Book making

For her recent birthday (2-Jul-2018) my mother was given beautiful cards, some hand-made, many with personal comments and wishes. I’ve now bound the cards together so that she can easily display them and re-read all those lovely thoughts.

It turned out pretty well, the trickiest part being figuring out how to handle all the different sizes of card.

Class notes

To stitch the binding I referred back to my notes from a class with Adele Outteridge in 2014 (25-Jul-2014). I tend to make copious notes in classes. For Adele’s workshop I actually made a book of the notes, a variety of papers, an invoice for some threads I bought…

Over the years I’ve tried lots of different book formats for storing workshop notes, visual diaries, exhibition leaflets… Some of it’s by date, some by subject.

Cannibalizing from a draft blog post for a project that hasn’t quite taken off yet: Recently a son asked me for the name of a glass maker we had been interested in a while back. I was able to identify John Ditchfield from a photo of a glass frog in my very first visual diary – 2003, just after I drew a line under my professional studies. That’s 15 years of sometimes obsessive making, learning and experimenting. And flipping through my diaries, looking for this frog photo I had in my head, was a revelation. Some of that stuff was really interesting. I was impressed by myself. Instead of constantly reaching for the next glittery thing that catches my attention, I think it’s time to go deeper, to look around me in my workroom-formerly-known-as-the-dining-room.

Unfortunately in some ways my notes are a bit of a mess. This blog acts as an index to find the date of a workshop, but then it’s a hunt to find the actual notes. I haven’t always worked steadily, filling up one notebook before starting the next. A visual diary is too heavy to carry around. I’ve wanted a mix of papers. There are a couple of handmade books on the shelves with paper mixes, there are lots of loose pages bundled together with string that I was planning to bind – but that’s slow and I haven’t got around to it…

So I’ve identified value, the resource I’m continuing to build, and I’ve identified a number of problems with the way I create, store and access that value. Seeing the benefit, I’m now experimenting with a system I’ve always rejected in the past as just too ugly. A4 spiral binding with plastic combs. How is that more ugly, more office-drab, more bland uniformity than lever arch folders? Don’t know, it just is.

Now I have a thin book with a variety of papers, light enough to live in my backpack. Roughly weekly I take out whatever pages I’ve used and refill with blanks. The used pages go into a larger consolidation folder. There are receipts and postcards and all sorts of oddments going in. At the moment it definitely isn’t beautiful, but at some stage I might play with putting more “arty” stuff in. So far it seems to working – useful. That’s enough.

3 Responses to “Book making”


  1. 1 kath July 28, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    nice to read how you work with sketchbooks. I’ve taken to using the hard bound A3 books for drawing classes/subjects with portable smaller sketchbooks/notebooks for out & about – some of them get moved into the class book if related, otherwise they standalone. I’ve moved away from online for the moment. may get back one day – am liking the pasting/taping/typing/handwritten parts of the book

    • 2 fibresofbeing July 28, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      Maybe the one constant is change? When doing longer term classes it makes sense to keep things specialised. My earlier visual diaries were all A4 spiral bound, and they’re full of samples of dyed fibres and scraps of thread manipulations and photos taped in and now falling out. A real memory blast, and I like the feeling of the whole of life, notes, doodles, sketches and the rest, all together.


  1. 1 Articulation of Practice: Note-taking | Fibres of Being Trackback on October 15, 2019 at 8:20 pm

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