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, 21 August 2016

The final total

And the final total is ... drum roll ... £1,421.47.
Thanks so much to everyone who has contributed and who turned up this afternoon.

The end of the auction is finally here!

Here we are at last.
It's a beautiful day. The sun is shining and the bunting is up.
And the first visitor is already here!

The house is filled with a plethora of colour as the books, cards, tea-light holders and other sundry items are all on display.

The books are in situ in our lounge. 

 The kitchen dresser is full of colour.

 In contrast, the tea-light holders my husband has made are a simple, natural wood.

Everything is ready for the off!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Bids for the 50 books

My clever husband has suggested a post with all the 50 books on and how the bids are going - so here it is! Your easy reference point all in one blog.

1. Feather book 
8.5 x 8.5cm, 92 pages. Calico cover printed with 3 feather prints. Pages blue, white and graph paper.
Current bid £10

2. Button book
16 x 11cm, 154 pages. Turquoise cover with paper buttons & real buttons down spine. Pages blue & purple, graph paper & dictionary pages.
Current bid £12

3. Turquoise paisley
16 x 11cm, 154 pages. Black background and colourful paisley. Pages, are blue, purple, pink and cream,  interspersed with graph paper and dictionary pages.
Current bid £15

4. Marbled windows
14 x 14cm, 114 pages. Navy background with 4 windows cut out to reveal marbled fabric.
Pages white & graph paper.
Current bid £10.00

5. Wooden birds
4 x 3cm, 116 pages. Gold cover, turquoise spine. Cover with 2 wooden birds.
Pages from old poetry book (Wordsworth).
Current bid £13.00

6. In out in a box
4 x 4cm, concertina. Blue & white paisley box. Concerntina page with gatha - in, out, deep, slow, calm, ease, smile release, present moment, wonderful moment. 
Current bid £15.00

7. Two birds poem
15 x 16cm, 4 pages with cut outs. Poem written by Lauri. Printed and cut out pages.
Current bid £20.00

8. Cream and hessian
20 x 19.5cm, 82 pages. Heavy cream cartridge paper, stitched spine with beads.
Current bid £20.00

9. Family hands
25 x 20cm, 16 pages. Hands related to each person's interests in the Bower/Keenan family.
Current bid £20.00
10. Sparkling stars
6.5 x 10cm, concertina. Gold paisley concertina book with poem by Lauri.
Ribbon & magnet closure.
Current bid £17.00

11. The ocean of bliss
16 x 15.5cm, 23 pages. Pale blue pages with poem by Lauri. Felt embroideries front & back, poem hand-written.
Current bid £35.00

12. Coptic binding
16 x 11cm, 60 pages. Red and purple cover with pink, purple and cream pages and brown coptic binding on the spine.
Current bid £20.00

13. Green envelopes
11 x 7.5cm, 16 pages. Quirky book with an envelope on each page for ideas or secrets that need keeping safe.
Current bid £25

14. Sangha poems
15 x 10.5cm, 20 pages. Poems written on York Sangha related events since 2012.
Current bid £35.00
There are 4 copies of this book.

15. 21-day retreat Plum Village
15 x 10.5cm, 28 pages. Poems written on the 21-day retreat Plum Village 2014
Current bids, £15.00, £20.00, £10.00, £22.00
There are 4 copies of this book.

16. Mind is a great storyteller
15.5 x 21.5cm, 12 pages. Poem written by Lauri with last page as cut-out.
The covers & pages are decorated with decoupage.
Current bid £14.00

17. Borrowers' turquoise
3 x 3cm, 166 pages. A tiny book for Borrowers. An assortment of quirky pages made from photocopied paper with random printing & marbled fabric.
Current bid £20.00

18. Borrowers' maroon
3 x 8cm, 136 pages. A tiny book for Borrowers. Pages made from fine rice paper.
Current bid £10.00

19. Inner silence
15 x 14cm, 4 pages. The simplest of books just for displaying Thich Nhat Hanh's lovely quote, 'inner silence does not require external silence'.
Current bid £15.00

20. Words of peace
22 x 7.5cm, concertina. Concertina book. Each page has a cut out centre to display a card feather. Each feather has a word printed onto it.
Current bid £35.00

21. Go Outside
15 x 21cm, 24 pages. A book featuring 21 of my own poems all about being outside in nature.
Current bid £25.00

23. 10 Love poems
15.5 x 10.5cm, 10 pages. 10 individual leaves with a hand-written poem by Lauri
on each inside a folder.
Current bid £23.00

24. Acorn
9 x 10cm, 1 page. A hexagon folding out into a bigger hexagon. Words by Kahlil Gibran.
Current bid £25.00

25. Silence heart
8 x 8cm, 17 pages. Heart shaped book with the poem by Lauri, Silence is palpable.
Current bid £11.00

26. Snowdrops
19 x 19cm, 10 pages. Heavy cartridge paper book with Clare's snowdrops print on the front & Snowdrops poem (by Lauri) inside.
Current bid£ 20.00

