Rachel Hazell (4/4)

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’. In this last episode she looks back on her workshop Love Letters in Paris. 

Creating Love Letters in Paris has been life affirming. Here is what Julie (from Colorado) had to say about our experience: “I have just loved this week of folding, tearing, washi taping, rummaging & poking around for old French paper, devouring pastries, boeuf bourguignon, escargots and bowls of mousse au chocolat with all of you…. I am returning home with a new direction in my creative life which is very exciting!” This is just exactly what I wish for in a small, intimate workshop.

We started gently, with folds and simple bindings, warming up our fingers and minds with plans and ideas, talking as we stitched.

Making envelopes from scratch; choosing the paper, drawing round the template, scoring and cutting, is incredibly meditative. I even like the offcuts – aren’t they elegant?

One whole day was a field trip for paper love. It was a delight to stock up on nibs and ink at Melodies Graphiques, and take some inspiration from these exquisite examples on the wall.

Back to the drawing board for alphabet practice, seeing the letters as patterns and positively revelling in the blots.

Sometimes it can take a few deep breaths to begin cutting up ancient manuscripts, even though they are going to be repurposed, and given a new lease of life.

Oh my, it was almost impossible to pick just a few of these delicious colours of Japanese printed papers from the vast selection at Adeline Klam.

….Far easier to select a rainbow from a box of stamps: Perfect for adding the authentic touch to your hand written envelope.

All three Love Letterers quickly hunkered down by this pile of old papers at the flea market. Their assiduous foraging was rewarded – plenty of materials salvaged for future bookart projects.

Our final evening (which came too soon) was spent sipping wine, discussing reunions, watching the sun set over Paris, and buying brilliant books from the splendid book shop at the Pompidu Centre.

No slacking on the last day though! Oh no. I taught some different origami envelope structures (and a ten point interlocking star) as the group worked ferociously to finish their creations.

What a joy to see these Love Letters come together; each one so personal and full of stories….

Thank you Paris, for your unique blend of charm and treasure, boutiques and flea markets, bars and boulangeries! Thank YOU Flow readers for joining in and making your own Love Letters!
More pictures from this and other workshops can be seen over on my blog.

The immense personal enjoyment I get from teaching internationally (in person and online) means that plans for 2016 courses are well advanced. See you in Amsterdam or Venice perhaps? Or binding driftwood on the Isle of Iona? Or maybe writing your own Love Letters in Paris next November?

Keep creating and sending paper love in the post! Au revoir, Rachel