Special projects require special attention.
Hungry Still is one of them, a daring retrospective of Slideluck London’s best slideshows in book form which mingle photography and recipes, a collection of both established and up and coming photographers presenting one of their series each and matching it with a special recipe related to the sequence.
A retrospective? A photobook? A compilation? A cookbook? All and none of them: 24 artists, different stories, recipes created especially for the book. The level of material is very high, as well as the responsability of having artists such Phillip Toledano, Cristina De Middel, Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb.
The challenge was on: we had a couple of months to figure out the book project, design the book, make a print run, bind and deliver in time for the Slideluck retrospective at Quad in Derby the 15th of March, within the program of the Format Festival.
There’s no muse as inspiring as a short deadline.
In addition, we wanted to make a one-of-a-kind copy of the book to be shown at the opening. Handmade and curated in every detail, this copy will travel through the upcoming openings and events related to Hungry Still.
Choices choices choices
Why did we choose to use this particular binding and what shaped the cover art?
The use of the book gave us some preliminary directions, here’s some of the “limitations” that helped us shape the one of a kind book in its present form.
It is one of a kind.
It is a bit of brick with its 212 pages.
The internal layout was made with PUR binding in mind.
The book will be handled frequently at openings and exhibitions.
Since the book is quite hefty with its 212 pages and it was bound to be handled often, we chose a non-adhesive binding.
One of the reasons is that if either some of the pages, the cover or the binding itself would be damaged, we can easily fix it, replacing pages or thread without having the hassle of the glue.
The cover is heavy and resistant: even if the Longstitch is supposed to be a “limp” binding, we managed to adapt it to a 1250 micron board.
The board is hand-painted with acrylic: it’s a very resistant paint and when applied by hand it can achieve a good textural contrast.
We could have used screen printing for the cover but burning the screen for one copy only is as time consuming as painting the title by hand.
To better show the handmade quality of the book we first opted for an exposed spine sewing, but at the same time we were limited by the layout itself: we could have used coptic binding but it would have shown the borders of the signatures on the spine, so the naked signatures could have been messy.
This led us to employ the variation of Long Stitch through slotted wrapper cover: you can see the thread but not the borders of the signatures.
It’s a sturdy, non-adhesive old fashioned binding with a modern twist, it doesn’t require an even number of signatures (we had 7) nor “professional” bookbinding material and I have to say it’s quite attractive when used on thick books.
This is a bit tricky, I had to be quite careful because any error at any moment would have required to bin the whole thing and start again from scratch.
The cover is made with 1250 microns mounting board, first of all it was cut to measure with the pages, adding space for the thick spine.
Then I scored the lines around the spine with a bonefolder: not too thin or it will crack, not too thick or it will look funny. Once the lines are scored the cover is ready to be carefully folded.
Painting the cover:
I used some heavy-bodied acrylic black paint mixed with gloss medium to give some shine since it was a black on black affair, I used the old carbon paper (black, not blue!) trick to outline the lettering, then I proceeded to carefully fill the outline with a small brush (it’s around size 0). Once I was done with the fine details I used a bigger brush to fill the fields.
Acrylic has a nice materic appearance when laid out thick, I used it to show the vertical strokes.
Next I proceeded to cut the slits through which the thread will pass thus securing the signatures to the spine.
A Swann Morton scalpel is your best friend when doing some precise work like this, these babies are also used for surgery so I suggest to treat these extremely sharp blade with respect and awe.
The next task for the Swann Morton was to dig the inset for the slide to be attached on the back.
The idea of attaching an actual slide on the cover was one of the first ideas we had while talking with Maria Teresa of Slideluck.
The slide is part of the Slideluck logo but having it on the cover of the trade edition was soon dismissed for technical difficulties … so for the one-of-a-kind we gave it another shot.
I incised the board for about 1/8 of the thickness, peeled the black stratum first and then digging deeper with woodcarving tools, being careful not to remove too much of the core material.
Then the slide’s window was cut.
The slide wasn’t glued in position until the end, there was a possibility that the final trimming process could have damaged it.
Painted, folded and with the slide’s window open, the cover was now ready to be attached to the book block.
The pages are folded in half and divided in 7 signatures.
Mark with a lapis the position where the holes have to be pierced (at the same heights as the cover’s slits).
Proceed to pierce a hole for every mark of every signature.
Recompose the book block.
Now the pages and the cover are ready to be bound together.
I had to try a few times before getting it right but once you get the hang on it it’s not that difficult, it just requires patience and precision.
I will leave the details of the binding for a later post, suffice to say that through the Longstitch through slotted wrapper cover the signatures are bound to the cover through the slits and between each other, a variation on the Keith Smith’s variation on the original Italian 18th century binding was used.
After a few in and outs, the book is bound!
After the book was bound I proceeded to give another round of paint on the cover to add some thickness to the cover.
Then for the final touch I added red end papers, glueing them on the cover but not with the book block, just in case we had to repair it in the future.
The back end-paper was a bit trickier, we printed the slideluck logo on K-star translucid paper and pasted it in position on the backcover.
Then we cut a small window in the end paper the same size as the hole on the cover before pasting the end paper in place.
A bit of loctite glue on the edges on the slide and we finally made it sits in position.
Are you getting hungry?This is the final result!
Hungry Still is art directed and curated by Slideluck London co-directors Maria Teresa Salvati and Federica Chiocchetti, and Louise Clements, Artistic Director of QUAD and FORMAT Festival.
The 24 featured artists are the following:
AARON SCHUMAN | ALEX WEBB & REBECCA NORRIS WEBB | ALEXANDER AKSAKOV | ALFONSO ALMENDROS | ALVARO LAIZ | ARANTXA CEDILLO | BRYAN SCHUTMAAT | CATRINE VAL | CRISTINA DE MIDDEL | FAN SHI SAN | IAN TEH | JEANMARC CAIMI | JOANNA CHUDY | LAURA HYND | PETER DI CAMPO | PHILLIP TOLEDANO | PIERFRANCESCO CELADA | POULOMI BASU | RAFAEL AROCHA | SEBASTIAN LISTE | SHIHO FUKADA | SOPHIE GERRARD | SUZIE BLAKE
You can order Hungry Still trade edition on Slideluck website
For enquiries about Hungry Still trade edition for your bookshop please contact firstname.lastname@example.org