Just a hobby?

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I now realise – a slow process – that I need to learn more about making books and boxes from OTHER sources, from people who know. I have exhausted my own imagination and innovative skills. They have taken me this far – the Lady Books and the Chat Books. To be true, I learned the chain stich binding from a youtube video – but most of the case binding I found out by trial and error on my own. The failure with the clamshell box and the lesson learned from folding paper against the grain prompted me to start looking for instructions on the craft of book binding. Up until now I have openly declared that I am not doing book binding – I am making hand made miniature books. But to be honest, I strive towards some perfection in the making. I want the result to look good, not sloppy. I admit that I need to learn more about the craft of book binding – so that I can apply it to miniature books and boxes. Only a few weeks ago I started looking for better tools and abandoned my ideal that I should strictly use only what was at hand in my studio – tools, board and paper. Not buying new stuff. I bought an awl (for paper work) in a shop in town. And what an improvement in poking the holes for sewing. Next I started looking for instructions for box making on youtube. I found some really good ones, and I realised once again I need to have better tools and materials. E.g. I picked up the practice of covering heavy clay bricks (from my garden) with wrapping paper and using as weights for pressure. By reading an article in the Guardian about miniature books I came across this book that I ordered from Amazon: Making Books by Hand – Exploring Miniature Books, Alternative Structures and Found Objectsby Peter and Donna Thomas, 2004, Apple Press, Hove. The instructions are excellent – clear and pedagogical. Yesterday I tried sewing the signatures in a new way, and making a book case with a spine board according to the book’s instructions. The result was a clear improvement (still not perfect) to the finish of the little book (a prototype for the Cosmic Project). So am I still making miniature books for a hobby? A trivial pastime? Yes – I am neither making it for a living, nor for publicity or the attention of an audience. I still want to keep it insignificant in the eyes of the world. But for my own satisfaction, I aim at a practice that is meaningful – that includes the quality of the craft of making – the quality of content and form – as well as the learning. Am I honest when I say I don’t care for the attention? …

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