My entry for the Bodleian Library 'Redesigning the Medieval Book' competition – a real labour of love. The planning and thinking for this book have taken almost as long as the actual making, and I feel slightly bereft now it's finally completed.
I attended a workshop at the Bodleian back in March, and was inspired by a discussion about the prestige of book ownership in Medieval times – the time and expense of commissioning an illustrated book made the final product into a status symbol. I usually create small editions of cheap and cheerful books, but I saw this brief as an opportunity to create a one-off, handmade artefact with an unrushed, methodical production process.
I was interested in addressing the challenges of Medieval craftspeople in designing a book, and –influenced by their love of ornamentation – I decided to hand embroider my illustrations. I chose to work with natural materials such as cotton, wool felt and hemp cord which could have been available in centuries past. My nods to the 21st century were the digitising of the Carolingian Miniscule alphabet to create a typeface for the text, and digitally printing this and my original hand-drawn illustrations onto fabric (thanks to excellent fabric digital printers Contrado).
It's been a very enjoyable, and challenging, project to work on, and I'm definitely keen to find ways to combine stitch and books in the future. Just have to wait and see now if it makes the final selection for an exhibition at the Bodleian Library in December - fingers crossed!