Being a bookseller, I'm fortunate to meet the unique and inspiring individuals who walk through our doors. It's even more fortunate when these people become friends; and all through a shared love of books. Be it the quiet hill-walker who loves MacCaig; the young feminist looking for the next revolution; or the effervescent book artist sharing an exciting new arty adventure: books have made me friends will people from all walks of life.
Said book artist happens to be none other than Edinburgh's very own Rachel Hazell: celebrated creator of luscious, got-to-touch papery things. Not only is Rachel's bubbly personality infectious - her passion for all things books is too. Discovering Rachel Hazell is something akin to discovering buried treasure. She is the mighty spade with which you dig out the glittering trove of ideas you didn't know you had.
Having previously studied English literature at Edinburgh University, followed by Masters in both book art at London College of the Arts and and printmaking at Edinburgh College of Art, Rachel contributes a vast knowledge and acute understanding of the subject to the process of bookmaking. This, along with her talent and enthusiasm, makes it impossible not to want to join in the fun!
It was at a bookmaking session that Rachel did for the Society of Young Publishers that I truly began to appreciate the work that goes into making a book. From conception to creation, Rachel nurtured ideas (and encouraged less-than-nimble thumbs) to create little pockets of paper imagination. I learned that silent narrative flows in all forms: from me to the page; pencil to grain; beginning to end; and from producer to reader. The simple act of turning a page tells a story.
The workshop was highly valuable to the budding publishers whom it was held for. Be it editorial, production or design that held their interest, each person found unique insights from the experience of making their own book.
Rachel has now transcended the digital barrier to the physical book and runs a popular e-course from her website, so no matter where you are you can enjoy this fascinating process - straight from the guru herself.
It's no surprise that I work in a bookshop that dedicates it's collection to the aesthetic of the book! I wish the world were full of people like Rachel Hazell - seeing the book for what it is: a true art form.