Rachel’s Blog

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






Bookart + Poetry at Arvon

The Travelling Bookbinder (me) and poet/artist Stevie Ronnie met to teach a week of text and image for Arvon at Lumb Bank.


Workshop preparations began with goody bag collations…


and continued with a successful raid on the best charity shops of Hebden Bridge.

We sat on the bench by the tutor’s cottage and discussed good warm up exercises for the first evening, eventually inventing the ingenious Fortune Telling Poetry Generator (…which i sadly seem to have lost, so no pictorial evidence here.)


It was a treat to teach with Stevie. We had lots of plans and tricks ready, which were modified as we worked with the group of book artists and writers before us. How do you like our morning commute to work? On several mornings I was up early enough to see fallow deer in the valley.


The first class began with bookart; getting words on the page as soon as possible.


Reveling in bright text.


Proceeding to pop ups pronto. The morning whizzed by fast.


Stevie eased us gently into etymology, and how to think about language differently, by introducing us to kennings. These are compound expressions with metaphorical meaning, that come from Old English and Old Norse poetry. So paper becomes history keeper or pen a memory scriber.

Then he invented a new bookart structure called the snake form based on one of the folded structures I’d taught the day before. Amazing.


On Wednesday afternoon the mission was to forage for words. A prime opportunity for walking to Hebden Bridge and scoring paper and old books from the second hand market, The Book Case, aforementioned charity shops, Radiance and Standard Goods at Hebble End Studios.

That evening we had the pleasurable and inspiring company of Amy Shelton, creative director of Honeyscribe. We were all a buzz, if you’ll pardon the pun.


We explored different ways of putting words on to the page.


Contrasting scale, colour and style with cacophonous effect.


Vive indeed!


Who could fail to have good thoughts in this library, with this view? It was where my tutorials took place, so that was lucky (for me, and the tutees, hopefully.)


Some of the productions by star stamper and letterer Ceri Amphlett.


The busyness of writing, folding and tremendous meals was punctuated by still moments. That wall of green has turned black for the night.


Bookart and Poetry in motion.

Stevie led a momentous session in automatic writing and not thinking. Brilliant.


Traditionally a typed and photocopied anthology of writing is put together on the final afternoon for all involved to keep for posterity. We realised that was not appropriate for this course, and challenged the group to produce seventeen leaves, with text and image, to be strung on a wire, as a momento for each and every one of us.


Miraculous and splendid piles of paper leaves.


After wonderfully individual presentations in the barn on our final night, we sang songs and drank wine.

I hope the glow sticks.


Here is Arvon’s copy of our leaf anthology in situ.


Outside the tutor’s cottage on the last morning; this piece of bookart!

Bacon and egg breakfasts were the key to our happiness. Stevie Ronnie does a fine fry up. THANK YOU to the team at Lumb Bank and to my lovely friends in Hebden Bridge!

Paper Navigations in Amsterdam!


Adventurous paper lovers travelled from all around the world for the Paper Navigations workshop in Amsterdam. Book artists from America, Canada, Denmark, Sweden and the UK gathered at The Lloyd Hotel to explore geographical and bookish delights.


The city was sparkling in thirty degree heat as I prepared the goody bags.


Collating all the map/Dutch/paper paraphernalia specially amassed.


This was our splendid platform studio space for the five day bookart workshop – Here we are having a tea break…


We began with florescent folds. (I LOVE Hema’s stationery department!)


Of course i had maxed out on my luggage allowance, mostly with books and paper…. Thankfully Flow Magazine sent a huge box of delights for us to play with, directly to the hotel.


It was an honour to welcome Ben and Kieke from Elbel Libro who raise the bar of fine bookbinding with humour and style. Their leather-clad metal scorer is a very covetable object.


Any workshop about mapping and charting in Amsterdam has to include a boat trip around the canals of course. Erick picked us up from the Lloyd Hotel and chugged us happily in a balmy circumnavigation of the city’s waterways.


Our first retail outing was navigating to the little jewel of a boutique – Thuyskamer – to pick up these fab rubber stamps by Monica Perez Vega.


And then to the ultimate stamps shop: Posthumus Winkel.


Heaven eh? (And we’re shaping up plans for a sealing wax demo next year…)


Susanne created this bright spread of our week.


