Christmas Blessings.

This year I am trying very hard to be positive and to focus on my many blessings but this Christmas will be a challenging time for us as we remember our loved ones who have passed. This time two years ago my brother was critically ill over Christmas and later died in the New Year. Last December it was my father who was reaching the end of his life, we lost him in January. I know from reading your blogs that I am not alone, you too have your problems and losses to deal with. I try each year to reinvent Christmas, make a new tradition, try some new kind of food, and decorate the house slightly differently. Life moves forward, change is inevitable, we have much to be thankful for and this year our home is gearing itself up to welcoming family and friends from near and far. We will raise a glass to the memory of those we have lost and give thanks for the new lives that have brought us great joy.

I would like to thank everyone who has visited my blog throughout the year; all of your comments are greatly appreciated. I wish you all a peaceful and joyous Christmas.


Shine up your buttons with Brasso!

Since my last post I have hardly had time to draw breathe, it has been such a busy time. As any of you who are self employed know, it is usually a case of feast or famine. Luckily, the former has been the case and I have had the luxury of working on Christmas projects in December, so much more inspiring than July. I have promised to keep this work under wraps for now so you will just have to take my word for it!

I am otherwise very late and disorganized regarding Christmas; not a single Christmas card sent and no decorations hung. I have, however, been doing lots of clearing, sorting, cleaning and polishing. Oh, the joys of Brasso! There are few things more Christmassy than a brass candlestick shone to perfection.

We have had some lovely joyful events including a 30th birthday celebration of our eldest son, now that does make me feel old! When our boys were little I had a bit of a craze for cross stitch and managed to complete two samplers celebrating their births. Well, guess what, I eventually got around to framing them, better late than never, and now have them hanging in my newly tidied and sorted “office corner”. When I took my prints and things into the framers I noticed a shop selling hand made custom furniture at very reasonable prices so I had a desk made to fit my small alcove. I am so pleased with myself for getting around to a mammoth tidying and sorting, a place for everything and everything in its place. Well that is the theory anyhow!

Still on the cross stitch theme, I was contacted by a Turkish company who have made some of my designs into cross stitch patterns. They have promised to send me copies and I am very intrigued to see their interpretations. It seems that everyone is asking for cross stitch again and the more I think about it the more inspired I feel to do some more. It lends itself perfectly to cosy firesides on winter’s evenings.

We also had an invitation to John Rylands library in Manchester, to see their annual exhibition of Designer Bookbindings, always a treat. Manchester looked particularly festive with Christmas street markets in and around Albert Square. All in all, it’s getting to look a lot like Christmas, I really must get a move on.


Curwen Patterned papers

Ever since I was a child I have had a fascination for pattern, pattern as being defined by the repetition of similar forms. I suppose that is what I try to achieve when I paint, I look for pattern and decoration in feathers, leaves, bark. Maybe that is why I have admired designer’s rather more than fine artists, being naturally drawn to those artists and craftsmen who can both draw beautifully and design. One such artist is Eric Ravilious, so when I saw this Curwen patterned paper (see top left) I seized upon it with glee. The gorgeous collection of Curwen papers was for sale at the Oxford Fine Press Fair (mentioned in my last post), on the John Purcell stand.

There is some dispute over who actually designed this paper. The folks at John Purcell papers said that the man to ask was on the Incline Press stand so I decided to enquire further. Having a head like a sieve I got him to write down what he knew of the pattern, the story he told me was fascinating. It seems that an artist and textile designer called Enid Marx, who had worked with the Incline Press, identified the pattern as a 1928 Curwen pattern by Eric Ravilious. Apparently Enid had desperately wanted to learn wood engraving as a student but her tutor thought her drawing skills too poor. The young Ravilious took it upon himself to pass on the skills he learnt in his lessons and Enid would go around after class and Eric would go through the day’s lesson with her. There is another school of thought that believes the pattern to belong to the era of the Festival of Britain but I am going with Enid on this. What do you think?

The black, white and red paper is by Edward Bawden, I am not sure whom the lovely deep red pattern is by, maybe someone can help here? Anyway, needless to say I came away with samples of all three papers and have enjoyed covering diaries for Christmas presents. The tiny diaries are covered in a Japanese paper, again I knew the name once but my brain has long since shredded that bit of information, I should really write these things down!

footnote; since I posted this The Incline Press have been in touch to say that the lovely deep red Curwen paper is by Sarah Nechamkin, a wonderfully prolific paper pattern designer in the late 1940s. Thank you Graham for that information.

