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Book art, tea and Radio 4

June 17th, 2012 | Posted in Blog | 2 Comments »
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I have just spent a lovely week interning with the amazing Rachel Hazell of Hazell Designs Books. Rachel is many things in one; she is primarily a book binder, but also an artist, a teacher, a writer and a traveller. Her mission this year is to teach twelve different workshops in twelve different inspirational places, and write a book about the experience.

Rachel makes book art, from miniature, intricately bound books, to delicate sculptures using traditional techniques.  Her work is poetic, always extremely neat and detailed and no piece is ever the same. She takes inspiration from the natural world, from the wilds of Skye to the bleak, white beauty of Antarctica, and this is clearly reflected in her work: nautical themes run throughout, with a passion for miniature boats, old maps and the changing tide.

I was there to help her commission work for The Contemporary Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey in Devon this weekend, which is the sixth place on her list. From stamping and sticking to carving and cutting, Rachel allowed me to make all sorts, from tiny music envelopes to word art and miniature labels. I got to use a range of tools including the Japanese Screw Punch, which apparently is always a favourite. It was really interesting to the see the craft of book making at a time when digital books are at the forefront of everything, and to appreciate their tactile quality and how important it is to have both.

Overall, I had a thoroughly enjoyable week and would recommend anyone to intern with Rachel. I have a new appreciation for Radio 4 and was grateful for the many cups of tea and chocolate. I did do some traditional publishing related activities such as press releases and research, but it was nice to see the making of books from a different perspective.

For more information about Rachel and her books please see:

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– Emma Dunn