Wild orchids

Wild Orchids

We were delighted to discover four wild orchids in the meadow this year! They don't look like much until you see them close up and then you see the detail:

Orchid R 1 for FB ORCHID FIELD2 for FB OK


Progressing with Bookbinding

Progressing with Bookbinding
June 2017
with Jim MacWilliams

Everyone was so pleased, and I think justifiably impressed, that they were able to do so much during the three days they spent with Jim learning new bookbinding techniques. Building on the basic skills learnt during the beginners' course, everyone made one hardback book with a thesis style cloth binding and one library style cloth case-bound book, and then carried out simple spine repairs on older books. They also learnt the art of embossing so their hardback books were beautifully embossed.

We'd like to thank Simon and Sally for the photographs:

Bookbinding 3 Bookbinding 8

Bookbinding 6 Bookbinding 2

'We had a fantastic time. Jim is an inspirational teacher and great fun to spend 3 days with.'

Bookbinding 4 Bookbinding 5

'Jim MacWilliams - a lovely Scottish Genius Bookbinder.'

Bookbinding 7

Vellum Bookbinding Course

Limp Vellum Binding
May 2017
with Glenn Malkin

Vellum is a beautiful material, and has been used by bookbinders for hundreds of years. It's often confused, by those who haven't used it, with parchment. Both are the result of very carefully prepared animal skins. French sources tend to define
velin (vellum) as from calf only, while the British Standards Institution defines parchment as made from the split skin of several species, and vellum from the unsplit skin. Modern practitioners of writing, illuminating, lettering and bookbinding use the term 'vellum' when referring to calf skin, and 'parchment' when skins from other animals have been used. They are both prepared by bleaching and are then cleaned of hair before being stretched on a frame ('a herse') so that they can be further cleaned by scraping with a crescent-shaped knife (a 'lunarium' or 'lunellum'). Once the skin is dry it is treated by 'pouncing', covering the surface with pounce powder (usually made from finely ground cuttlefish bone) to ensure the ink adheres to the surface.

Making vellum

As you can imagine, with all the work involved in producing them, both vellum and parchment are now very expensive so Glenn brought with him some lovely old vellum legal 'papers' - indentures, wills etc. - all beautifully inscribed. They did need some further preparation to make them work for binding and then the book blocks were sewn, incorporating leather thongs, the headbands tied, the vellum covers made and the whole secured together with the thongs. It may all sound very easy but it wasn't! There was a great deal of skill involved in each of the separate processes. And, of course, a good time was had by all.

Here are some of the photos from the course. The two books produced by the end were really beautiful - great examples of vellum limp binding.

Indenture for vellum binding Vellum-bookbinding-case Glenn-Malkin-Grange-bookbinding

Vellum whole punching - cropped OK Vellum-bookbinding-thongs Vellum-limp-binding-blocks

Vellum-casing-in Vellum-limp-binding-finished-book Vellum-bindings-heads

Vellum-books-headbands Vellum-limp-bindings

The garden in spring

The Garden in Spring

The colours this spring have been wonderful.

Big rhododendron

Herb and veg garden OK spring Lilac to greenhouse-squashed Allium OK

Orange azalea close-up OK

Small rhododendrons Terrace bed OKOK Cheeky cupid OK

Wisteria OK Wisteria close up

Bindery with railings OK House from side bed OKOK