27. A box of gift tags
16 x 7x4cm. A handmade box of 50 gift tags, range of sizes.
Current bid £20.00

28. We are skylarks
11.5 x 12.5cm, 12 pages. Hand-printed, we are skylarks poem by Lauri.
Current bid £25.00

29. Bring mind and body home
21.5 x 15.5cm, 60 pages. Quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh along the bottom of each page.
Current bid £20.00

30. Blue leaf
6 x 5.5cm, 124 pages. Small plain book with marbled leaf on the front.
Current bid £5.00

31. Printed leaf
21.5 x 15.5cm, 60 pages. Printed cover and printed leaf or heart on each page.
Current bid £15.00

32. A handful of hearts
14 x 12cm, 140 pages. Handmade paper with a heart on each page.
Current bid £20.00

33. Circular book
5.5 x 13cm, 384 pages. Colourful pages sewn into a circle, a never-ending book
Current bid £15.00

34. In out small book
4 x 3cm, 40 pages. Tiny book with printed words on each page of Thich Nhat Hanh's gatha in, out, deep, slow, calm, ease, smile release, present moment, wonderful moment.
Current bid £10.00

35. In out concertina
4 x 4cm, concertina. Pastel coloured handmade paper with threads. Concertina rice paper with printed words of Thich Nhat Hanh's gatha in, out, deep, slow, calm, ease, smile release, present moment, wonderful moment.
Current bid £10.00

36. In out long
7 x 2cm, concertina. Gold and  cream paper with words printed in brown - Breathe & go slow, in, out, deep, slow, calm, ease, smile release, present moment, wonderful moment.
Current bid £18.00

37. Book decoration
5 x 5cm, 4 folded pages. Purple and pink decoration.
Current bid £8.00

38. Framed book
6.5 x 9.5cm, 90 pages. Small simple book made from handmade denim paper
with a colourful frame on the front.
Current bid £10.00

39. Coptic marbling
10.5 x 15cm, 124 pages. Purple pages with a marbled edging on the spine. 
Sewn together with coptic binding.
Current bid £10.00

40. In, out windows
11.5 x 13.5cm, 24 pages. In, out, deep, slow, calm, ease, smile release, present moment, wonderful moment printed onto squares and hanging in separate windows, 1 per page. With a decoupage cover.
Current bid £18.00

41. Green jewel coptic
26 x19.5cm, 40 pages. A coptic bound, plain notebook with handmade thick cream paper and a green cover woven with jewelled papers.
Current bid £22.00

42. Pastel coptic
16 x 16cm, 192 pages. A coptic bound book made from pastel pages, graph paper and card of varying sizes (height from 9 to 15.8cm).
Current bid £15.00

43. Lotus book
  14 x 14cm, 144 pages. A version of coptic binding with each signature being sewn directly into the outer spine of the cover & decorated with beads. The pages are two shades of lilac.
Current bid £10.00

44. Shakespearean love quotes
14 x 10cm, concertina. A luxurious concertina book with a love quote 
from Shakespeare on each page.
Current bid £30.00

45. Book of charms
10.5 x 27cm, 96 pages. A coptic bound book with sewing charms attached to the spine. The covers are bound with thick handmade paper interwoven with threads.
Current bid £12.00

46. Lilac coptic jewels
8 x 8cm, 128 pages. A coptic bound book with jewelled beads decorating the front cover. 
Lilac cover and pages.
Current bid £20.00

47. Magpie book
14 x 15cm, 22 pages. A concertina book encasing plastic pages
with a quote embedded in each page.
Current bid £30.00

48. Big book small book
16 x 22cm, 108 pages. A large sketch/note-book with two weights of cartridge paper & a tiny book 
(3 x 3cm, 92 pages) as the closure. The cover is green & maroon bookcloth.
Current bid £50.00

49. Love poems box
12 x 12cm box , 10 folded pages. 10 love poems. Pages are folded into squares to reveal one poem at a time. Encased in a maroon and gold box.
Current bid £25.00

50. Thay the bodhisattva
26 x 21.5cm, 36 pages. Poem describing Thay's hands with each page as a hand. Poem is hand printed & each page is illustrated with henna type patterns. Coptic bound & decoupage cover.
Current bid £38.00

51. How long does it take?
11 x 15.5cm, 92 pages. A simple multi-signature book with turquoise and gold cover & heart bookmark.
Current bid £10.00

From the first book ...

Tomorrow is the day! It's actually here and happening tomorrow!
I never really thought when I made this first book 

where things would lead to! 
I have been making books for many years and have loved experimenting with different ideas and trying new ways of making books throughout the year.
I started making a list of ideas for the 50 books and there are several still on the list that I haven't made yet, so it doesn't stop here!
Let's hope tomorrow brings lots of visitors and more bids!
All to a VERY good cause - Plum Village.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Open House and end of auction - this Sunday!

Open House
Venue - 10 Garth End, Collingham, Wetherby. LS22 5BH.
Date - Sunday 21st August
Time - 12-4pm

SUNDAY 21ST AUGUST is the date set for the end of the auction of the 50 books, and at this point I will be able to inform everyone if they have 'won' the book or books they are bidding on. I am holding an Open House in Collingham, 12 - 4pm. You are welcome to come and browse the books, have some refreshments and look through other small items for sale (candle holders and cards).

