Still in the spirit of tidying and finishing, I spent the weekend finally getting round to finishing the cover for a sketchbook I started in January.
Not really the season for it, admittedly, although the temperature and rainfall recently have definitely not been typical of any kind of summer I understand.
This is a sketchbook containing studies of a long cloth I was going to make, inspired by a fragment of eighteenth century ivory silk brocade. Somewhere along the way, the sketchbook became more of a thing than the cloth for which it was supposed to be a study. One of us lost our way a little, I think. The cloth was going to be something along the lines of samples of a ‘fantasticall costume’ that might have been presented to the Winter Queen by her tailor. It was going to take the form of a band sampler – a form that fascinates me, and something I will certainly work with at some point. Band samplers are the older form of sampler, and typically measured something like 8″ x 23″-ish. Worked in horizontal strips, they pre-date the more square ‘alphabet + cross-stitched house’ form by a couple of hundred years. They literally functioned as a portable sketchbook for stitchers in the 17th century. This is a good book on the subject, if you’re interested.
But back to the sketchbook. The front cover is just cloth, with no card or stiffener, so it remains pleasantly tactile when you open the book. The back cover is stretched over thick card to provide a firm base:
I always like to make a pocket on the inside of my sketchbook covers, which is useful for slotting in later additions, photographs, notes, etc. The pocket in this one is made from a piece of silk organza, so it remains partly transparent:
It’s always good to finish something, but then I’ve always believed that finishing is just another kind of starting. Maybe this coming winter might be this cloth’s time. In the meantime I have the last of the large ‘peace’ cloths to finish, as well as a couple of ‘in progress’ cloths for the shop. More of those later. Happy Monday!