Stitching furiously to meet the April deadline for my submission to Liverpool Book Art's Frankenstein exhibition. I'm working on a book that will open to reveal eight embroidered vignettes of the deaths of the characters in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I was inspired by the recurring motif in the story of using art to remember the dead, and Victorian society's morbid fascination with death. I hope to reflect the the themes of grief, remembrance and loss in my final book. In the meantime, I'm finding it strangely enjoyable embroidering dead people. Each to their own.
A bit more in my comfort zone this week with the e-course PaperLove's theme of 'book'. Starting with making single sheet 'trouser books' from envelope patterned papers (combined with last week's folded cover to make them more robust). Quite addictive once you get folding. Then moving onto a mobile of tiny map books (photographed on a particularly gloomy day)… not totally happy with the end result of this one so I may re-visit it at a later date. I like the idea, just not my execution. The larger project this week was making a multi-section book. I'd done this before so I wanted to use it as an opportunity to try a few new techniques: using deckle edged paper (cut with a clip point knife), embroidering bookcloth, leaving longer knot ties on the outside of the book, and also bringing the stitching over the top and bottom of the spine. Really pleased with how this one turned out, and I'm using it as a sketchbook already - hurray!
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!
Found some monoprints I had digitally printed onto fabric in the second year of my MA, and decided to make a small book cover from one of them. Ironing a sandwich of the fabric, bondaweb and tissue paper makes a passable book cloth to cover a board. The pink spine/endpaper was a colour catcher used in the washing machine (nice colour thanks to a leaky red duvet cover). Needs some refining, but I like the idea of bringing more stitch into my work.
A few sneak peeks at my most ambitious project to date. An embroidered Medieval book for a competition set by the Bodleian Library in Oxford. No such thing as fast hand-embroidery. It takes as long as it takes. But the deadline is the end of August so I'd better get a wiggle on…