Oh yes, before I forget, I finally finished the owl painting. The two tawny owls are standing either side of a very old oak tree, which put me in mind of the rhyme about an owl standing sentinel, I think from Mother Goose? The tree appears to be keeping watch also, maybe they are looking out for each other.


Like a kid in a sweet shop!

"Like a kid in a sweet shop" is how my husband described my behavior yesterday at the Fine Press Book Fair in Oxford yesterday! You can visit their website by following this link.
Oxford Fine Press Book Fair

Amongst the many exhibitors was Andy English (in the photograph above) whose work I admire greatly. It was a pleasure to see him in action carving a new block. I also got the chance to see his new collection of engravings for "The Woman in Black" by Susan Hill. Amongst his collection of exhibits were individual prints, bookplates and miniature books including a new, limited edition of "A Prospect of Ely" which you can see in the foreground of the photograph. (If you click on the photograph you will see more details.)

Andy is a full-time professional engraver, he has a blog called The Wood Engraver where you can learn more about his work with links to his website and shop.

The book fair was a great place to buy papers, so many beautiful hand marbled and paste papers and a lovely selection from The Curwen Press in particular caught my eye. There were stalls selling leather and bookbinding supplies too as well as stands selling beautifully produced hand bound books. The overall effect was so exciting and inspiring that today I feel rather exhausted.

I should be putting the finishing touches to my latest painting, shown below, almost finished now but I need to think a little more about the last bits. I had toyed with the idea of using gold leaf but now am not so sure.....?


Tea with Celeste.

Celeste Goulding is an artist who works in a very decorative and detailed style, I was naturally drawn to her beautiful paintings and I know you are going to love them too so I decided to invite her round to a virtual tea party and of course that invitation is open to you too, so make yourself comfy and let the tea party commence.

How do you take your tea and in what kind of cup do you like it served?

I like my tea fairly strong with milk and 2 sugars. I grew up in a household where tea was served every day at 4pm sharp in a teapot with teacups and lace doilies, so I suppose that I developed a liking for delicate china quite early. These days, I generally use tea bags in a fine bone china mug. All my mugs are different. I buy them one at a time - whatever takes my fancy. One of my current favourites features ladies in Georgian dresses, which I bought in Bath at the Jane Austen museum shop. I'm fascinated by the Georgian period!

If you could choose anyone, past, present or future, who would be joining us for tea?

Beatrix Potter! I once visited the cottage where she lived in the Lakes District. It was wonderful! It was just like her illustrations - the garden, the staircase, the teacups, the windows, everything! She was a very inspiring woman. I can relate to way she went about creating her Art and the way she felt about her drawings. I would love to sit down with her and chat about one of her sketchbooks or maybe we could go out into her garden and sketch together. That would be lovely.

Tell me about you background in Art and Design.

I am the only person in my family who has pursued an artistic profession. I studied Art in high school during the 1970s and wanted to be an Artist, perhaps in Ceramics or Textiles, which were all the rage at that time but somehow I got into Banking and Finance and then I worked at my father's medical practice, so it was not until the age of 32 that I went to University to do a degree. The degree I chose was in Creative Arts which had students in various strands - Visual Arts and Design, Music Performance, Music Composition, Writing, Journalism and that was good for me because I had studied Classical Piano for 14 years and I enjoyed being surrounded by many different types of creativity. In the degree, I was able to do some Ceramics, Textiles and Painting as well as computer graphics and design, so that suited me. When I finished my degree, I did a few freelance illustration projects including two 6-week archaeological digs in Cyprus. A year after that, I did a 2 year Masters degree specialising in children’s book illustration. My major work consisted of an exhibition of illustrations from the fairy tale The Wild Swans. And so began several years of intense illustration freelancing - mainly doing children’s book illustration but also some advertising, book covers, wedding invitations, greeting cards, various projects for local Councils, some private commissions and even a few Art exhibitions in galleries. I also spent a year teaching Drawing at College - I had 120 students. Busy!
My life is quite different now. I am not working commercially at present. I paint for pleasure and I am enjoying it immensely! I think that my Artwork is better than ever.

Where are you based and does it influence your work?

