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.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Book number 50, Thay the Bodhisattva

Current bid for this book stands at £35
The final book is a poem that I wrote about Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) in 2014 when he first became ill. In Buddhist iconography there is an image of the Bodhisattva (one who has put off personal enlightenment and has reincarnated to lead all beings to enlightenment) Avalokiteshvara with one thousand hands and an eye in each hand. This is so he can see all the suffering in the world and has the hands to help. A beautiful image that I had in mind when I began to write about Thay and considering the many different aspects of his teaching. Having written the poem it took me a long time to work out how to illustrate it (especially as I can't draw). I had ideas of using people's printed hands as a border and the words of the poem in the middle but having tried that it didn't feel right to me. Suddenly it hit me that I could make a book like the Family hands (number 9). On a retreat I drew round people's hands as a starting point for each page. I also had in mind the notion of decorating hands with henna (as used for Asian weddings) and this gave me the inspiration to decorate each page. The brown colour also fitted in with the brown robes that the monastics at Plum Village wear.
It seemed appropriate to me that the final book has taken the most amount of work because of all the detail on each page.
The book measures 26 x 21.5 cm with 36 pages. The cover is decorated with decoupage and the book is assembled with coptic spine binding.

Here is the front cover.

 This is the open book.

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