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.



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