On the 4th of October we have been divided in two groups and taken to visit different workshops. My group headed to the London Centre for Book Arts. It was a very good team bonding exercise as we had to put our efforts together in order to find the place in time for the presentation. It was also a good workout because we have decided to walk rather than take a bus from the Mile End station, it took us good 40 mins to walk from there. By the way, all I did is follow the group as my sense of directions is shocking and If I was the leader we would be still walking around looking for it until now. We got there in the end.
We have been greeted by Simon who must’ve been overwhelmed by the number of chatty females that invaded the place. He introduced us to the facilities that London Centre for Book Arts holds and also explained in more details how one of the proofing machines works.
No pressure Simon, there are only few student paparazzi trying to snap a picture of you holding the example of what proofing machine can do.
And here is the star of the day: The Proofing Machine itself.
We had a chance to interview one of the students (picture above) who was working there at the time. Sorry I have a goldfish memory so didn’t catch her name but she has been working there for few months only. She is a graphic designer and spends few hours in the studio per week working independently. She loves the atmosphere in the studio, even though everyone works on their own projects, she can get an advice and help from everyone that is there in the studio. The facilities are sustainable for what she needs. One health and safety advice that she has given us and I will definitely take on board, it is to tie your hair up when you are using the equipment, especially the proofing machine, as there has been an incident where someone’s hair got caught up in the roller. The equipment they are using has to be used with special care and also respect as the machines are quite old.
We also had a sneak peek of work made by Merike Estna organised by WOT NO. I have explored their website http://www.londonbookarts.org/ in order to find out more about the exhibition.
Another equipment that we have been introduced to in more detail is the Typecase. Each drawer has been organised so well that as a clumsy person I was too scared to even look at it and I wouldn’t even dare to touch it.
It is amazing that regarding its age it’s still in such a good shape.
People have gone through a lot of effort to put everything in order. If you happened to mess something up here are the instructions to follow in order to fix it.
Here are only few examples of the books created in the studio. I was impressed with the box because it was so precise that I don’t think my shaky hand could create such an accurate thing.
This whole visit was very refreshing for me, informative and definitely inspirational. It is good to know what sort of facilities are available to us. I could imagine myself working in this studio as this is my type of environment. When I was a lot younger I used to love sneaking into my dad’s garage and making my own doll houses and wood covers for books. This studio made me feel like I am back home with the facilities and the atmosphere. It does trigger your imagination and inspires you to create your own book.
The London Centre for Book Arts offers a wide range of workshops and discounted membership London Met students so if anyone is interested here is the link to their website. I have also included link to Merike Estna’s website in case you want to explore more of her work.