My latest project is a miniature edition of Folger ms Xd 234, also known as “a spell to bind the seven sisters of the fairies to you for ever” which you can see in its original glory here on the Folger website. It’s actually four spells to bind seven fairies, and cheekily to bind one in particular to your bed (to which those of us acquainted with fairyland and all of its inhabitants say good luck!). In any case, there are seven named fairies so I’m making seven books. They measure approximately 3 inches high by 2 inches wide, and they are tricky little devils to bind, which is as it should be.
The first step was sewing the signatures, although each of my signatures is actually only a folio. The book only has twenty-four pages but I was determined to give it a traditional binding so onto the sewing frame it went. And then, because these are fairies we’re talking about, the endpapers I had chosen to use simply vanished. I had them in my hand one day and the next day they were gone. Clearly the fairies had other ideas, and I was pretty sure I knew what they wanted.
What they wanted was a one-of-a-kind endpaper marbled by the esteemed Jemma Lewis. I choose one of her Stormont designs and have photographed the paper, but of course a photo doesn’t do it justice. Her work is magnificent. I was right, too. The paper arrived in the post, and stayed where I put it until I was ready to use it.
Once the endpapers were on it was time to give the text block a final trim. I had a good laugh when I put the tiny book in the plough and saw how ridiculous that idea was. You have to try, though, right? In the end I used a scalpel.
Next, the endbands.
Then lacing on the boards.
Please ignore that tragic example of an Oxford hollow. This was my test copy so I was trying a few different things as I went. Once I sorted that out I put on the cover, and then finished off the head and tail.
All in all, this little test copy took a beating, but it came out all right in the end.
I’m still debating whether to do an inlay or a gold stamp on the cover, and the final edition will have ribbons onto which a magnifying glass will be tied. For now I just have to find the time to finish the seven, which are all sewn and mostly ready to be covered and pressed.
One of these days I should probably tidy up, too, or I might lose one of the books in the mess.