Apparently it’s already July…can someone tell me how that’s happened? At the beginning of last month, I returned back to familiar West Midlands surroundings, facilitating an ‘Introduction to Bookbinding’ workshop at Bilston Craft Gallery. I used to work with the Wolverhampton Arts and Museums service for many years until China distracted me, and I still have a soft spot for all the work they do in the region so it’s a little special to have the opportunity to go back and work with them.
The workshop was with seven adults (one no-show which I’ve never had before), none of which had any previous bookbinding experience (although one chap Mike did turn up with rather wonderful handmade paper that him and his wife had make in Birmingham called Wild Paper), on a gloriously sunny day, which is literally once on a blue moon for the UK right now (we know the unpredictability of the British Summer right?). A couple of people had come to my workshop after hearing about it through a friend who had attended a previous one at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. I love hearing this kind of feedback as it’s what makes stories (thank you to Jo for the recommendation!). Those two ladies had also heard about my renowned and addictive ginger biscuits, which for some reason I hadn’t made for that workshop…and I felt terrible. It’s a Rachel standard usually (my apologies!). So they brought along the rather tasty South Asian sweets (I love love love these, specifically motichoor ladoo), traditionally called mithai, from Kamal Sweet Centre in Bilston. These sugary treats fuelled me through the day (and kept me awake a little at night).
So here are a few photos of process, practice and the final books….all perfectly crafted, all individual in style and no doubt content when their pages get filled. I’m hoping, as usual, that some of the participants stay in touch and continue to develop this new skill as other people have done from other workshops. These sessions are a nice escape from PhD land, and remind me of my art practice roots that I promise to get back to once my 80,000 words are done. It’s happening!