Since each of us was several, there was quite a crowd. Here we have made use of everything that came within range, what was closest as well as fartherest away. (Deleuze & Guattari, in the introduction to A Thousand Plateaus, 3)

Sunday, November 8, 2009


A month or so ago a friend asked me if I would re-bind a favourite book of nursery rhymes which had belonged to her son, now father of a daughter, her grand-daughter. The book duly arrived and I spent the next month fearful my inexperience in the art of re-binding books would damage what was obviously a book of great personal value. Yet the book itself was in need of repair: it lacked a spine and the covers were falling off. So I went ahead, first dismantling the book then repairing the individual pages and stitching them back together using teal-coloured linen bookbinding thread (why use cream thread when it is a children's book and the teal seemed to match the illustrations!). When I reassembled the pages and found I had reversed pages 21 and 22, I vacillated over whether to correct my mistake (which would mean re-cutting and turning the pages potentially damaging them further) but ended up leaving them as they were (reassured by an email leaving the decision up to me). I made the casing out of green buckram book-cloth--similar to the original--and finally a dust cover.

The whole process was a joyful one, the book is full of full of rhymes, some I remember from my childhood and some I don't, and the illustrations by Helen Oxenbury are quirky.

Why am I including it here--well, it started me thinking what connects/binds us?
Friendship, time and place, interests, personal story/the stories we tell and, in terms of this project: institutions (asylum/prison/notions of home) the edge of a quilt is bound, so are we.
Details of the book: "Cake and Custard" Children's rhymes chosen by Brain Alderson and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, published by Heinemann: London, 1974
Images: Top right: book re-bound, top left: dismantling the book

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