I was going to write a post about how the BookBinding workshop our daughter and I did a couple of weeks ago, was a great opportunity to learn about Maths, but I realised I don’t actually give two hoots if our daughter learnt any maths or not. Instead, I’m going to write about how totally amazing it was to make our own handmade, watercolour sketchbook from scratch, just for the joy of making it.
It took five hours to make our book. I think it would take a little less once you got the hang of it, but it is still a process that can not be hurried, which is a good thing. It was an intense process that took all of our attention and focus. It felt like we were re-connecting with a skill from the past. Helen Bishop, who ran the workshop, used to be a Shoe Maker. I just couldn’t help seeing the image of Helen in her workshop surrounded by elves, all making shoes. But seriously, I did feel a sense of awe. I am a big fan of technology, but I also appreciate the craftsmanship of making something with our own hands and honouring the time it takes.
While, making our book there were moments of doubt. Had we done it right, was the stitching good enough?. The other students also had their concerns until Helen said, “We don’t want perfection, for perfection angers the Gods!“ she went on to explain that when making handmade objects, imperfections were the thing that gave the piece its uniqueness. Another person pointed out that all Islamic artists make a deliberate error in their work on the grounds that Only God Is Perfect.’ Which explains the minor irregularities in the complex geometrical designs of Islamic art.
We all felt much better after hearing this!
At the end of the workshop we all held in our hands our very own hand stitched book. Our daughter choose the materials for the cover, as she has always had an eye for colour. The book now sits on our book shelf waiting for the Spring, when we will take it with us to our favourite National Trust Gardens and fill it was watercolours and sketches of nature.
Helen Bishop also makes beautiful handmade leather books which are for sale, you can find her here at HatsWell Books. (Tell her I sent you!)