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As a boy, I spent all of my pocket money on records and books. The only other thing I enjoyed spending my money on was (sweets &) paper! There was a thrifty shop in my local town (long before the £-shops) which sold a cellophane wrapped collection of plain, lined and squared paper of different sizes. Buying this gave me SO much satisfaction I can’t put it into words…but needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get home, open it up and start writing. I compiled lists mostly, lists of my 7″ singles and 33rpm albums – as well as writing to my sister who lived away at university. I also had several pen-pals and would love writing to them on my new fancy paper.

This passion for stationery has never gone away – and last weekend I fulfilled a goal that I’ve wanted to achieve for some time – a book-binding workshop weekend! I was told about the workshop by the lovely Gillian Lee Smith (who I’ve mentioned on here before)  and through her link I was able to contact the workshop leader Rachel Hazell. I booked myself on – and two days of creative book-binding ensued.

We started by creating little booklets made simply out of A4 pieces of paper – and this led eventually to folds of paper being stitched together in various designs. It was a lot more fiddly than what I thought it’d be – but I was impressed by my fumbled results and the amount of booklets we managed to make in the time. On the second day, we practised other stitching patterns before creating our own piece of ‘book art’ out of beautiful paper – and utilising the knowledge and techniques learnt during the weekend. I took in old photographs, lexicon cards, ephemera and little vintage wares to use within my creation. The book I made had little pockets and flaps in which to tuck things – it also had scored folds which meant the book unfolded in unique ways revealing little hidden areas for those special words of wisdom. (I’ve not written those yet!)

Want to see some more pics? (click for a bigger nosey)

Rachel was a constant source of wisdom and wit and I thoroughly enjoyed (and would recommend) the weekend. I also particularly loved meeting other creative artists and book-binding enthusiasts; plus I want to give an extra special shout-out to Fiona P, definitely the mostess hostess, who fed and watered us throughout. You can find a link to Rachel’s website HERE which is full of interesting facts, links to blogs and information about her past and future endeavours. Her aim is to run one workshop a month for the next 12 months before creating a video and book about the process and experience. Watch this space for more details about this – as and when I find out about it.

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