Rachel’s Blog

Paper Navigations: Lloyd Hotel: Amsterdam

It’s good to be back at the Lloyd Hotel for another Paper Navigations workshop!

There was special post waiting, from Flow Magazine and Like Stationery

We got straight down to mapping and charting

The team from Elbel Libro wowed us with detail of the finest bindings

Any time in Amsterdam is incomplete without a visit to Posthumus Winkel. We had a arranged a wax seal demo, which was so brilliant that I now have the potential to heart-seal every envelope and parcel…

Ah Vlieger! You are the BEST art shop ever – so many must-have tools and materials. I wish we were closer

Although the weather for our exclusive boat trip was not conventionally wonderful, we LOVED the empty canals and different perspectives

Susanna embraced the conditions and made them work for her. These watery marks became the base for the finest line drawings of Dutch gables

Carmen’s dynamic sketch belies the drenched surroundings

A word map by Marchell

Here’s our bright airy studio space, suspended in the elevated design heights of the Lloyd Hotel

Nienke maps her brain in full colour collage

Henriette’s extraordinary three dimensional phrenological head

Jan charts her multi-lingual, multi-media journey

We went to Like Stationery because we like stationery

…and Boekie Woekie, because we love books! Artist’s books!

Luggage tag tales

Paper cut world

Discovering the incredible Mouse Mansion was this year’s top find, and is now firmly on any future Paper Navigations itinerary

A Monday morning mission to Noordermarkt for apple pie and flea market finds

The grand finale of our folding – hurray for maps, paper and shadows!

Thank you Paper Navigators!

This workshop was fueled by Tony’s Chocolonely…




Textile Narratives at Chateau Dumas

Good Morning from Chateau Dumas!

…When I saw these type trays propped in the entrance arch, I knew i’d arrived in the right place

Our Textile Narratives studio for the week!

Sumptuously stocked with everything we could desire to stitch with…

What colour thread would you like?

We began with folds

Using pages from falling-apart books ‘rescued’ from Auty’s Vide Grenier

Wire shadow drawings

Here are the sun-warmed steps to our work space

Every morning and afternoon, tea was served on this table, amongst all the textures

Sunshine stitching by Andrea

Susan’s process: Placement, rearrangement, attention

Dreamy picnic, in the splendid company of Christine Meyer and her upcycled fashion drapers

Stepping down to the pool

…for daily dips in salt water

Wonderful woad-dying day

Peggy experimented with dipping blotting paper in the woad vat…

and had the genius idea to create a tonal sequence of hankerchiefs. (That’s a narrative right there)

One of Debra’s pockets.

The main book structure was folded from rag-rich Zaanschbord from a windmill in the Netherlands

The amazing button-man brought a van full of exceptional wares, much to our delight

Oh the boxes! Such treasure!

Handmade invitations for the final show

Comrades-in-Textiles examining the weeks creations. Note tailor-made outfits

Debra’s embroidered scroll, parcels of small books and woad-dyed pocket for her Textile Narrative

The most enticing of titles?

Andrea’s pocketfuls of wonder

Peggy’s open hearts

Happy testimonials

Did I mention the rosé? We were SO well fed and watered.

Thank you Sarah!

The Textile Narratives bookart workshop was a collaboration with Chateau Dumas and Selvedge Magazine

Thank you Lizzie, for having a chateau-full of stories to stitch

The Travelling Bookbinder returns to France for her final (most exclusive) workshop of the year: Paris Love Letters.*One last place remains!*










Bookart at Snorfabriek with Flow Magazine

There is a dreamy magazine, filled with papery mindfulness, called Flow. This is the latest International edition (You can have a peek at my house inside!)

This year, in a splendid collaboration, Flow have created a workshop space at Snorfabriek. It’s this way!

Here is one small part of Snorfabriek: You can see that Annemarieke Piers and Claudette Halkesare are  magic-makers, can’t you?! They also publish cool books.

In my room at Mother Goose Hotel, I put the finishing touches to the Map of My Heart workshop goody bags…

…sealed with neon orange ribbon!

We began by folding a series of books containing different map elements.

Including compass rose details,

and a word map!

Busy in the Flow Kas, surrounded with art materials and friendly conversation.

Fuelled by Tony’s Chocolonely, of course.

Jen gifted these vintage postcards to each of us.

Using a fantastic array of Flow paper goodies, we made map folds…

…into composite wonders!

In glorious technicolour

…and elegant monotone.

Then we explored emotional landscapes

…finding ways to chart and navigate.

With words and windows.

Powerful imagery

Incredible intricacy

and luminescent pigment that made our universe glow.