I work at home in a small city south of Sydney in Australia. I don't think it's really the best place for a working Illustrator - on a global level it's quite isolating here. However, for the last four years, my work has been exploring my Anglo Indian roots, so my main influences have been from India. You might think that being far away from India would be restricting but I think that in many ways, it has aided my imaginative focus and research. I do quite a lot of research for each painting, as is evident in the works themselves which are jam packed with teeny tiny details and a strong narrative. I love the research aspect of my work.

What have you been doing/working on today?

The current series of paintings that I have been working on began 4 years ago. When it will end, I do not know but I hope to exhibit them! Today, I am in the very early stages of the 22nd painting in this series. It is about Indian spices and today I am doing research, so I am reading about and sketching and sniffing and dreaming of spice!

I hope that you've brought along something wonderful to show us, what is it?

I'd like to show you my latest painting, which is called They Waited In The Blue Room.
It features a woman wearing a floral dress and sitting on a windowsill with her cat. The woman is daydreaming and from her hand dangles a necklace with an anchor pendant. Outside the window we see the deep blue sea and a sailing ship anchored in the bay. The window appears to be Indian in shape and the walls are covered with illustrated blue tiles. Each element has meaning. Many of the objects in the painting can be found around my home and of course, the painting stars my beautiful cat Daisy who very sweetly modeled for me.

Thanks for the interview Celeste, I am sure your work will be well received and I hope that you exhibit your lovely artwork here in Britain one day so we can see it and you in person.

Thank you, it was a pleasure.

You can see more of Celeste's work here on her blog Blueseabluesky

To read other artist interviews follow the links in the sidebar under the teapot!


Bookplate tutorial

This is my first tutorial so you are my guinea pigs, wish me luck!

I have designed two bookplates, one is a frog design and the other is a fairy; I call her "Bouquet Fairy" as she is holding a bouquet of wild flowers. The frog design was first offered to a website called My Home Library You can still finds lots of designs there. the version that I am offering you here today has slightly different wording.

To get your Free Frog Bookplate click here-

Your PDF should be ready to print; I like to use black ink on a good quality paper such as Conqueror, which comes in a range of colours although traditionally bookplates tended to be printed on white paper. Try experimenting on different papers to see which one you like the best, I prefer a cream paper but it is up to you.

Set your printer to print top quality, follow your printer’s instructions to ensure a good result.

The bookplates will need to be trimmed to size, allow a little space between the border and the cutting edge, I like to give about 5mm clearance all round but you can trim right up to the border edge, it is up to you. I use a craft knife and a metal ruler on a cutting mat but you can use scissors if you are careful.

When you have your plates cut to size you will need to glue them into your book. This procedure needs to be done with some care and preparation to give the best results. It is advisable to practice on an inexpensive book first. I do not always glue bookplates into all my books especially if the book is very valuable; instead I place it inside the front cover.

You will need a small brush for gluing, adhesive (I like to use PVA mixed with a little water to a creamy consistency). You will also need some waste paper and a small clean cloth.

Firstly, take your book and decide where you want to stick the plate. I find it useful to lightly mark the corner position with a pencil. You can use a ruler and a setsquare to help get an even space each side. You can erase the pencil mark later.

When you are ready, take the bookplate and place it face down onto a clean piece of scrap paper. Take your brush and carefully glue the back of the plate making sure that you apply a thin but even coat. Start in the middle and work your way out to the edges, you will need to hold the plate down with one finger but try not to get too much glue onto your fingers! Discard the waste paper, take your bookplate holding it carefully at the corners and gently position it into the book.

You can use your clean cloth to gently press your plate into position and wipe away any surplus that may have crept out from beneath. You will then need to leave it to dry before closing the book. This is important; you do not want to stick your pages together!

Remember, practice makes perfect so try an inexpensive paperback first.

The fairy bookplate pdf is available here in my shop

Good luck, I hope you enjoy your bookplates.


'tis the season for bookbinding...

We are now experiencing cool autumnal weather after an amazingly hot spell, which took everyone by surprise and made it hard to be indoors. I had to spend time working on Christmas artwork, painting snowmen and Christmas trees when the sun shone and the garden beckoned.

Our grandson George celebrated his second birthday and I had my … errr hmmm birthday too. The nicest part about birthdays is of course the presents and I am thrilled with my new press, which my husband bought for me. A bookbinding friend called Robert Hamer built it, he numbers all his presses and I am honoured to own number 8. He laminates the plywood to make an extremely strong structure, which is much lighter than metal so even a wimp like me can lift it.