Kerstin stayed up late one evening painting a charming concertina of Dutch gables.


It was satisfying to bind maps using the ingenious ‘Flip Flap’ Hedi Kyle structure I learnt in the summer from Cristina Balbiano D’Aramengo.


Teresa embellished her binding with Netherlands postage stamps, washi tape and thread.


Sandy’s wrap-a-round book using canal house wrapping paper as the cover is exquisite.


And Oolie found the perfect use for a classic vintage label.


These chaps at Vligher patiently packaged up the pile treasures we accumulated. Wowing paper lovers since 1869.


Peggy worked out how to produce a graphic representation of her life map having dislocated her shoulder. Ouch. She gets the Paper Navigations Medal for Practical Stoicism.


The detail in Paula’s intricate and charming cut outs was amazing.


I love Ali’s style. Layering texture.


We bound a lot of books!


Aren’t these cute?


Our Saturday afternoon treat was a trip to Like Stationery, where we were welcomed with another goody bag. How kind!


Followed by an essential paying-of-respects to the legendary Amsterdam bookart institution Boekie Woekie.


The daily breakfast buffet set The Travelling Bookbinder up deliciously.


First thing on Monday – a mission to the flea market at Noordermarkt.


Nobody left empty-handed. Obscure and wonderful objects were acquired. I spent the entire visit rifling through a box of old postcards, whittling down a selection to….eighty four images of Amsterdam. Win.


The peak of our creations is a composite book made of Turkish map folds. What incredible sculptural qualities!


We got inky; experimenting with an Automatic Pen.


On Sunday afternoon we trammed along to the wonderful edifice that is Amsterdam Central Library. This is the magical children’s section. Doesn’t it make reading tempting?


Views from the top floor enabled us to get our bearings with a bird’s eye view of boats, buildings and spires.


Everyone wrote flowing text across the map pages. The words all related to personal geographies.


Blending pattern and poetry.


The grand-finale-show-and-tell was illuminating. What a pleasure to see such happy satisfaction.

I am very grateful to Irene Smit and Marjolijn Polman from Flow Magazine for joining the celebrations and generously bringing hard-to-find International editions to share.


Thank you Suzanne Oxenaar, Artistic Director of The Lloyd Hotel, for capturing this smiling group shot.


Some of the tag-testimonials.

It was a joy to unfold Paper Navigations with a group of such talented explorers, open to developing their artistic journey. Heartfelt thanks to all who set sail on this paper voyage with me.

INSET Day Paper Sculpture


This splendid collection of pop-ups shows the level of commitment that Bishop Road Primary gives to books.

Two years ago, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, (who supplied the inspiration of volumes above) suggested my services to the bibliophile head teacher, and I taught forty-five teachers how to make bookart.


Last week I took on the challenge of teaching the teachers how to create paper sculpture.


Everyone got a goody bag!


We created a Paper Sculpture Tool Kit.


So many ways to manipulate the most available of materials!


After experimenting with techniques all morning, they rose to the challenge of producing a pop-up sculptural alphabet.


I wish i could show you them all – they were amazing.


A – Z spiral.


Ingenious constructions: Three-dimensional letters in a three-dimensional book.


Didn’t they do well?


…i didn’t have favourites but…

THANK YOU to Bishop Road Primary and The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop!

I LOVE teaching all sorts of people in all kinds of places how to do bookish things with paper. Get in touch if you’d like me to work with you.

Studio Time Cornwall


Why is it that the night before you’re due to go away, your home is suddenly perfect? For the first time, this place was tidier than ever due to a photoshoot with The Simple Things magazine.


Thoughts of Edinburgh disappeared as I whizzed from Bristol to Penzance on the Cornish Riviera Express with GWR, past mudflats and hidden coves…


…across the Royal Albert Bridge and all the boats.


In Sue Lewington’s studio, we immediately set to, folding paper, sharing ideas and catching up with new structures. The binding formally known as The Secret Belgian is Sue’s new favourite.


I made a small series (for the Paper Navigations workshop) using a specially-saved west coast map.


The cut-off cover corners are too good to throw away; I’ve got into the habit of constructing little collages with them.


Oh what joy to be re-acquainted with the stationery corner of the newly-expanded No.56…plenty of temptations.


And further down Chapel Street, the re-located (thank god) Newlyn Books, for fine browsing and purchasing.


