Excuse the slightly belated post today. I was just thinking to myself yesterday how I seem to be posting twice a week quite comfortably now after saying I would cut down to one, so of course life got in the way a bit this week!
I’ve been wanting to tell you about the workshop I did with L O I S at the end of last month and was determined to write it all up before August was upon us!
So, last month I was really chuffed when Helen from L O I S invited me to take part in a Block Printing and Japanese Stab Stitch Binding workshop at Cafe Viva in Peckham.
Teaching us to print was the brilliant Jonna Saarinen, who sells her bright and instantly recognisable printed wares all over the world. And teaching us to bind was the lovely Magda Kagwa, founder of Check Out My Print. Magda regularly teaches lino printing, embroidery and book binding workshops, so you should check out her site (get it?).
The evening started with a lot of oohing and ahhing over the multitude of colourful inks, followed by a bit of practice printing with ready made blocks on to paper and fabric. The colours and textures of the results were so incredibly different between materials, and it was much easier to keep the blocks from slipping around on the fabric than it was on the paper too, meaning the patterns and end result was more controllable.
After our practicing was done, we moved on to designing our own blocks. My mind went entirely blank – thanks a lot brain – but I finally decided on a little collection of stars.
We cut our shapes out of quite thin foam, and used spray glue to attach them to wooden blocks (which is easier said than done when you’ve got glue all over your fingers!).
I had a few practice prints and then decided that a whole load of stars wasn’t quite what I was after, so I nabbed a ready made triangle block, some dark blue ink, and created a mountain range to go under my starry sky instead!
And now our fabric was ready, we could move on to the bookbinding! Magda had plenty of templates, and card for our hardback notebook covers.
And then came the hole punching and stitching.
For someone who needs to put a bit of muscle into day-to-day creative work (using the Adana printing press, lugging around lead type, etc), I really do have an embarrassing lack of upper body strength. Piercing through the paper, card and fabric took me ages! Even with the snazzy single hole puncher.
There are a distinct lack of photos from the stitching process as it took a lot of concentration, and by this point the workshop was running over a bit. There was some really lovely coloured thread to choose from though, and Magda was a picture of calm and patience even as we asked her the same questions over and over about where to put the next stitch!
I did manage to get a snap of all our finished books though.
You might notice the cover on mine is backwards, as was another girl’s whose awesome print was of tomatoes, rather than a repeating pattern, so my suspicion is that everyone put their covers on backwards, but it just wasn’t obvious for most of us. But that might be a bit presumptuous of me.
A bit annoying, but as they’re Japanese style books it’s more authentic this way, right?
Overall, a really fun workshop, in a great venue and with lovely, patient teachers. It was a nice change to tackle two complimenting crafts in one evening and I feel confident trying to repeat the steps at home too!
The next one of these workshops is on the 17th of August at Cafe Viva. There are still tickets available, costing £40, from here.
I was a guest at the L O I S workshop, as mentioned, but all fun had was genuine and words above are true.
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