From One Basket Case to Another

Over the summer, I was lucky enough to be invited to the private view of the City Lit Basket Course, which was a culmination of work by students over the last two years. Unsurprisingly this was quite a substantial and impressive collection of work. I have to admit my naïvety here, as I really had no idea that basketry could be so creative. The course, though advertised for beginners, appeared to cater for many levels, as there were returning basketers, who have been doing it for years.

My aunt, Christiane

My reason for attending the (very hot!) private view was that my aunt has been a student there these past two years, so I was keen to see her accomplishments, and I am duely bias in thinking hers were, of course, the best! So without further delay, here are some of my favourites…

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This amazing beast of a basket by Christiane Gunzi (my aunt!) came from exploring the effect of the environment on local woodland, in particular the great storm of 87′ and the change it caused in the growth of trees. Once the storm had hit, the woods grew erratically and all over the place. The precursor to this basket was an incredibly neat and perfectly formed one, representing the natural formulaic layout of the wood.

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This extraordinary piece was called Paradise House, by Anita Vozik. I thought if it was made larger, it would be an excellent garden escape pod, but it did have a more serious meaning as it was representing a hay bale, the gap being a scythe cut. Anita is Hungarian, and that is their traditional method of cutting and storing hay.

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Janice Brooklyn – A fellow book enthusiast, and past attendee of the University of the Arts London. These are amazing basket woven paper creations, I could easily have a few of these on my wall!

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This upside down porcupine was made by Karen Lawrence, and definitely another favourite of mine. All the little spikes are made from cable ties and must have taken an age to weave in! It was one of a large collection of Karen’s baskets, all of which were incredibly impressive.

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This collection by Christiane Sans (another Christiane, but not my aunt!) was more abstract than the previously ones shown here, but equally as fascinating. The materials she used appeared to be more salvage than the regular cane, but I did not have a chance to ask her about them.

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Gail Romanes – These were definitely another favourite of mine, there must be something about miniature things that makes you love them just for being small! They were tiny and perfect!

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And finally, Gareth Williams’. I believe Gareth was a returning basketer, who has obviously developed an amazing skill in the craft over the years. These reminded me of something by Escher!

I have included websites where I have them (only one I think), but have grained from plastering people’s email addresses all over the web. However if you would like to get in touch with any of these basket cases, let me know and I can put you in contact.

City & Guilds Bookbinding Certificates!

Well here they are! Certificates to show my City & Guilds course in bookbinding, I have to say I am quite proud of myself.

Not sure if you can read the text, but it says that I have completed the general Design for Craft module and the more specific Bookbinding module!

Next step is Camberwell Art School, for Book Conservation, which I’m starting in September – keep in touch!

City Lit Bookbinders Exhibition

As our bookbinding year came to an end, we were given the opportunity to exhibit some of our work in the display cases at the City Lit. Unsurprisingly I was immensely excited about this, and so diligently went to photograph my first exhibited work!!!



Our books were displayed in two glass cases on the ground floor of the City Lit, which you can see here.



These show my two books on display, my coptic binding and the limp binding with the circles and ribbons next to Emily's japanese binding.



I think these two were Bob's - one was his coptic binding, which he made amazingly by carefully cutting out paper (BY HAND!) to make the intricate designs. For the second one, a disappearing spine pamphlet, Bob made the cover design and then had it printed onto book fabric, which he then used to cover the book - amazing!



This final coptic binding was Kate's, which I loved, and two very nice sewing samples!

The Principle of the City Lit, Peter Davies, said of our work - 'So much variety and fabulous work with the definite feel of a top of the range gallery – indeed much better than many exhibitions I have seen' 
- Well done us!!

Bookbinding Update | Week 36

How very sad – our course has now ended and no longer will I be spending Tuesday evenings at the City Lit, enjoying the company of our small group of bookbinders (I’d like to call ourselves that as we have now completed the course), perhaps more affectionately known now as the Montague Binders following our visit to the mythical Montague Arms pub (otherwise known as the Prince of Wales – sorry about that!)

Yesterday we did manage to complete all sorts of bits and bobs and I am fairly sure we all came away with our final project 2 books – so well done to everyone on that!

I also managed to complete my phase box, which I must admit is pretty much just as bad as the coptic binding it is encasing – I think perhaps a smaller book would have been better to start with, so I think I will try that again.

Here are some more pictures of the evening, including our class in full and Nesta receiving her apron from us

I have added some more pictures onto Facebook, in our new group page that Katherine has kindly set up called ‘Bookbinding 2010‘, which I think we should rally to change to the ‘Montague Binders’!!

And finally, thank you very much Nesta for such an enjoyable year, I really have had a fantastic time!

Bookbinding Update | Week 35

I’ve finished my book!! And its not too bad – currently it’s between some boards with blotting paper to soak up the damp from the glue, so I’ll take some better pictures next week.

Mid casing in
In the press above Kate’s book!

I managed YET AGAIN to forget to trim my endpapers prior to casing in, though I was able to trim them after it had been in the press, not a good habit to get into though. I have plans to make a dust jacket for the book out of tracing paper, and my very helpful friend Angela has just given me some super tips for printing the title on it, so we’ll see how that goes over the week.

The final thing!!

Well next week is the final week for out little group at the City Lit, which is rather sad, so I will no longer be doing my updates. However – don’t fret – I will still be adding to my blog and keeping you informed of other projects I have on the go, and things that I have been up to that might be of interest!! (Phew, I hear you say – WHAT a relief!!)