It has been a bit quiet in my bookbinding life, because I have travelled a lot, rested my hands a lot, and gardened a lot. There’s this little planner booklet that I am making for myself that I can share anyway. I mainly want to use it as a low effort tool for self discovery and mood tracking, but figured I might as well put a simple calendar in too.
It seems one can actually achieve quite a lot without remembering fuckall about how to work with InDesign. “It’s good enough for folk music” is my current motto for everything in life. I haven’t really even decided the final size or shape yet. I want the booklet to have an aura of comfort and inspiration, so now I’m putting cute stock photos of plants in it as well.
The Gospels of Abba Garima, an illuminated gospel book in two volumes written on vellum in the Ge'ez language and preserved in the Abba Garima Monastery east of Adwa, in the Mehakelegnaw Zone of the Tigray Region of northern Ethiopia, were, according to legend, written and partly illuminated by the Ethiopian missionary Abbu Garima, who is thought to have arrived in Ethiopia in 494 CE. Most outside scholars and scientists previously agreed that the gospels, based on Garima’s teachings, were written centuries after his death, probably by priests in the tenth century. However recent radiocarbon dating carried out at Oxford University suggested a date between 330 and 650 CE for their creation, opening the possibility that the gospels were actually created by Abba Garima. If the Abba Garima Gospels date from the time of Abba Garima (circa 500), they are possibly the earliest surviving illuminated Christian manuscripts.
“The survival of the Garima Gospels is astonishing, since all other early Ethiopian manuscripts seem to have been destroyed during turbulent times. Very little is known about the history of the Abba Garima Monastery, but it may have been overrun in the 1530s by Muslim invaders. More recently, in 1896, the area was at the centre of resistance to Italian forces. The monastery’s main church was destroyed by fire in around 1930.
“The survival of the Garima Gospels may have been due to the fact that they were hidden, perhaps for centuries or even for more than a millennium. The hiding spot may have been forgotten, and it could have been rediscovered by chance in relatively modern times.
“In 1520, Portugues chaplain Francisco Álvarez visited the monastery and recorded that there was a cave (now lost or destroyed), where Abba Garima was reputed to have lived. Álvarez reported that the monks would descend into it by ladder to do penance. Although speculation, it is possible that the Gospels may have been hidden in this cave” (http://ethiopianheritagefund.org/artsNewspaper.html, accessed 07-10-2010).
In 2007 the English binder and restorer Lester Capon did a partial restoration of bindings of the Abba Garima Gospels and wrote about it with great photos in the Skin Deep blog of leather manufacturers J. Hewit & Sons under the title of Extreme Bookbinding.
Here’s a nice post on Lester Capon and the Ethiopian gospels, in case someone hasn’t read the article.
Some bookshoppe news for a change: there is a little sale going on this weekend, and some of the smaller items also ship free. My shoppe will stay closed in December, so make sure to order before the 30th of November!
Since I don’t know what is going on with Tumblr’s link policy right now, you can find the shoppe by looking at my blog’s home page. Hint: it’s veterok at Etsy.
Welcome to my solo show in Pori, Finland. There will be some artist books, book sculpture and graphite drawings. The vernissage is on September 21st, and the exhibition is open until the 11th of October. Printmaker and artist Heta Pöyry has an exhibition in the other room of the gallery.
Yesterday I finished binding a book for the upcoming Finnish exhibition of Knyga/Book, based on a Lithuanian classic Metai, or The Seasons.
Here are some last minute illustrations that I made for my binding, and a picture of the book in progress. The binding has ten original illustrations, depicting scenes of birds - the national bird white stork - and various traditional folk designs which are drawn with red ink.
This book will be exhibited somewhere in Helsinki later this year, and you’re welcome to see it when the call is published.
Here are some recent tarot pouches from my shoppe. I make them regularly again, but they tend to sell fast so I also take requests for custom pouches. Most of them are made of upcycled leather and they accommodate a standard Smith-Waite deck nicely, with a bit of extra room. Due to the recycled and found materials, they are all unique. (x)
During the class, Tulvi also gave a short general lecture on early East Mediterranean codices, which I found very interesting as well. It is always a delight to learn something new about old things. Here are some notes.
A few weeks ago I travelled some and attended a class on this binding, taught by Estonian bookbinder and conservator Tulvi-Hanneli Turo. The Glazier Codex is a small manuscript dated to 4th-5th century, written in Middle-Egyptian dialect of Coptic language. It has wooden boards, leather ties and a large illustration of crux ansata, or ankh, on its last page.
This model has oak boards, which I attached by several strips of leather. Two wider, quite long leather pieces were cut into V shape and likewise attached by bringing them through the boards and pasting. It is good to note how the ties, when wrapped around the book, form a cross shape. The original Codex Glazier is pocket size. For the sake of sanity, we made it a bit larger.