiquarian Horological Society, Gresham College, and the Charles Lamb Society.
Everyone is welcome to visit Guildhall Library and no appointment or membership is necessary.
Wonderful work this year! Very inventive, creative adaptation of traditional techniques and forms to highly original new works. Thank you everyone for an excellent year. Have a lovely holiday and see you all again in the new year!
New book cloth has now arrived in giant rolls at the studio just in time for Autumn Workshops! We are very excited to now offer our clients a choice of luscious rich cloth colours for bespoke orders, workshops, and ready made sketchbooks and journals.
Take a look at these gorgeous colours:
Ah, we’re gonna need another plan chest.
Here’s a good overview of different methods of papermaking from Whittington Press:
Cellulose fibres (plant fibres usually from cotton) are shredded and mixed with water. The mixture of fibres and water, which is very dilute, is called pulp. It is passed into a vat in which it is agitated mechanically to give an even concentration, The papermaker (vatman) stands by with a pair of moulds. A mould is a rigid wooden frame covered with a fine wire mesh. He produces a sheet of paper by dipping the mould into the pulp and lifting it out with a shaking action. The water drains off leaving a matt of fibres in the mould the outer edges of which is called a deckle. The edge of the sheet is at the deckle, but one gets fibre seepage under the deckle. Thus the edge of the sheet is not a sharp edge, but a rather ragged graduation down to nothing – this is called a deckled edge and is the natural edge obtained when paper is made by hand. Because of the method of manufacture, the fibre orientation is random and there are no significant differences in properties of the sheet in the long or short direction.
Pulp is prepared in the same way as for hand-made paper and is usually of the same high quality raw materials. At the point of manufacture, the process is now automated and the pulp is passed into a vat that contains a rotating cylinder partly immersed in the pulp, again covered in a fine wire mesh. This is the cylinder mould form which the paper takes its descriptive name. As the cylinder rotates, the fibre forms into a matt on the outside of the cylinder. Just after the highest point of rotation and before re-entering the vat, this matt of fibres is couched off onto a felt and removed continuously from the point of manufacture to be further processed. Because of the nature of the machine which is usually run very slowly, although there is a difference in properties between the long and short directions of the paper but not so pronounced as for commercially manufactured machine-made paper.
Again cellulose fibre is prepared to give a pulp in low concentration in water. Commonly, but not always with machine-made paper, the pulp is of lower quality than for either of the above. This is now passed onto a horizontal fast moving wire mesh and the excess water drains through, leaving the sheet formed on the wire. This principle was developed by the Fourdrinier brothers and this type of machine is called a Fourdrinier machine. This machine is accepted today as giving the most economical production and is used to produce large quantities of cheaper paper which are produced at high speed. Because of this normally high speed production, the sheet will show very marked differences in properties between the long and short direction of the sheet.
Sitting with the samples trying to decide.. The brights are nice, summer colours?? Yellow, scarlet, pumpkin, moss and cerulean for some really vibrant hand bound journals. I feel a plan forming…
Some Odd Pages uses finest quality leather from Harmatan Oakridge tannery, a British company with an excellent reputation among specialist bookbinders for decades. The skins are vegetable tanned, hand polished and finished revealing its natural beauty and richness. The natural character of each skin is maintained so no pigment finishes are added and no grain correction is needed. They are smooth and warm to the touch, subtly glossy with that lovely leather smell. These journals age well and will retain its beauty over time and with gentle use.