Having the new press has inspired me to do more bookbinding. I rescued a lovely but very tatty edition of “Highland Pack” illustrated in black and white by Keith Henderson. I choose a grey/green cloth and a piece of paste paper, which I had previously decorated in a workshop, believing that it would come in handy one day! This was my first attempt at a half cloth binding. If you would like to try yourself I can recommend a very thorough but easy to follow book by Kathy Abbott “Bookbinding A step-by-step guide”. I also made some more little notebooks for personal use and experimented with printing an image taken in Venice with a “photocopy” effect filter. I printed it out onto thin grey card on my ink jet printer and used it as a cover for a simple single section notebook.

Of course I am eager to devote some more time to printmaking, my lino and wood engraving tools are looking forlorn and neglected, oh for a thirty-six hour day.
Before I go I just wanted to point you in the direction of Mangle Prints who has been printing some delightful Christmas cards, each one hand pulled and nice enough to frame.


Penelope's Labour in Venice.

This post is very late, we returned from a very wonderful trip to Venice last week but I have been hobbling about on a very sore foot since our return. Nothing broken but I am feeling very sorry for myself after walking into a piece of furniture on the last day of the holiday. If it had been the first day it would have ruined things entirely so I suppose I should be thankful for that.

What can I tell you about Venice that you don’t already know? We avoided the crowds and queues in St Mark’s Square, instead we explored the quieter parts, the secret alleyways, churches, gardens and squares.

click to enlarge.

Every turn a photo opportunity, so many tiny shops, bookbinders and stationers selling exquisite marbled papers and mask shops galore, Venetian glass glimpsed through palace windows and everywhere light and sunshine and water. We crossed The Grand Canal in a traghetto, a poor man’s gondola ride, for half a euro you can take this “ferry” across Venice’s equivalent of the M1. How we avoided the very many vessels traveling up and down is a mystery, I can only assume that we had right of way, it was a bit scary but fun too.

We saw amazing art in the churches, palaces and libraries. Venice was host to the Biennale but by far the most impressive art we saw was here, the day we crossed over to the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Penelope’s Labour is the name of a tapestry exhibition featuring works old and new. Each exhibit was delightful in its own way, I expected to be impressed with the antique tapestries but was completely bowled over by the contemporary pieces.

Craigie Horsfield - At 99 Posse concert. Via Gianturco, Naples. September 2008
2010, 375 x 855 cm, wool and cotton
Woven by Flanders Tapestries

The work by Craigie Horsfield was worthy of Carravagio, a scene from a pop concert has been woven into a stunning piece of contemporary art. If you look at the faces in the crowd you will see a Christ like figure, surrounded by faces who could have been disciples, some faces showing adoration, others menace. Some of the tapestries were displayed on the floor and provided you removed your shoes you could walk over them. I was puzzled at first, the works by Carlos Garaicoa appeared at first sight to be actual mosaics until closer inspection revealed the true nature of these extraordinary tapestries, with words and shadows woven into the structure. Do have a look at the links if you have time.

We returned home in time to celebrate the second birthday of our gorgeous grandson George.


A is for Apple.

It’s that time of year again, when apples hang ripe on the bough and children return to school. My garden is not big enough to accommodate a full size apple tree but I have an ornamental crab apple, which is laden with fruit at the moment, later this will provide the birds with some food when the weather turns colder.

My memories of starting school and apples are inextricably linked, maybe because my old-fashioned Victorian style classroom had a wall frieze showing all the letters of the alphabet accompanied with a simple illustration. Every day we would recite, “A is for Apple, B is for Ball, C is for Cat….” whilst the teacher pointed to the appropriate place on the wall. I was fortunate enough to be able to go home for my “dinner” at midday. My father would be home also, he worked in a nearby paper mill, mum would have spent the morning cooking and baking to prepare a two-course meal and home made apple pie was often on the menu.

My apple illustration is taken from “An Illustrated Address Book” published by Blackie and Son Ltd. The other illustrations are by Walter Crane and can be found here, a marvelous treasure trove on the web.

We no longer have anyone in our household who will be returning to school this term, instead we are planning something very exciting, so until then I hope you all enjoy what is left of the summer and help yourself to another slice of apple pie.


Children of the summer sun.

