Alternative Press Fair 2010
Saturday 13th February
12pm — midnight

The Alternative Press is celebrating its first birthday with a small press fair to be held at St Aloysius Social Club near Euston Station. The fair will bring together the worlds of comics, zines, book arts and printmaking with a wide range of exhibitors and participants.

The event starts at 12pm with the fair running until 7pm, after that the birthday bonanza continues until late with music and spoken word. More to be confirmed.

Please contact Jimi or Peter at The Alternative Press for more information



Apologies for the lack of posts lately, Yuletide has been keeping me busy and the combination of sub-zero temperatures and winter frugality have meant I’ve not much to be reporting on, except maybe the following highlights.

Picked up a bargain:

Needs a bit of wire brushing and grease, but at under £30 I wasn’t complaining.

Came across an unloved Albion awaiting a new home:

(I fear its selling price would be much more than my budget)

And went on a crisp winter walk…

Happy Christmas & New Year!

The Finished Article(s)

Photos courtesy of the wonderful Lee Allen Photography

Handmade & Bound

After spending this last week preparing for the Handmade & Bound fair on Sunday, arriving at the venue (after a rather rainy journey) it was great to see such a good turnout of book artists, illustrators and designers, zinesters and small presses, printmakers and everyone in between.

Kali and I shared a table this year (I was on the left, but by the time I took this photo my half of the table looked a little barren).

The lovely Karoline’s table over in the ‘Gocco corner’ of the room. I do love a bit of silver Gocco ink…

Congratulations to Kali for winning second place in the Shepherd’s Bookbinders ‘Best in Show’ prize, and to LCC student Moonkeum for winning first prize (and a particularly lovely rosette).

Take a look at the Flickr stream for more photos from the event.

Stitch and Bitch at the Hunterian Museum

Stitch at Bitch at a suitably Hallowe’en-esque venue,

Four Case Bindings

The past couple of weeks I have been working on a commission for a West Mids-based arts organisation. They needed four books to use as guest/comments books for visitors to public libraries, the spec was as follows:

Blank paper case binding (aka hardback), around an inch thick, and with a final size of approx A3 (297x420mm), quarter-bound with green cloth and GF Smith Colourplan Smoke grey paper.

And step-by-step:

I began by selecting the paper – a 100% recycled offset stock, in 120gsm SRA2 short grain.

Revive 100 Offset

This allowed for the final size after trimming to be exactly A3. The stock is quite sturdy and will withstand biros, felt-tip pens: whatever the library users can throw at it!

After folding and gathering into sections, I stitched the gathered sections onto tapes: the stitch used was French, where the thread crosses over to the last section to pull them together.

French stitch onto tapes

Personally, I think this is probably the sturdiest type of sewing for such a large book that will be in regular use.

Once the sections are all sewn, the spines are glued to keep them in place prior to trimming.

Glued and pressed before being cut to size on the guillotine.

Once the book blocks are trimmed, ribbon bookmarks and headbands are added, before the spine is lined with mull and two layers of kraft paper.

While the book blocks are drying, the cover boards are cut. In an ideal world, on the board cutter, but as I don’t have access to one at the moment I had to make do with a Stanley knife, which is much more time consuming.

Cloth cut to size for the covers, glued-out and affixed to the boards. The same is done with the grey paper over the rest of the front and back boards.

All four cases were laid flat under weights to dry overnight, ready for casing in.

And now the bit that fills me with dread – casing in. This is where you have to work quickly and accurately, otherwise you could end up with a gluey mess and need to start over…

I worked so quickly, in fact, that I didn’t take any photos when gluing out the endpapers, but here’s a lovely shot of the books between pressing boards, underneath two very heavy litho stones – the next best thing I have to a large book press (for now…)

Take a look at my Flickr for more photos from the project.

A Letterpress Daytrip

Last weekend, Justin Knopp of Typoretum very kindly invited fellow book artist Louise Best and myself to collect a piece of equipment from his home and workshop in the Essex countryside – which was an excellent excuse for us to visit his (awe-inspiring) letterpress workshop and have a natter about all things printy.

An hour or so later, and with a spring in our step (and a bag of leather offcuts under my arm) we travelled to Louise’s studio, also in Essex, for an impromptu blow-the-cobwebs-from-the-Adana session (mainly due to Louise’s lesson earlier in the week at Harrington & Squires.)

Adana mid-action

Needless to say, a lot of fun was had rummaging through boxes and trying out the old copper blocks that had a story all of their own.

Many thanks to both Justin & Louise for their hospitality, and not forgetting the infamous Mrs Otvos, of Class 3L.