Bespoke Handmade Book: ‘Looking Down’


Given that my paid employment involves handling hundreds of books every week in a public library, it isn’t surprising that book creation is part of my favourite hobby, and is a great way to curate a collection of photos. Over the years I have used Blurb’s and Mixbook’s online on-demand print services, and been very happy with the process and results of each – it’s a method that satisfies my craving for a professional-looking product, and I particularly enjoy the design element.

At other times, a bespoke, handmade book is even more fun, particularly for giving on special occasions. On the occasion of a friend’s recent retirement, I created a tiny concertina book, Looking Down: photographs by Melanie Y’lang, that fits inside a vintage hinged cigarette tin; the tin forms the cover and protects the book entirely, while providing a firm structure for sitting it on a shelf as a sculptural object.

It was a fun and therapeutic process, from measuring up the tin and creating a design on my computer, to printing the pages on watercolour paper with my Epson printer and assembling the book. And best of all, my friend loves it!


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