The other side of Captain Cutter’s House continues a bibliophile’s delight. Endpaper stocks Esme Winter and Ola Studio papers, alongside these adorable lead animals.


Getting inky back in the studio, with Parker Quink on thick cotton-rich Bockingford paper.


Cutting boards, spines and gauge for the covers.


Inky hues.


Autumn Dusk. Finished limited edition.


Barton Books is a welcome addition to the Penzance booklover’s scene.


While I was binding (and shouting at the radio…The Archers….) Sue was drawing bookshelves in preparation for her exhibition “Real Lives: History, Memory, Imagination” at the Cornish Studies Library.


She has documented the fantastic archives at the Cornwall Records Office.


It’s a splendid installation – on until the end of September in Redruth.


I couldn’t miss the opportunity for a salt water dip in the Jubilee Pool. This 1930s wonder has had a splendid season, having been shut since the storm damage of February 2014. Read a bit about the history…


….and dive in!


I’m so grateful for the chance to travel, retreat and create.


Picking up speed on departure from Penzance, waving at hazy St Micheal’s Mount, accelerating north.

If YOU would like to come on a PaperLove adventure with me, without leaving home, then sign up for this month’s newsletter at www.rachelhazell.com to be the first to hear details of October’s e-course.

Learning Loose + Simple Bindings: Sweden


And also the Leksand Academy (…the untranslatable ‘folkhögskola’ in Swedish.)


Love hearts for mid-summer.

You don’t need me to tell you how important it is to keep learning, and so I have returned all topped up, creative well over-flowing, after a week of hardcore bookbinding. It is such a privilege to be taught by the best, and Cristina Balbiano D’Aramengo is a superlative bookbinder, driven to create and develop ingenious structures. The Loose and Simple Bindings 1 workshop is an intense treat for book artists.


Leksand Academy is set by a wide lake.


My temporary home for the week.


Funky lampshades in the canteen. Isn’t this a great idea? Get folding paperlovers!


We started with these three-dimensional brain-teasing puzzles…


and worked through many clever ways of slotting, sewing and folding.


This is a work-in-progress shot of a Crown Book.

Several of the structures are inspired by Hedi Kyle, Carmencho Arregu and Cor Aerssens.


Here’s a practice Fish Bone book. So sculptural and elegant!


Another Fish Bone book in progress.


The bindery is fabulous: Well laid out and well equipped. Every evening after dinner, a few of us returned to practice and play. What a valuable time.


Thank goodness for the opportunity to visit Djura Bok and stock up on exquisite papers and binding goodies!


Unfortunately I didn’t schedule-in a session here – it’s the TV room in our house at Leksand Academy – peeking in is like stepping back into the past.


Finding pleasure in simple things.


An Interlocking Loops book.


Extremely difficult to choose from the threads and ribbons at Sätergläntan; another essential fixture to fit in while at Leksand.


All too soon it was over, but a few heavenly days with Kerstin (an original PaperLove e-course alumni) softened the blow.


She taught me how to do this! A Secret Belgian Binding. I can’t wait to do more!


She also introduced me to the splendiferous Rum For Papper in Gothenburg.


And understood that i’d appreciate pausing here at the Antikvariat Rode Orm.


Kerstin multi-tasks at a distinguished job, and as bookartist, paperlover and co-owner of Stenlia stables, where this Icelandic horse is queen. I was very taken with her eyelashes.


We walked and talked (and I stopped to capture the most architectural of post-box rows.)


Sitting on the verandah with K and B, discussing books, politics, ethics and breakfast as the evening fades to dusk and dark. How lucky to be a Travelling Bookbinder with such friends!


Packing after a week of acquisitions is always a challenge. The bedroom floor is a scaled down version of this scene; a photograph by Gunnar Lundh in a book about Malmo picked up at that second hand bookshop mentioned above…

If you ever get the chance to do Loose and Simple Bindings; Jump at it.

Check out Professione Libro for details of other tempting binding workshops.

Many thanks to Cristina, Kerstin, Bosse, Leksand Academy and brilliant bench-buddy Eva Hejdstrom.



Oh Nantucket! Island Bookart


The Travelling Bookbinder was beside herself waiting for the ferry to Nantucket.

It was a speedy smooth crossing, which blew fresh island dreams in my face.