Bound in beautiful packages

Impressive productivity

Finishing with a round-the-world show + tell!

Thank you Flow, all at Snorfabriek, especially Annemarieke Piers, you Heart Mappers, and all those who appreciate the fact that, because the Miffy Museum is shut on Mondays, i’ll have to go back to Utrecht...










Shetland Lighthouse Bookart Workshop

Sometimes on Shetland you get all weathers in one day. This year there was sleet on arrival at the ferry, and then this big blue sky at the lighthouse!

We’re perched on the edge of Bressay Sound, looking North across to Lerwick.

The further you climb up the hill, the easier it is to see the heart-shaped natural arch…Such an inspiring place.

Everybody’s room was labelled.

Goody bags waited on the studio pew.

On the first day we measured, marked and stitched these one, two and three section bindings.

There’s something SO satisfying about stitching paper.

Books and bits on the window sill.

Here’s where we worked.

Helen made a bespoke stamp for the workshop – amazing!

Jill’s Five Fish book is a gem!

Winifred printed glorious boat shapes using lo-tech cardboard collagraphs.

Helen read island poetry to us!

There was time for foraging and fossicking. (And lots of cake….but no photographic evidence of that. Not even crumbs.)

It’s rather distracting when the Coastguard helicopter on exercise dangles a winchman down on to the rocks in front of you. Isn’t the propeller pattern on the surface of the sea amazing?

Denyce’s desk of delights.

Claire’s nautical notations.

The un-waxed coloured linen thread (from Shepherd’s) required running through this fragrant block of beeswax before using.

Saturday night is Shetland Salmon Night. Thank you Dave for the freshest fish.

Constructing custom-sized slipcases involves a certain amount of precision.

Made to fit, perfectly. I am very proud of each and every one’s attention to detail.

The skeleton of a slip case. Made from the most delicious Zaanschbord paper from a Dutch windmill.

Helen’s DIY poetics.

Ah the end came too soon.

Bressay Bindings all encased.

VERY touched by this fabulous Thank-You card, which buoyed up my spirits when everyone had gone.

A lighthouse is an extraordinary place to make books.

With thanks to the Shetland Amenity Trust, Emma Gibson, The Peerie Shop, Kit & Ewen, June & Bernard, The Handmade Fish Co. and all who ferried and flew to be there.

Exceptional gratitude to Winifred, for feeding us so very well.







Bressay Lighthouse Art Residency, Shetland

At the end of a recent talk at The Fruitmarket Gallery, I told of my desire to be a lighthouse, guiding people through the journey of creating their own books from conception to completion. How apt then to arrive here, at Bressay, on Shetland, for a short residency.

Everybody needs to be able to press the ‘Reset’ button once in a while. I am very grateful to the Shetland Amenity Trust and Sumburgh Head Art Residency scheme for the opportunity to concentrate on my own work in a uniquely pertinent surroundings. The engine room has fabulous machinery (and acoustics.)

This is home for two weeks.

One has to stock up on materials first….! Shetland sketchbooks from The Peerie Shop.

Also important to put up a mission statement: Forget Reactive Be Responsive. OK.

I began painting lines of hill.

And established a daily habit of walking up above the lighthouse. Great perspective from up there.

These landscapes will become book covers.

Most mornings i’d hop over the wall to see what the water was doing, and wave to the pairs of fulmars on the cliffs.

Radio Four is a lifeline when solitary. Not a bad studio view eh?

There was treasure to be found on the jetty below the lighthouse.

Every morning at 7am the Northlink ferry from Aberdeen would steam by. Sometimes i’d go and wave a welcome in my pyjamas.

Slowly ideas made their way onto paper.

The Annual Shetland Lighthouse Bookart Workshop took place in the middle. They created a series of bindings in a slipcase. Great gang. Great work.

Afterwards I found these discarded pages and glued them down in sequence.

Creating a concertina. To be continued…

Finished binding twenty-one Lines of Hill.

Wrote a poem.

Painted pages sea blue.

Watched the Swan go by.

Made posters to spread the word about an Open Studio.

Reveled in the light. Content.

Cold mornings. Clear skies. This cloud made my day!

Have you ever heard a lighthouse gate singing in the wind?!

All too soon, it’s time to show what’s been achieved. And offer the chance of making a book. Tea and shortbread.

Unique bookworks. Inspired by Shetland.

I’ll miss this.


Rumi said: “Be a lamp, a lifeboat, or a ladder.”

I want to be a lighthouse.









