It was the Creative Ouseburn weekend. I had had a difficult couple of weeks. The sky looked black in the Ouseburn Valley as I headed to the 36 Lime Street gallery where Theresa Easton was doing an informal drop-in book-making workshop.
One adult and three children sat around the table with her, busy working on their creations. I only hesitated briefly when she invited me to join them. I ended up staying for the rest of the afternoon, cutting and sticking bits of paper and chatting. The storm was happening outside. Inside, it was calm and as cosy as such a white space can be. I don’t remember ever making such a book before, although I did make little handmade books as a child when I played ‘Libraries.’
I started off not knowing what I wanted to do. I picked a packet of paper (Theresa had lots from which we could choose) and I ‘cheated’ a little by using pieces that other people hadn’t used from their packets. What turned out to be interesting in mine were fragments of poetry. It was the sort of poetry that I might have ignored if I had seen the whole book of it, but having these scraps made me read it and think about it. I started to see how the fragments of poetry could work with the other bits of paper. As I juxtaposed some of the elements, I realised that I was creating something that was about that part of the steep-sided Lower Ouseburn Valley that afternoon, with the pounding rain and thunder mingling with the sound of the Metro and trains crossing the valley on the great viaducts. The roses and elders were in flower, and the sky was an inky black. The fragments of poetry also seemed to say something about me.
The book is not finished as I speak. I need more materials to finish the secret interior book, the one you find when you unfold the book. I think I know what goes in there, in addition to the remaining two parings of poetry.
Now I want glue, more materials, and to make more artist’s books… If you get a chance to go to one of Theresa’s workshops, do go. She’s a lovely person as well as talented.