Friday, 25 October 2019

My final post for the 2019 Booker Award.... I think...

My final post for the 2019 Booker Award.... I think...

Rusdie's Quichotte is inspired by the classic Quichotte by Cervantes. My binding for Rushdie's re-interpretation is inspired by the often surreal like images that he created in my minds eye.

We enter via a second tier writer of pulp thrillers, Sam DuChamp, who, whilst mid way through a midlife crisis, creates Quichotte, a mild mannered though slightly deranged and deluded traveling salesman of prescription drugs crisscrossing the hinter land of a contemporary USA. Our Quichotte falls in love with a day time TV star, fact and fiction become indiscernible from each other. Thus starts a road journey during which he encounters a series of situations and events that echo the changing plight of a USA as it topples into a vortex of despair and ultimate self imploding, space warping destruction. Along with green, suit wearing Mastodons and imagined characters and sidekicks our journey ends at the beginning.

This and more was my inspiration for the binding. By using contemporary material for the binding, to use the discarded, in particular Affiches lacérées, torn posters. A fall from grace, Selma R (one of the characters and the the love of Quicotte) originally from India, now based in New York (not the original in North Lincolnshire) once the poster girl for day time chat across a USA, reduced to torn and creased rubbish. A collaged jigsaw puzzle and mixed media, hand tooling to the front board.

The text block was specially printed with the sheets folded into sections, hand sewn. End papers are Flottage coloured with further hand printing. The construction is based on a Bradel Binding variant. Double boards, sewn-exposed-endbands, full-laminated linen board attachment with goat skin edges at the head and tail of the cover.

24.2cm x 16.5cm x 3.8cm. Housed in a two tray drop back box.

All six bindings that were made for the shortlisted Booker Prize authors are now on display in the foyer at Bonhams in Knightsbridge (Montpelier St, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1HH) through until Friday 1st November (9.00 – 17.30 weekdays; 11.00–15.00 Sundays. Closed Saturdays).
If you want a chance to see these wonderful bindings in person before they get whisked away by their authors go and take a look!
Also on display, will be some bindings by Philip Smith (1928-2018), including an enormous "book wall" tower of Dante's Inferno, and a number of bindings for Booker Prize shortlisted novels from previous years.
 The binding.

 Front and back Doublers.

 Front end paper.

 Back end paper.

 End band, text block edge and board edges.

 Laminated and collaged jigsaw detail.

'Beyond Coptic Sewing.. a bigger universe with no adhesive' (Please note, other opinions and views are available)

I have been asked to "Just do a workshop" ... "locally, so it need not be a special thing".. oh yes...and that 4 letter word beginning with F or f that professionals dread... "for free"! After all " its just bits pf paper isn't it".
To be working in the world of the book is a wonderful place to be. I realise I am lucky.. perhaps I have worked for the luck, but I am lucky in finding a creative direction.
One aspect of my working life that always gives me continued and renewable pleasure is the chance to try to pass on what little knowledge I have and to encourage others to have the chance to find the book as a creative vehicle, a place to explore the manifold delights of the book as the maker, viewer, participator etc.
Sadly, however, all to often when one is asked to teach or share in an educational establishment one is faced with the prospect of keen and eager students with no equipment save for many computers and printers. The permanent members of the staff, who, I find, have increasingly less and less in the way of working in the 3D expect miracles.... It can be so disappointing for all concerned. Other aspects, to name a few, are costs, availability of materials, hand tools and budget. Though I am passionate about my work I have bills to pay.
Of course it is possible to take various presses and such but what happens when one says goodbye and takes the equipment back... The students are left in a void, equipped with newly acquired knowledge but no way to make as there is no equipment.
There are many books, styles of binding and structures that one could teach but many of these require specialist hand tools, adhesives and environments. One has to remember that many structures only work with specific materials, again one can use compromise materials and substitutes but the work will always be a substitute and a compromise.
What is important is being able to teach what is relevant and achievable. What can enable and allow the student to go on if desired. It is not about the teacher... it is about the student, some teachers forget that.

I will go out on a limb now. A little rant...

The Coptic Stitch/sewn book. For many this style of book is a first step in the making of books. There are any number of sites on the internet that show how this ½ book is made (yes, I did write ½ book) It requires very little in the way of specialist equipment and is quickish to make. Many makers do not move on from this simple method of making. However, what many makers who use the Coptic Stitch may not know is that is only ½ the story. The basic structure is then bound in leather, sewn end bands are worked and numerous further operations are carried out before the book is completed. The tight back binding supports the sections and the sewing, it reinforces the complete book. In short ... the use of leather and the skills required cannot be taught in a morning workshop.... which may explain a lot. Please do not misunderstand me, as one of the first steps in the journey of the book, the Coptic stitch/sewn ½ book is ok but there is so much out there to be explored. Of course, if one chooses to concentrate on this singular style.. great... we all have our own thing. For those wishing to perhaps have a fuller introduction to a more complete picture of this binding style I have included a couple of images of a pamphlet I rate.
Perhaps a new workshop... 'Beyond Coptic Sewing.. a bigger universe with no adhesive' (Please note, other opinions and views are available)

