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January 28, 2013


Gorgeous! Will we see them on Etsy?

Beautiful book, beautiful photography, Beth! I've never learned that art though I'd love to - yet your mention of patience reminds me that I can be short on that with very exact work, even though I am a perfectionist too. Having great skill probably improves the patience. Will you be making more?

Beth, you have a wonderful roundness to your creativity--singing, sewing, bookmaking, printmaking, painting, writing, editing, publishing, taking photographs, and so on. It's really admirable. I always feel that I am utterly obsessive and do one thing, and I look with considerable pleasure at people who do a lot of different things in the arts. It must feel so good! And yet I can't make myself do otherwise...

(Oh, I suppose that I do also sing. But that was because I was dragged into a choir. I didn't choose it, as you do. Meanwhile, I am married to the man of a thousand hobbies, and my daughter skips around from film to drawing to writing. Entertaining to watch...)

Oh, this is so lovely.

How gorgeous, Beth. I love these close-ups of this process. The mull -- and how it's glued together -- and the decorated paper. So beautiful: I can almost feel the paper beneath my fingers! I love that you make books in at least two different ways.

I thought I had left a comment here, but it seems to have vanished. Whoops! I shall endeavor to leave it again.

This is a beautiful post about a beautiful book. I love the richness of the images, the linen, the paper -- I can almost feel it. And I love that you make books in at least two different ways: through designing and editing them at Phoenicia, and through shaping them in this way with your own hands.

Thanks for the comments! I'm happy to be able to share these. Martine, I'm not sure - I don't think I can sell these books for anything close to what would feel like a reasonable price for all the handwork that goes into them. The going prices for handmade notebooks on Etsy are really low. Maybe it's better to give them as gifts! I'd consider taking some custom orders, maybe.

Marja-Leena, I make these from time to time, sometimes as specific gifts or for myself to take on a trip, sometimes to keep on hand or just because I get inspired --so yes, I think definitely so!

Marly, thanks for that comment. Of course, I've always admired the single-minded artists like you, and how much you accomplish by focussing on one area...the grass is always greener, and all that!

Thank you, Mary!

Rachel, I'm so glad you like the book. And it's funny - isn't it - the high-tech on-demand process we use at Phoenicia, vs. these one-of-a-kind, handmade books. I think they share a certain sensibility though, and I hope my background in typography and calligraphy and page design, and my love for fine little books, comes through in the printed ones too.

I've been thinking about making a small edition of my haiku illustrated with original relief prints. For that I'd have to go to a workshop that has letterpress equipment; there's one here...I don't know, it would be a big project for very little return except the satisfaction of doing it - but that would be a lot in itself. We'll see. The same thing could be produced in an on-demand book as well, but it wouldn't have the tactile loveliness -- that's a lot of what you lose in mass-production.

Beautiful. Such meticulous yet freely creative work.

Thanks very much, Clive. I did a freer paper design that I liked better, but the scale was just a little bit too big for this book. So I guess I need to make another - maybe a sketchbook with some special drawing paper this time!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.