I’ve been very quiet of late. And I’ve been spending more time in front of a computer screen, and less playing with the inks and beautiful new brushes Rosemary & Co that I bought at Art in Action at the start of the summer. I’ve been busy with the book….
I launched a Kickstarter campaign back in July to part fund the production. I am incredibly grateful to all of you that pledged. It’s meant a great deal. Not only that you’ve put your faith in me, but also, practically, that I’ve been able to make the book I want to.
I love books. And that’s probably a silly thing to say because I think most people do. When I was little both my Dad and my Grandad instilled in me a respect for the physical form. I don’t think either men were precious about ‘things’, but they were precious about books. My Dad read to me every night, after which I was allowed a picture book. My favourites were the Duc de Berry – Book of Hours and a large Art History book. I can’t remember the name of it, but my favourite in that was ‘The Death of Marat’ by David. I was a peculiar child I think and it horrified and fascinated me all at once!
Many of Grandad’s books were antique. One year for my birthday he sent me this:
I loved the way that it had ‘plates’ rather than pictures. All his books had a special Grandad smell and were full of newspaper cuttings, relevant in some way, that would fall out when you opened them. I still discover them now, when i take one of his books down from the shelf and they always make me smile! Soon after the Edmund Dulac Picture book I saved up for several weeks to buy this little Victorian children’s book.
Books in recent years have become rather un-lovely things. Often cheaply produced and disposable. Perhaps this accounts, in part, for the success of the e-book. Proper bookshops, like the one in Salts Mill, the Ilkley Bookshop, and The Bookcase in my own Hebden Bridge sell books that are tactile; books that you covet.
The Lost Houses book was an inevitable next step after the Lost Houses exhibition. Despite my best efforts to stick to a few simple facts and just paint the houses I had found out so much more in my research! I’d been taken on tangents all over the place and found amazing photographs. The scrap books at Bankfield Museum were so well pawed over that they fell apart, so I knew that visitors wanted to know more. I decided that if I was going to make a book, it had to be a beautiful book.
I still have no photos of the proper book to show! So here are some pictures of my mock up (currently with the book binder for reference). A feature in two favourite books of my own are trace pages which both hide reveal an image behind. I based the designs for each on old Victorian book cover designs. The scripts are loosely based on ones contemporary to the houses they introduce:
I’m always a bit disappointed when art books print a painting across a double page spread. I dislike it when it disappears into the valley in the middle. So another indulgence has been to have the landscape paintings as ‘fold outs’.
I’m doing a few ‘hand-finished’ editions where these fold out pages are going to be stitched and gilded. The glue here is Illuminators glue, for use in books. I’m going to experiment with it tomorrow.
Special editions are going to have a small hand-finished Giclee print inside. Like Grandad’s hidden newspaper cuttings! I’ve not decided which print of prints to include yet. I keep getting asked for different ones.
At the last minute I decided to draw my own South Pennines Map for the end papers. I tried to find an existing one that I could reproduce, but nothing looked right. It was a bit of an undertaking (it took 2 days!), but it was a lovely thing to do. And I did enjoy drawing all the houses in fine nib pens.I hope the proofs for the painting pages arrive next week so that it can all go to press.
I had a lovely meeting with Alison at Heart Gallery on Friday. She pawed through the pages over tea.
We are launching the book in the gallery on Thursday October 20th, at 6pm. More details to follow about the launch very soon.
Heart is going to be selling all three editions of the book (standard, Special Edition and Hand -finished edition). They will also be available on this website shortly.