The photos I am showing here are relatively bad – sorry about that. They were taken by artificial light late on March 18th when I had finished the booklet, just before wrapping it for shipment. It was the last time it was handled with love. It is a Nag Hammadi style pamphlet with 40 pages. The leather was a beautifully soft, brown and un-dyed lamb leather.
The pages were an ivory colored rag paper, with wet-torn deckle edges . The pages A8 sized, the whole book was about 5cm x 7.5cm small (about 2″ x 3″). It was made as part of a proposal for a possible commission that I received last month. He wanted something durable, that can be worn in a pocket for ages without being destroyed. So this was my solution. I honestly still think it does everything he asked for.
He writes: “I tested for pen and pencil writing, tear resistance, and ability to withstand erasers. The paper is OK for my pen and pencil, but failed the other tests. I would have done more testing, but the paper was really too fragile.” – I think the paper is especially tear resistant, and you can actually use an eraser on it, but in the end it is paper, of course. Further down his message I had to read: “I tested the leather binding, and found that is was also quite fragile.”
I cannot imagine what he did to this actually very robust construction. I feel sick just thinking about it. And I don’t want to go into more detail.
It is hard for me to say what makes this so horrible for me. I mean, I think it is a legitimate question to ask how durable my books are, and also test it. And I do believe this book would have withstood lifelong use. But not brutal acts of violence and abuse. Of course you can rip a book apart if you really want to…
It is totally o.k. for me that it is just not what he wanted. But the image of this book being torn apart is haunting me.