Beautiful Bookbinding

With the sun coming out more and more these days, we’ve been enjoying the nice weather with books in the park. Making books is a great way to combine reading with craft, and who better to provide some inspiration than Rachel Hazell. Leading creative workshops worldwide, travel plays a huge role in her practice, and we caught up with her in Selvedge issue 76 to her world...

Why books?

I believe that everyone has some kind of book inside them and my courses are about getting those books out, even if it’s just a one-liner or focussing purely on texture or colour. Leading book art courses I can share the connective, self-expressive power of books in all sorts of incredible places.

How do you choose your locations?

I seek out spaces with stunning views and thought-provoking surroundings. Island workshops have become a speciality. The most transformative ones take place far from our usual existence; on an island, in a field, on a boat… the mix of being away from routine combined with having stimulating things to do is a powerful way to harness creativity.

What’s the relationship between the two?

I’m inspired by landscape. Strata lines look like the deckle edges of handmade paper, cracks in a crevasse field could be lines on a white page, a row of window panes might remind me of opened-out concertina pages...

Tell us about your process.

I relish the sequence of actions to follow in bookmaking, from folding to marking, measuring to stitching, glueing to pressing. It’s meditative. I usually come up with ideas while repeating each step; cutting paper down to size, pricking holes and threading a needle with waxed linen yarn. Once the books are all bound and in the press, I feel calmer and clearer...

You can read this interview in full in Selvedge issue 76

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