Writing with Thread

Hannah Brown is a bookbinder from London. "She specializes in fine bookbinding and other bespoke commissioned works.  She works with a variety of materials and found objects, creating unique and hand-crafted pieces from scratch."

This project was a commission Hannah received a few years ago. She was asked to choose a book from a selection and she chose Gwasg Gregynog's, "Wrenching Times", which is a book published in 1991 containing wood engravings by Gaylord Schanilec and a selection of Walt Whitman's poems, chosen by M.Wynn Thomas, all which were originally featured in Whitman's 1865 publication "Drum-Taps".

Hanna researched Whitman and came across notes from a diary Whitman had kept when he was visiting army hospitals during the Civil War. These writings inspired her to use words as imagery on the cover of the book.

She decide to incorporate one of Schalilec's images from the book, combined with the words of Whitman about a night scene, to create the cover design.

"The image inspired the choice of colours for the cover which was made up of scarf-jointed and blue leather, with purple and yellow highlights." 

Sample Board


After creating her sample board Hannah decided to change the layout:


"After the leather had been scarf-jointed and the onlays glued and back-pared, it was prepared for the embroidery. The words were drawn out on tracing paper, which was then laid down in the correct place over the covering leather. Holes were pricked using a needle pricker, through the leather onto some foam." 

"The words were embroidered using a variety of stitches, largely running stitch and whipping stitch, plus French knots for the dotting the i’s and the full stops! In order to make the leather more manageable whilst embroidering, I rolled and temporarily fixed the leather into a coil using bulldog clips."

Hanna also created doublures, which are ornamental linings on the inside of a book.


Both covers open

She also created a "padauk wood box was made for the binding, designed to tie in with the endpapers. The colour of the wood was chosen to contrast with the blacks and blues, yet to match with the tones of other wood cut prints in the book." 

Bow hinged & lined with felt

From her website:
"Hannah wants her bindings to be appreciated for their relation to the content of the book inside whilst creating a tactile object to be handled and used.  She is continually stimulated by the environment around her, she has many ideas and finds herself continually thinking ahead to her next binding."


(Via han-made bookbinding)