50 books in a year of being 50

In this year of being 50 I have decided to follow one of my creative passions
and make 50 handmade books over the year.

Early next year I will find a way to exhibit the books and auction them.

The money raised will go to Plum Village in France,
a monastic retreat centre inaugurated by Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Beginning - the first book

I've done creative things as long as I can remember. Mum and Nannan were both sewers and knitters and they taught me and my sisters when we were young, so it feels like something I have always done. I also remember Mum calligraphing Christmas cards with gold ink and that is something that really interested me when I was in my teens. Being left handed I struggled with handwriting at school and wasn't allowed an ink pen as my writing wasn't neat enough and I couldn't write in a straight line on plain paper! But I had my own ink pen at home so I used to practise by myself. When I was 14 I joined Sheffield Youth Theatre, which was an amazing experience and informed much that I have done since then. The director was a very innovative woman who really encouraged us to follow the things we were good at, not just acting. We would sew our own costumes, handwrite the programmes in calligraphy and design posters etc. That encouragement to pursue creativity in whatever form it took has stayed with me since my teenage years and over time I have run a business making clothes, made several wedding dresses for friends and family, as well as exploring felt-making, simple print-making, jewellery, card-making, embroidery and more recently, book-binding.

This now leads me on to this current project.
I have decided to celebrate being 50 by making 50 handmade books throughout the year. Next year, probably in February, I will auction the books and send the money to Plum Village.  http://plumvillage.org/ Plum Village is a very important place for me and I am happy to support it in this way. It was set up in 1982 by Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) as a retreat centre and is now a thriving monastic and lay community in southern France, near Bordeaux. Anyone can go for a week's retreat there. Thay teaches mindfulness and his teaching has become the path that I follow to guide me through life. I have spent 6 years researching his teachings on Mindfulness and Engaged Buddhism for my Ph.D which I recently completed. Now I'd like to give something back to help this beautiful place and all it represents continue.

I have already started making the books and in the following posts I will include each one separately with some info about it. Some of the books will be plain notebooks and others will have content in them, specifically from the poems that I write. This is part of my mindfulness practice and they are shared on one of my other blogs Mindful Living - http://lauribower.blogspot.co.uk/
So to give you a taste, here is the first book.
Current bid for this book stands at £10

 Feather book. 
The cover is made from calico printed with 3 feathers and tied to close with a ribbon. 
I made the lino cut for the feather.

 Feather book open.
Showing the range of pages, some pale blue, some white and some squared on one side. 
The book has 92 pages.

The size of the pages are 7.5 x 7.5cm and the cover is 8.5 x 8.5cm.

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