Perhaps, if I may conclude. It is not easy to provide and teach a workshop. There is so much in preparation. The aims of the workshop, indicative content, rationale, assessment etc. To provide a coherent and understandable format that allows the student to further their abilities, that is inclusive whilst not going to the default of the lowest common denominator. One also has to make the most of the materials, environment, tool and equipment availability etc. Not to belittle for the lack of something - more it is to expand on what is available.
Thus much time is spent in developing structures and ways of working that are flexible, that can be taught and made either within the professional - equipped workspace/learning establishment or a table in a church hall in the middle of nowhere.
Please note there are other ways of doing things and opinions..... spelling and grammar. Please further note, the opinion of the author may change at any moment. This is due to having an open mind... of sorts.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Inspired by my Travels.

 Front Baord.

At last, a book I have been working on for a while... is finished. Starting with making the pages/panels to the final coat of varnish has been a long journey. Inspired by my travels and work in and around Manila. 190cm x 61cm x 10cm when closed.
Wood, paper mixed media.

 Detail Front board.
 First Spread.
 Second Spread.
 Back Board.
 Front and Back Boards.
At last, a book I have been working on for a while... is finished. Starting with making the pages/panels to the final coat of varnish has been a long journey. Inspired by my travels and work. 190cm x 61cm x 10cm when closed.
Wood, paper mixed media.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Freedom. seriously simple in koncept.

seriously simple in koncept.
There are times when I find myself waiting for things to dry. Paint, adhesive, jokes.. you know the sort of thing. It is during those moments of not much happening that my thoughts go back to the past. To the endless days and nights of youth. Before the internet, mobiles and much less facial hair.
In an age when the very way we communicate with each other is monitored and, in the UK at least, we find ourselves filmed or on camera countless times a day, privacy becomes a commodity not a right. There are many voices and opinions about this, I, myself have no wish to add to the chattering masses. We also find ourselves being censored and banned from social media sites by un-named people with no way of recourse. Such is life. Please understand, the various vehicles of communication and ease in other aspects of our lives is wonderful, but it comes with a loss of privacy and a certain cost of the individual.
We know the problems with leaks from net providers and the selling of information... remember the internet is not free.... we give up so much when we enter this world... As I said, during the quiet moments my mind drifts to that bygone age of youth with a distinct lack of allergies and the other trappings of a 1st or developed world life style (please note, other life styles and worlds are available. In some ways I would prefer to be part of a developing world than a developed world, at least I would be going somewhere. Please further note that I am fully aware that there are other opinions and of course we are all now allowed allergies. However, I cannot, for some reason, imagine my Grandfather saying " Oh I cannot sit in there, I have an allergy to canvas" as he strapped himself into the cockpit of his Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2 with classic "Farman" layout, as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps... An other age, and other time and all of that for a freedom that many young people have no concept of the cost in the millions of peoples futures deferred , permanently)
I digress.
I am an advocate of newsletters and the like being on line and that they can be printed off should one desire to have a hard copy. There is scope for links and other lovely things that can and often make for interactive and exciting journeys. However... there is the nagging thought, that there is nothing private..... and could be open to corruption. Idle thoughts I know.
Perhaps the fanzine or zine could be an answer... as I said, seriously simple in koncept. I will ponder further.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Salmon Rushdie... Quichotte. Booker Binding 2019

Quichotte by Salmon Rushdie, Booker binding 2019... The end papers....... The end papers are made over-size. Once laminated to a white (Made End Paper) the end papers will be trimmed to the correct size. The paper is 130 gsm cartridge.

The end papers have been made ....... After the sections have been trimmed, I am wanting rough edges, the sections have been sewn, sections tipped on , a thin coating of PVA-Paste mix applied to the spine, rounded, backed with the first spine lining of linen adhered and allowed to dry in shape in a finishing press.
I have to say that it was not the easiest of jobs.. the sections are think and I have a feeling that there maybe an issue with grain direction.. I will check, I could be wrong.
I used my £2.50 hammer and a single screw laying press from my friend (in the flesh as it were) (
Allowing things time to dry is crucial I feel.
I have to the 12th October to have it and a box finished and get it and myself to the awards evening at the Guildhall in the City of London. I realise it sounds a long time but in fact there is pressure. I have to read the book so many times, as a landscape artist draws inspiration from the landscape, I draw my inspiration from the text. What one has to remember is ... I will be meeting the author... The work I do will be looked at as part of the award is that all of the 6 finalists receive a hand bound designer binding of their book.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Jaggedart. An exhibition.

As well as the Booker... and Chiswick Literary Festival.....

Friday, 6 September 2019

The Booker award 2019

Once again it is Booker time. This year I will mainly be reading...... Salmon Rushdie's Quichotte.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

The Printer and the Bookbinder

Artists’ Print & Artists’ Book Workshop

A Drum-Leaf Binding using Handmade Woodblock Prints:
hosted by Ralph Kiggell & Mark Cockram

Four days, two workshops combined: ‘East meets West’
Saturday 5th October - Tuesday 8th October 2019
Barnes, London

This workshop was conceived some time ago by these two leading artists, two continents crossed, Mark Cockram visiting Asia and Ralph Kiggell touring Europe, they were destined to share ideas, shape and mould their work into this one off workshop.

