making books

Books – the spiritual home of paper … paper must have had a similar effect as computers when it was first established – printing being on a par with the internet. All of a sudden information was freely available, people could read books and pamphlets and learn to think for themselves. Exploring magical and liberating text and pictures WOW ! …

Initially I used my own heavy papers to create interesting covers, for bought and recycled  inserts but recently I’ve started to make paper inserts with a vat of pulp and a deckle again. I have also found some interesting information on the internet about bookbinding and a particular favourite of the moment is weaving techniques using paper string.

I will only accept one downside to paper (well, two if you consider water) – although bendy, unlike leather or cloth, paper is easily torn and can disintegrate in water but now book spines and bendy bits can be made out of paper as well, woven paper string is just perfect.

Artist’s books are also popping up on my papery radar and this is an area I am really keen to delve into further, soooo … I think it’s a case of watch this space for more info on my next batch of papeterie …


techniques decorative additions concertina pages bendy bits



Collecting, secrets, special things … squirrelling it all away … An obvious (to me) starting point for making. Symondsbury board (explained in a separate post) is ideal for laminating onto recycled card for the construction of boxes, I’ve tried square, rectangular, tubular, hexagonal … hinged, jointed, loose lidded and with trays in! boxes have enduring enjoyment and making them is very satisfying. Knowing that someone new might find my boxes to be exactly what they want to put their own special treasure in.

Pebble shaped and tree trunk designs have been a long established theme, the “pebbles” are made by pressing wet pulp into bowl shaped moulds and drying. These”shells” are then fixed together with wet pulp that is carved into and sanded down to create very tactile pebble shapes. Most recently I’ve been working on “letter box pebbles” but “pebble boxes” and “bird box” designs are available as well.

I have a particular interest in working with people who are looking for special caskets for ashes and small burials, please contact me (through the contacts page) if you would be interested in commissioning a personalised casket.

pebble on pebble

wall art

I have always enjoyed hieroglyphics and lettering, recently exploring caligraphic marks and asemic writing, these areas are of interest as they rely on the mechanics of the mark, rather than any recognisable character to create impact. I am now working on a dynamic and colourful collection of rectangular wall pieces, using poured, pressed and polished paper.

Experimentation is always present in my work but certain techniques are now becoming recognisable and mono printing on my pressed boards has been very successful, inspiration for my print plates comes from nature, enjoying the views around my home and when I’m travelling … It is often branches and layers of foliage that really capture me … the shapes that are revealed between trunks and branches, swiftly cut through by another layer of vine, or stalk or frond …

Wall art comes in many different forms, I find I always have left overs and end bits from my making, these in themselves can inspire the basis for collage works that evolve and expand depending on what works together and which elements may be needed to tie an idea into a strong design.

pressed paper mark making decorative panels complimentary colours

symondsbury board

Symondsbury is a small village in West Dorset where I used to travel down to from Hampshire and later up to from Plymouth, to visit my Grandparents. I remember being out on a family walk in the lanes around the village, mum and dad were joking about having carved their initials into the sandstone bank and we, as children, went to find the evidence … some distance along, sure enough, twenty or more years later … a whole village worth of initials and messages carved in the sandstone still clearly telling stories of past lives.

My interest in mark making has endured from this quiet beginning. My inspiration was not just finding the marks that had been laid down all those years before, but the methods used to create them against the smooth, ancient, crumbly, golden surface, unique to my fathers old home.

As my interest in art and design expanded Lettering, Typography and print became my focus. Over time I started to work in a new way, it wasn’t enough to just think about the surface decoration, I realised the material I marked on was so important to me. Using paper as part of a composite mixture that I could run my hands through, manipulate, mould and then mark into, I realised that the sandstone banks with their nostalgic graffiti were bouncing back into my mind.

Now the sheets that I make, pressed onto acrylic, a mixture of paper and stiffeners, glues and emulsions, can be used for all manner of creative work and I call these sheets Symondsbury board.

thick thin bendy for making abstracts colour themes