Iona Driftwood Binding Retreat 2017

Watching with delight as the Calmac ferry calmly chugged across the Sound of Iona on a fine Thursday evening carrying driftwood binders on the final part of their journey. Folk had travelled from all over the UK, also Sweden and Arizona.

After good food and sleep, we began with technique. Developing skills to bind with confidence.

Splendid Lesley kept us well-fuelled.

The beach provided inspiration and moments of revelation.

Iona Hostel held us.

Staying in the Shepherd’s Bothy is Chef’s Perk.

Soon, each work space filled with sea colours, textures, rubbings and writings. Here are Maxine’s painted pages. Spot the balls of Iona wool?

Jenny brought a brayer and printed seaweed. N.B. Porridge eating in progress.

Tamsin inked up rope, and printed with that. This was her bowl of beach-combings.

A saucepan became the repository for precious scraps!

Saturday morning found us in the barn; choosing and measuring driftwood. John patiently sliced and drilled through a diverse range of covers. Lucy’s mum found this chunk on the Isle of Man.

Before lunch, paper is dispensed and grain direction checked, then chopped to size. A list of ‘things to include’ is written down and allowed to settle. Kate’s covers are ready.

Then we walked to the abbey, and through the cloisters, stopping to look and ask questions on the way.

Being in the wood-lined library evokes such a sense of all that has happened here on Iona. John took us on a journey through history, along sea roads and around illuminated Celtic knots….

…and finished with a brilliant demonstration of how to make a goose feather pen.

 Saturday Night is Film Night!

“I Know Where I’m Going” is a classic.

Ah then time just accelerated. Sunday was a blur of page filling, painting, printing, writing, collage and word finding… (punctuated by numerous cups of tea and chunks of Tony Chocolonely chocolate from Amsterdam.) Here is a pen and ink sketch in Viv’s book.

Kerstin created her own illustrations.

The light shone on us and our pages. Jenny’s rubbing.

Basho’s quote is a good reminder for letting go….

(Stone carver: Sheena Devitt)

Here’s a gallery of details:

This is a mere detail of Caroline’s epic binding…to give an idea of scale, she thinks the top cover might have been an oar!

Coordinating sections and threads. Tamsin’s triumph.

A limpet ring hangs from the spine of Viv’s book.

Teresa’s ripped edges and shells.

An exquisitely delicate binding by Maxine.

Kerstin’s book of island impressions catches the light.

Tiny textural pages from Lesley.

Lucy’s cover boards re-form into one when the book is opened wide.

Here is the whole set of extraordinary driftwood bindings.

Massive thanks to; John Maclean for his generous hospitality and wise words; Iona Craft Shop for staying open late for us; Lesley Wood for so much cooking; The Iona Community for our library visit; Teresa Smith for chocolate Special Delivery; Lucy Kelsall for a whole album of stunning photographs and ALL who quested and strived to make the Iona Driftwood Binding Retreat 2017.



The Travelling Bookbinder 2017 Preview

Happy New Year!

Here’s a month-by-month outline of The Travelling Bookbinder’s plans for 2017

ionajanuarybeachJanuary – Writing on the Isle of Iona, walking this beach, looking out to Staffa and Mull

goodybagFebruary -Valentine’s Paper Heart Workshop at Golden Hare Books, PaperLove Alumni Weekend, Edinburgh (ONLY for previous participants of the PaperLove e-course) and a talk at Fruitmarket’s BookMarket

bookcol_forwebMarch – PaperLove e-course (date announced in newsletter soon) &
Iona Driftwood Binding Retreat (one place available)

Collage8April – Shetland Lighthouse Workshop (sold out, sorry)

deiaMay – Walking in the sunny hills and coast lines of Mallorca

flowturkishfoldJune – A Map of My Heart with Flow Magazine, Snorfabriek, Utrecht (sign up now)

JulyJuly – Mucking about on Iona with this dog and a boat

esmeminibooksAugust – Textile Narratives, Chateau Dumas (bookings open!)

papernavigations-boatdelftSeptember – Paper Navigations Amsterdam (bookings open soon)

IMG_5855.JPGOctober – Personal Geographies Venice (book now!) and PaperLove e-course (date tbc)

parisjuicyletteringNovember – Paris Love Letters (only three places available)


December – Folding origami stars and parceling paper love up for the post….

Have a great year! I look forward to PaperLoving and getting bookish with you in 2017!

The Travelling Bookbinder 2016 Review

When better than the year end to look over the last twelve months and remember what did happen…? Here’s a month-by-month snapshot review of The Travelling Bookbinder’s 2016 highlights

Thank YOU for coming along with me, online with PaperLove and all around the world!