The opportunity is here to meet and work with designer bookbinder Mark and printmaker Ralph. A workshop in two stages, with artist-printmaker Ralph leading the first two days, and bookbinder Mark leading the latter two days, with no experience of bookbinding or printmaking needed. This workshop is aimed at all ages and all levels of creative experience.

Stage One. Under the guidance of Ralph, participants are introduced to the classic art and craft of Japanese water-based woodblock printing, commonly known today as mokuhanga. This stage of the workshop covers the basic tools, materials and process of this non-toxic technique from block preparation and cutting, paper choice and preparation, to the fundamentals of printing itself. Students will develop a simple multi-block print in two to three colours, using their own cut blocks, alongside woodblock templates provided.

Stage Two. Under the guidance of Mark, participants use their prints from stage one to create a four-spread drum-leaf bound book. This process combines bookbinding methods from Europe and Asia. The process is simple, it includes folding, adhering the papers and pressing, the final result is a decorated cased in binding with no sewing required. Tips, hacks and joviality provided along the way.

About the tutors:

Ralph Kiggell, a member of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers, UK, studied woodblock printing in the early 1990s at the atelier of Toshi Yoshida, son of Hiroshi Yoshida, where he learned the fundamentals of the ukiyo-e technique. He later learned contemporary woodblock methods in Kyoto with Akira Kurosaki, before taking his studies to MFA level at Tama Art University, Tokyo.

Mark Cockram, a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders, Brother of the Art Workers Guild and  Special Researcher of the University of Shanghai Science & Technology and the founder of Studio 5, an educational facility in London. Mark is an award-winning book artist, international exhibitor and Man-Booker prize winning bookbinder, trained in England, France and Japan, who has led workshops in London, New York, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Manila and Shanghai.

Materials available:

For the printmaking: woodblocks, knives, water-based pigments, Japanese papers (washi), printing brushes, registration boards, bench-hooks, traditional baren for hand-printing.

For the bookbinding: acrylics & inks, bookcloth, board, adhesive and brushes.

6 Spaces Available at £400 pp (including all materials).

Location: Wurkshop 9-10, The Mews, 46-52 Church Rd, Barnes, London SW13 0DQ

Email for more information.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Shanghai, Part 2. POP UP

When not teaching, I was what I can only describe as eventing. A lecture, pop up exhibition and a 'hands on' workshop in the fab Sinan Bookstore in the French concession area of Shanghai.

A wonderful crowd. First there was the pop up. I had managed to borrow a number of books I had made or bound from the DeWilde collection. Ten books in total... a unique chance to see 10 books.. 
close up and with the binder.

 Then an illustrated lecture on wider topics including my inspiration, ways of working and variations within the genre of the book. Finally a hands on workshop in foil tooling. All in about 3 hours of non stop stuff. Many thanks to all involved.

After the events, a break in a wonderful little place, a beer or two.... with new friends. All in all a great day.

 A wonder around the French Concession, bits around the corner and on the walls..

Friday, 2 August 2019

Shanghai.A first time for me...

A while ago I was invited to teach in Shanghai by the Purple Heron Cultural and Media Co. Ltd at the University of Shanghai Science and Technology, college of Communication and Art Design. I was pleased to have been asked.. delighted even and with a few days to go, on being asked if I would like to appointed to the position of Special Researcher of the USST Purple Heron Bookbinding Design and Research Center, I was in a different place... A happy place.

Shanghai is many different things to different people, I went with an open mind. Though I have been visiting and working in South East Asia for nearly 30 years this trip would be the first time I had been to main land China. For more information about The Republic of China may I suggest that you may wish to follow this LINK  to the Wikipedia site (Yes, I do contribute)

There were two main reasons for me being there, first to teach at the University and second to give a pop up talk, demo, workshop and exhibition.. all in one place in the matter of 3 hours... cripes..

First a few links ...



草鹭工坊 | 跟着Mark Cockram定制烫金笔记本

上观 | 让书变得“好看”,就是设计一个好看的封面?图书设计,是时候改变思路了!

Purple Heron

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Mayfly endbands...

 End banding and end banding silks. Part of the palette.

 End banding... the start. A simple, single core end band.

End banding. Unlike the more traditional approach to the sewn end band... 3 white 3 red 3white etc the contemporary end band can form part of design narrative. With the colour palette I have for this book I am looking for a multi coloured or banded look. The colours will jump and flow across the end band. Threads are added and taken away, grouped and spread. I work from the front of the book with the view of the finished end band in my eye and I tie down at each section. Please note, I am aware of other end band techniques and methods of working. I am using this particular technique because it is in keeping with my current approach to contemporary bookbinding. Please also note, I am aware of other contemporary methods etc.