04 May 2009

Something of Value

The analogue book, Something of Value, is about to begin it's journey. This book is a fantastic piece in and of itself, and we should all thank Jan Allsopp for creating it for us! So if you have already contacted me with your name and mailing address, I will soon be talking to you about the mailing process. If you have not yet contacted me with that information, we still have some room for new artists to participate, so please send me an e-mail.

A little about the book: It has been made by rebinding a 1955 edition of Robert Ruark's "Something Of Value" published by Hamish Hamilton Ltd, London. The particular book was chosen for it's title, the size of the book and the fact that it was in reasonable condition. I have never read the book and don't really know what it is about! But it seemed apt for this project to me. I began by disassembling it, removing the original book block from the covers and reinforcing the covers to help it to last its future journeys. Then I separated each page from the book block. Unfortunately it didn't contain much of interest (to the sketch artist!) in its pages, so while I selected a few to go back into the book later, I also dipped into my stash of pages from other old books to add a bit of visual interest with different sizes of papers and different subject matters. I cut new pages of the book from a variety of art papers - Arches 185gsm, both hot and cold press watercolour papers, my favourite sketchbook paper Art Spectrum Draw & Wash, Canson Montval watercolour paper, Stonehenge drawing paper, Canson acrylic sketch paper and some found papers including grid, exercise book and pages with writing guides. When I stitched the new book block together with waxed linen thread, it made a wonderfully eclectic basis for a wide variety of sketches. Artists will be able to select a page that will support their kind of artistic expression. Text pages can be gessoed over or collaged onto. Watercolour pages can take other wet media and the drawing papers are very versitile. I added 2 ribbon page markers to the book and new endpages. These I made from some really rustic handmade paper I found in our local artisan market down by the harbour. I really wanted to leave their deckle edges complete but they were just slightly too large for the book. A little bit of exercising the grey matter later I came up with what I think is an ingenius solution! I used the excess width to create a tab that I could sew envelope pockets on to both front and back. I made the envelopes so they still function well even after sewing. They will be great for artists to slip their cards, notes or info into so it is all kept together as the book travels the globe. Once the book was firmly reattached to its covers I added a little pocket that holds a card of mine that documents the rebinding. I usually make these envelopes out of discarded pages from the book itself, but this time I was lucky enough to have the crumbling remains of the original dust jacket. I used the spine section with the title showing. To me it's a lovely way to keep in mind the origin of the sketchbook, which over time will look less and less like a novel and more and more like an artists sketchbook! I really can't wait to see what happens to our book now!

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