The design above shows an English formal garden with a honeybee skip. Just as important for our gardens and possibly for our survival as a species are the wild bees, or as the poet John Clare (1793 - 1864), called them, "Children of the summer sun"

'These children of the sun which summer brings
As pastoral minstrels in her merry train
Pipe rustic ballads upon busy wings
And glad the cotters' quiet toils again.......

I finally got around to doing some gardening this month; everything is in dire need of attention. The good news is the wildlife seems to be enjoying my tardiness. I came across a mound of mossy and grass, about the size of a football, at first I thought it was a bird’s nest on the ground and foolishly I picked it up. Immediately a swarm of bumbles flew out, naturally I tried to make good the damage I had done and in the few seconds available I managed to see the inside of the nest which seem to consist of many cells.

Despite many attempts to photograph the bees, I have only managed a few blurry attempts but if you look closely you can see what I believe to be a Carder Bee. Click on the photo above, you can see the blue/green fly, look to the left, behind the grass, can you see the little guy? It seems that they comb the moss and grass in order to make the nest, hence the name Carder Bee!

We also have another species of bee making use of the bee house. It looks like a Leaf Cutter Bee and if you look at the photo below you can see the tiny pieces of leaf placed in the bamboo canes.

Every year I try to hack back the Buddleia, it grows too big for my garden but I leave it alone whilst in flower as the butterflies love it. The Japanese Acer in the pot is a new acquisition bought at nearby Tatton Park Garden. I hope it will survive the winter outside, I have lined the pot with bubble wrap but am not sure what else to do other than placing it in a sheltered spot. The crab apples provide food for the birds over autumn and look more like cherries than apples when they ripen.

Last but not least, I have made a start on a new painting. It’s hard to fit in personal work whilst trying to keep on top of day to day “potboilers”, they sort of work that pays the bills like greeting cards etc. Goodness knows when I shall finish it but I feel so much better now I have made a start! I hope you all enjoy your summer too and thanks as always for visiting.

To find out more about bumblebees please visit The Bumblebee Conservation Trust.


Antiques for Everyone Fair

I’ve been very preoccupied recently with helping my mum purchase a retirement flat and feel that I have been wading through mud as far as creating anything new artistically. I seem to spend more and more time sitting at my computer, trying to get to grips with some new programme or other, at the moment I am doing battle with Indesign. It is always so much more difficult to learn from a book but feel reluctant to enroll on anymore evening classes so I suppose I will just have to carry on regardless. I have been thinking for some time now about getting some of my children’s books back into print through one of the POD companies, one of the reasons why I need Indesign.

Light relief has been found in bookbinding, making origami structures from folded Elephanthide. In case you are wondering, I have not skinned an endangered species; Elephanthide is a very tough paper, which lends itself to paper folding! You can see the finished result here-

I also had some illustrations exhibited at The National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham where I met up with Mike and Hilary Emeny from Books Illustrated Ltd. (see above) at the Antiques for Everyone Fair.The day I went they were very excited to have sold an original Arthur Rackham. Other works on their stand included Ernest Shepard, Edmund Dulac and Annie French.



“Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did. ” William Butler

No doubt, like me, you will have been feasting on fresh, ripe strawberries, maybe even eating them at Wimbledon? Nowadays strawberries are available all year round, or so it seems, but there is something rather special about eating a homegrown strawberry in July. Is it my imagination or do they simply taste better when they have had the chance to mature naturally?

Strawberries have inspired artists and designers over the centuries, there is something rather irresistible and satisfying about that plump, red, heart shaped berry with the tiny, decorative seeds dotted around its middle.

This “Strawberry Thief” design by William Morris will always be linked in my mind with this time of year. Maybe because it was one of the first textile designs that I studied as a schoolgirl and needed to apply that knowledge to summer exams!

Morris was said to have been inspired by the sight of thrushes stealing fruit from his garden at Kelmscott Manor. It presented him with many problems during printing, which he finally overcame, although it took many attempts and several years to produce the desired effect, which used a red alizarin dye, and a yellow weld combined with indigo blue.
I think I love it the most of all of his designs and my heart still skips a beat every time I see it.


"Watercolour" Tate Britain.

Today I would like to share with you some amazingly beautiful images courtesy of an extraordinarily gifted artist called Rachel Pedder-Smith.

