Rachel Hazell (1/4)

Paper artist Rachel Hazell from Edinburgh will be writing our guestblog this month to tell us more about her work and adventures as ‘The Traveling Bookbinder’. The first episode is about Paris Love Letters: Preparations.

Rachel Hazell – Bressay Book Making Workshop
© Floortje Robertson 2015

The reason I’m also known as The Travelling Bookbinder is because of all the workshops taught in different places (Islands, lighthouses, boats and palazzo.) There are always piles of relevant books, papers and inspiration dotted around the house… The preparation and fall-out from all of the trips has become a narrative landscape, a kind of events timeline. (I’m not sure everyone else sees it like that…)

This month, how do you fancy coming along to Paris with me?

Ever since school trips involving long bus rides and forced linguistic forays into la boulangerie (long crisp crinkly baguette bags) or la bibliothèque, (rows of thoughtful white spines) I have admired the City of Light’s passion for paper and books.

I’m getting ready to teach a bookart workshop – ‘Love Letters’ – for a very small group; you will meet them in a couple of weeks. For now, the pile of equipment is growing. If I share the list, maybe you’ll join in?

A bookbinder never goes anywhere without her bonefolder for smoothing and shaping. Also a cutting mat, ruler, pencil, slitting knife, dividers and some alphabet rubber stamps. A little wooden handled spike for pricking holes will come in handy too.

The main book project is made up of envelopes. We are going to make our own, choosing specific papers, so I must remember to slip envelope templates into the case, as well as other examples.

There are so many ways to construct envelopes just by folding. I’m practicing a few origami styles, to incorporate into the main project. I adore how the letter turns into it’s own envelope!

Of course the best letters are hand-written, so we’ll experiment with some loose calligraphic marks, swirling inky script across the page. Here is a selection of pens to use. What kind of love letter would you write? And who will be the lucky recipient of beautiful post from you?

Finally, I’m collecting together a stack of special books to spark ideas. This one has evocative papercuts by Helen Drubert, alongside Paris stamps and wonderful Gris Nuage ink by J. Herbin. As you can imagine, my case gets rather heavy with all these tools and materials, so I may have to stock up with more paper and ink when I get to Paris! Any excuse….

Thank you Flow, for inviting me to share this Parisian Love Letters experience. I look forward to unfolding more details next week….