Nearly every house has cedar shingles…..Wouldn’t a couple make fine book covers?


 Whaling heritage is everywhere.


What a spectacular welcome from the Atheneum Library’s book making group! Each and every one of them was so generous with their knowledge and gifts.


Bee Shay, my wonderful host, was teaching botanical printing at the Lighthouse School and invited me along. Aren’t these spectacular?


Nantucketers have a thing about baskets. This is a nest of lightship baskets. Originally crafted by boat crew for their sweethearts. The fancy ones have ivory lids.

The book group gave me one packed with precious parcels:


Including a treasured coptic bound scallop shell book by Cow Luv.


Here is Bee’s collection. Well one of her collections…there are beautiful vignettes all around her house.


My first official engagement was a lecture at The Atheneum Library: Notes From The Travelling Bookbinder.

These evocative paintings are at the other end of The Great Hall from the podium.

Only afterwards did i discover the illustrious list of previous lecturers included: Maria Mitchell, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

I was very impressed by the comfiness of the chairs.


Nantucket has two fabulous independent book shops. The following evening i offered a folding bookart workshop upstairs at Mitchell’s Book Corner. It was hard not to be distracted by the assortment of tempting titles.


We got down to self-publishing with the barest of materials.


Producing elegantly minimalist found poetry.


Young’s Bike Shop is the only place to rent a bike on Nantucket. They also provide jeeps, which are the ideal vehicle for visiting Great Point. How lucky was I to get a tour with Harvey Young himself?


We foraged for shore line treasure. This driftwood sculpture would not fit in my ziploc bag.


Thanks to Harvey I turned into a birder. We spotted: Cormorants, Piping Plover pair, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Eastern King Bird, Harrier Hawk, Osprey, Oyster catcher, Great Black-Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Bank Swallows, Sanderling, Greater Yellow Leg, Tree Swallow, American Robin, Crow, Turkey Vulture and this Royal Tern hanging out with a young gull.


Back to paper love: Preparing goody bags for the Atheneum Library Book Making Group.


Playing with the theme Shore to Shore, we made books inspired by the links between the isles of Nantucket and Iona. Contour lines and watery words filled the pages.


I was honoured to be given access to the librarian’s exclusive restroom facilities. This is the key!


One gorgeous early morning Bee took me to Sconset to take the Bluff Walk.


Ah it was glorious!


I copied Bee taking pictures of the plant silhouettes!


Every house was extraordinary – this one was my favourite.


Back to the village for some garden admiring. Er not just the gardens. Let’s face it, there is a lot of enviable real estate along this bit of coast.


A sneaky shot of the Sconset Post Offices post boxes. Apparently it is not the done thing to photograph these beguiling compartments.


As a total challenge, i left my safe papery envelope and went to learn how to crochet a mini tote bag with Julie Cashin at jewel of a yarn emporium Flock. Good fun. Challenging. Entertaining.

I gave Sheila a ball of Iona wool to play with….

All too soon it was the last day already. The book group (What a team!) had been banging on about how great the Nantucket dump is…


So we arranged to meet there, at the Take It Or Leave It department at nine-thirty on Sunday morning. Eagle eyes instantly focused. It was every book lover for herself…. Actually Carol brought doughnuts (- the best DownyFlake doughnuts) the sun shone…It was incredible: There was a constant stream of items coming and going; boxes of striped beach towels, a bicycle, garden tools, a chest of drawers, a tyrannosaurus rex, lamps, plates…


exquisite spines…too many to describe.

Now the book group has augmented it’s supply of re-purposable tomes and I got to choose one, just one, to bring home:


Godey’s Lady’s Book from 1861. Containing such gems as embroidery patterns, etiquette on how to ‘adorn’ oneself, moral advice and the latest fashions….


Oh i don’t want to leave! One more splash in the outdoor shower please.

The whale latch is just the kind of detail Lowell puts into his work.


Leaving Nantucket. (With a consolation morning bun from Wicked Island Bakery, which still makes my mouth water to think of it.)

Massive thanks to Bee and Lowell for their generous hospitality and gorgeous house.

Huge thank-yous to all at the Atheneum Library, Mitchell’s Book Corner, Flock and Young’s Bicycle Shop.

Most of all thank you Liz Kelly for responding to my newsletter with an invitation – this wouldn’t have happened without you!


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