I first came across her work in London recently during a visit to Tate Britain’s “Watercolour” exhibition. The exhibition features so many and varied artists whose work spans 800 years. There are medieval manuscripts, maps and botanical illustrations alongside works by Turner, Ravilious and Samuel Palmer to name but a few

I was immediately drawn to one painting in particular and that is how I discovered Rachel’s work. Her bean painting has everything I most admire in a work of art; it is inspired by nature, shows incredible artistry and attention to detail and has an overall marvelous sense of design. I am sure you will be smitten too! In the bean painting you are presented with something familiar, maybe even humble and everyday and yet you see it through the eyes of the artist who transforms each legume into a visual miracle. In the world of modern art we often hear the overworked saying about “challenging our preconceptions” as if that in itself were enough. I would say that this piece by Rachel does just that, it presents us with a selection of natural objects and through her skill and observation of the artist takes us to a new level. She makes us not only look but actually see.

As William Blake would say
“To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”

You can see more of Rachel's paintings here on her website which also has a shop selling cards and prints.

You can learn more about the exhibition here, and now I will leave you with this beautiful image, Samuel Palmer's 'A Hilly Scene' (c.1826 - 1828). Tate. The exhibition runs until the 24th August, see it if you can, you will be enthralled.


The Cult of Beauty

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is hosting an exhibition called “The Cult of Beauty”. It features the work of many artists and designers of the Aesthetic Movement, amongst them Walter Crane who has been a personal favourite of mine since my student days. Peacock feathers, lilies and sunflowers abound, not to mention the very many retail opportunities so when I saw this clothbound facsimile copy of “A Flower Wedding” I had to have it, you understand don’t you?

There were also lilies, sunflowers and peacock feathers to be seen in The Garden Museum, (next door to Lambeth Palace) in floral arrangements and growing in the church garden. The beautiful natural arrangement shown here was actually in the ladies loo. Art for Art’s sake, I am sure the Aesthetes would have approved.


And the winner is .....

We have a winner, the first name to be drawn out of the virtual hat, or random number generator if you prefer is ……. Rosie !

Thanks to all who entered in the giveaway and left such kind comments, I read each one with a happy heart and gratitude.

And now, back to work, I have a lovely newly stretched piece of paper on my drawing board but my mind is elsewhere. I left my inspiration somewhere in William Wordsworth country and forgot to pack it in my suitcase. I read this inspirational quote recently, which has been attributed to the poet “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart”, despite searching I cannot trace it to any of his writings, do you know?

The lovely kitchen photograph was taken at Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, I did think of attributing it to my own larder but you would not fall for that now would you?


Two hundredth blog post and a giveaway!

The time is flying by at an alarming rate, my garden is knee high in nettles and brambles, my laundry basket is groaning and my desk is piled high with work. One reason for this backlog is our trip to The Lake District where we attended a book repair workshop followed by a short holiday based in Ulverston.

I have of course taken a zillion photographs, which will have to wait for another day. Today I wanted to do something a little bit special, as it is my two hundredth blog post. I started this blog originally as a place to share inspiration and for me this normally comes in book form so today I am offering as a giveaway a hard back, cloth bound, (second hand, I pounced on it in a charity shop!) of one of the most exquisite books ever- “In and Out of the Garden” by Sara Midda. When I had my first child, some thirty years ago, my husband bought me a copy of this remarkable work of art, which sits here on my bookshelf and is a constant source of delight.

For those of you who do not know the book let me try to describe it; every page is hand painted or drawn including the text. It is a collection of garden lore, images and quotations, which have been exquisitely rendered in minute detail, the book was three years in the making and in my opinion is outstandingly beautiful. I am sure many of you will already own a copy but for those of you who don’t you can enter my giveaway by leaving a comment below and please indicate your wish to participate. Maybe you have a special, treasured title, which we should know about, please share your recommendations too. I will pick a winner at random on the first of June. Oh yes, and I should say that the edition that I am giving away is a second edition printed in 1982, Sidgwick and Jackson, London and is missing its dust jacket but everything else is good.

And now, back to the workshop. We learnt, over the space of three days, how to reback a Victorian cloth bound book. You know the sort, one that has torn endpapers, a tatty ripped spine and bumped corners; my shelves are full of them! We separated the text block from the bookcase; I needed to do some secondary sewing to secure the sections. We dyed new cloth and paper to match the original cover and endpapers. We then went on to reback and repair the book, taking time to make a new spine, repair the endpapers and consolidate the corners. You can see some of the stages below, click to enlarge.

the finished book! Just so we are all clear, the giveaway book is "In and Out of the Garden".