Janina Maher is one of our new tutors at Ardington. An international water skiing champion in her other life, Janina has achieved instant popularity with our students who rave over her patience, detailed knowledge and their ability to create some really beautiful work in her workshops.
Janina’s most recent workshop saw students making up two large pieces of ‘vegetarian leather’ to use to cover their hand-made books. This is actually made from curing strong brown paper, building-in texture through crumpling and soaking, colouring it with special inks and then finishing the whole ‘skin’ with an acrylic wax. The effect was a luscious mock leather which was really strong; students made enough to cover several books. To see all the different coloured results hanging up to dry in the Back Workshop was a feast for the eyes. Muted reds, browns, greens, greys, blues – gorgeous! And no animals were harmed in the making process.
By lunchtime, the vegetarian leather was ready to use and work had begun in earnest on preparing the hard back covers, covering them in the vegetarian leather, pressing them, and preparing the pages to go inside the book. Students chose hinges, beads and threads to complement their creations, and hand-stitched the pieces together into books. Beads were the final trim to some of the books, to give a flourish to the finished works.
The results were stunning, and these types of finished articles make great gifts. Each of the students had a different destiny in mind for their digest. Some would be filled with calligraphy, some for sketching. Others were making them as gifts for wedding guests signatures, photographs or recipes. One student decided to keep hers just for herself, to keep favourite bits of poetry and song lyrics to hand.
Janina will be running lots more creative hand-made book courses for Ardington in future, and is one of our guest tutors at this year’s Winter Fair (Sunday 25th November 2018).