Tell your friends and family. Tell complete strangers!

As Sunday approaches ...

As Sunday approaches Tim and I are working joyfully towards the final preparations and the end of the auction. This has been quite a journey from the decision at the beginning of 2015 to undertake to make 50 books in a year. At that point I had no idea if it was possible, or what they would be like. I began with 3 books, all plain and from those I got more and more ideas about how they next one could be. It has been an amazing journey that I have been happy to share with many people. I'm glad many people have been able to view the books in person as there is such a different quality to holding the books as opposed to looking at photos or videos of them. 
Here is what else will be available on the day - 

handmade cards

 tea-light holders made from driftwood and logs

Poetry booklets

beautiful fimo shapes

There will also be refreshments and a vegan cake! What more could you want?

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Bidding has gone over £1,000 and still 4 days to go!

I'm really pleased to be able to announce the bidding for the 50 books has reached £1,089 with 4 days to go before the auction closes. This is really good news as far as I'm concerned, but there is still the opportunity to increase this. Scroll through previous posts to view the books individually and then message me with a comment on the post or by email.
What will I do with these books out of my life? just have to make some more I guess! 
Here's another glimpse of one of my favourite books
The Ocean of Bliss.
A poem written in 2008 and embroidered by me more recently.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Books and more

Here is a lovely picture of the cards I have been making over the last few days, which will be on sale on Sunday afternoon as part of the Open House.

A beautiful display of handmade cards.

Monday, 15 August 2016

One of my favourite books

This is the 50th book and 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.
The current bid for this book is £35

Here is the front cover.

 This is the open book.
Here is a link to a video showing the book opening.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

These books need more love

The following books all have bids for less than £10 currently and I feel they need a boost and a bit of love!
Book No 5 Wooden birds
This book is a very small cute one that I made as a variety to the other bigger ones previously.

 It is a delightful 4 x 3cm with 2 tiny wooden birds decorating the front cover.

The 116 pages are from an old poetry book (apologies to Wordsworth).

Book No 16 Mind is a great storyteller
This book features one of my poems, written in Plum Village last June. The last page is cut out to feature the final line. The covers and pages are decorated with decoupage.
The front cover is decorated with patterned paper pieces. Stitching at the left hand side is coptic binding, which is how the book is assembled.

This shows some of the inner pages and the cut out on the last page. It is 15.5 x 21.5cm with 12 pages and the poem is handwritten. You can read the poem on my Mindful Living blog here 

Book No 18 Borrower's Maroon
A book for Borrowers, measuring just 3 x 8cm.

The maroon paper is from Namaste, a shop in the UK that imports beautiful handmade papers, furniture etc. from Thailand and India. There are 136 pages made from fine rice paper.

Book No 25 Silence Heart
Book number 25, (yay! half way through) is a heart-shaped book held together with a split pin. It has the poem Silence written on individual pages which appropriately open out into a lovely fan.

This is the book closed

and this is what it looks like open.
It measures approximately 8 x 8cm with 17 pages.
You can read the poem on my Mindful Living blog here 

Book No 30 Blue Leaf

A small book measuring 6 x 5.5cm with 124 pages of plain white paper.
Just because I enjoy making small books!

Book No 35 In out Concertina
This book has the same words as book number 34 (in, out, deep, slow, calm, ease, smile, release, present moment, wonderful moment) but in a small concertina book, measuring 4 x 4cm. 
Here is the book, closed with a ribbon and bead. The concertina page is made from rice paper and the cover is handmade paper with multi coloured threads in it.

Here is the open book with words printed (each letter printed individually).

Book No 37 Book Decoration
This small purple and pink book opens out into a folded decoration by sliding the bead down the ribbon to open and then back up to close.

Measuring just 4 x 4cm with a sparkly purple cover and purple ribbon.

Here is the open book decoration with pink and silver pages inside.

Friday, 12 August 2016

What is the 50 Books auction?

In 2014 I turned 50 and it felt like a landmark that needed acknowledging.
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 decided to celebrate being 50 by making 50 handmade books throughout the year (2015). That was the easy part! Now comes to working out how to hold and run the auction.
It is a silent auction, which doesn't mean you don't have to talk but rather than people shouting out bids for each book you can browse the exhibition and write down your bid on the piece of paper with the book, as long as it is higher than the previous bid.
Throughout 2016 I have taken the books with me on retreats and had the opportunity to display them in places where people can add their own bid. This all ends on Sunday 21st August with an Open House at my house, 12 noon to 4pm. You will be able to browse the books, buy other small items for sale (cards and tea light holders), have some refreshments and hopefully, enjoy the garden.
I hope Sunday 21st August will be a joyful celebration of creativity and you are most certainly welcome!
10 Garth End, Collingham, Wetherby. LS22 5BH

The money raised goes to Plum Village.
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, a Zen Buddhist teacher) 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.