ID.6January: Iona. Planning, walking, watching the light change

SewingHeartBookFebruary: PaperLove Alumni Weekend, Edinburgh

ID.16March: Iona Driftwood Binding Retreat

UppercaseCover1April: Featuring in the magnificent Uppercase magazine (Issue 29!)

lflribboncutMay: Little Free Library no.36444 is declared OPEN!

SiasconsetThisWayJune: Marks Magic & Meaning at Squam Lake, and Nantucket

ionabeach-1July: Iona Music Festival, sea-swimming and boating…

FishBoneAugust: Leksand, Sweden – to be a student!

papernavigationskerstincanalconcertinaSeptember: Paper Navigations Amsterdam

leafanthologyOctober: Arvon Lumb Bank. Bookart & Poetry with Stevie Ronnie

parislovelettersbooklynneeNovember: Paris Love Letters

ghwindowDecember: Golden Hare Books Star Window

Sign up for news and offers at www.rachelhazell.com

With gratitude and anticipation for a refreshing, stimulating and satisfying 2017


Golden Hare Books Star Window


Dream commission: Create a constellation of origami for my treasured closest independent bookshop!


Golden Hare Books stocks and displays volumes of irresistible and unusual literary delight


Using paper from Adeline Klam, a book of mythology and a manuscript of Mendelssohn‘s Elijah, I created LOTS of ten point origami stars (and a few five pointed ones too)


Star transportation vessel (A Tracey Neuls shoe box)


The first star is hung! Five lengths of linen bookbinding thread, suspended from a wooden rod


Golden Hares


Bring light through books!


In the night window…

Visit Golden Hare Books at 68 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, Edinburgh EH3 5AQ

THANK YOU to Julie Danskin and all at The Golden Hare!

Happy Reading! Happy Holidays!


Paris Love Letters 2016


Paris Love Letters is the The Travelling Bookbinder’s zenith. It is the final and most exclusive workshop of my year. So the goody bags are correspondingly special. I love putting these together for the lucky three.


The workshop location is mere steps away from the deliciously foodiest street in Paris; rue Montorgueil. This basket goes to the Palais de Fruits for clementines.


We began with folding and stitching, then writing.


Our first jaunt is to Relma, bookbinding suppliers extraordinaire,


…who stock a fabulous selection of marbled papers…


 …and leather too.

Since the inimitable Shakespeare & Co bookshop is close, we stopped in for a browse and a cuppa.


Ah Paris! Crisp November days are perfect for discovering more of you…


Mariage Freres tea is a fine complement to bookart, particularly a Paris-Provence blend.


No paperie tour of Paris would be complete without worshiping at the shrine of Calligraine to admire exquisite sheets and unusual bindings. We left with rolls of paper and elegant envelope packets.


And Melodies Graphiques never fails to provoke swooning, sighing and the purchase of calligraphy supplies.


Back to binding: An accordion fold with wrap around cover.


Swan’s map crown book.


And so to the flea market, searching for handsome tomes to re-purpose,


…boxes and boxes of sepia photographs


…and stationery lover’s treasures…


Souvenirs of bygone travels.


Rubber stamps. How to choose?!


At the Pompidou Centre, delirious with the view and range of inspiring books in the librairie, we celebrated with a drink…


…and one fold (of the limited edition Paul Smith designed menu) led to another: A crown fold of Georges.


Sewing handcrafted envelopes into the spine with red linen thread.


Marble envelopes stacking up for binding.


Fou de Patisserie morsels lined up for choosing.


Personally, I find it unwise to visit Adeline Klam unless funds are in place – every year I save up for now.


Pausing at The Used Book Cafe after a thorough examination of Merci’s Papeterie.



Whizzing between paper places by metro…


And walking, walking, walking! Here’s Place de la Bastille…


…on the way to Bofinger for a long lunch, and to pay my respects to a favourite reading lady. (Does the Latin translate to “Where does this lead.”?)


A highlight was visiting the studio of paper artist and bookbinder Julie Auzillon.


Most fantastic of all was the rare chance to see the remarkable trays of intense colours at the Maison du Pastel. What a story!


Our last day was busy binding. Teresa added these stamp tags to her book of envelopes. Aren’t they wonderful?


Luscious lettering (That’s J. Herbin’sRouge Opera‘ – no other red ink can match it.)


And Lynnee’s spectacular finished bound book.

I am delighted with the splendid Love Letters produced, and the depth and determination of each participant.


More paper love was to be found at Galeries Lafayette, where every window is filled with incredible, intricate, magical scenes.


Ah Paris! I love you!

Already longing for next year….

Paris Love Letters 2017






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