festival of crafts 2017: q&a with Angela Thames

festival of crafts 2017: q&a with Angela Thames

Is your head always brimming full of ideas for new craft projects and you need someone to note them down? You could always come along to Angela Thames’s workshop at festival of craft 2017 and make your own contemporary soft cover notebook using Khadi Indian handmade paper and decorative ribbon.

Angela is running sessions on both Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 October, 10am – 12midday. Everyone is welcome as no previous experience is necessary and all materials are included. During the session you will learn traditional book binding skills from an expert printmaker and maker of artists books who has work held in private and public collections including the Tate Britain.

We spoke to Angela to find out more about her work. Angela, could you tell us more about the work that you do as a printmaker and maker of artist’s books?

I mainly produce one-off  lino-cut prints by using a method that only allows for one unique print. I use up to 4 different lino cuts within each final image and overprint using thinner and thinner ink. I call my process mono-type lino-cut. My inspiration is the landscape around me, birds and flowers. Some of my lino-cuts are used in the books I make and usually take text that resonant with me and gives me an idea for a book. I have made a number of books using text from Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd and even text from Monty Don’s editorial in Gardeners World.

Angela Thames blog picture 2How do you go about designing a binding for a book?

The type of book I want to make usually dictates the type of bookbinding I use. For my book “Needless Chatter” I incorporated the book into a mobile phone case as the text was describing our loss of listening to nature and using APPS to give us natural sounds. For some of my books I have upcycled old leather wallets and camera slide cases.

You have said that local landscapes are a key source of inspiration for your work, what is your favourite place to draw inspiration from?

I walk everyday with my dog in my local area of outstanding natural beauty and this cannot fail to inspire some of my imagery or the colours I use in the linocut prints.

What is the most interesting book you have bound? Is there a book you would love to bind?

I made a book called “The Colourful World of Mr. Pickwick” for Charles Dicken’s commemoration. The book pages consists of just  coloured boxes, the colours mentioned in the order they appear in the book “The Pickwick Papers”. I hand dyed the cover and threads as well. It was displayed at Southsea Library in an exhibition dedicated to Charles Dickens.

Your books are held in both eminent private and public collections, where are you most proud to have you work?

I am very proud to have my work in Tate Britain as a collaboration piece inspired by The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. She has a copy too. But I would like one in their collection solely under my name would be my next biggest hope.

You are running a taster workshop at festival of crafts on an introduction to the craft of book binding. What can participants expect to learn from your session?book binding -740x370

Book binding has many different forms and so in just the short time of 2 hours we can achieve just one type called a multi section casement bound book. But because I am a fine artist my books are perhaps more contemporary. Each participant will leave with a beautiful bound book that they can use and the skills to make more without any specialist equipment. The skill can be used with many different materials and adapted accordingly.

And finally, what do you like best about book binding?

I like to be able to print and produce my own books that are unique, interesting and technically competent.

To book tickets click here, and to check out Angela’s work see her website.


festival of crafts 286 x 300 pxfestival of crafts will return in its 21st year on Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 October 2017.  The festival is open to the public from 10am – 5pm both days. Entry is £3 (under 15s go free). To buy tickets for Saturday click here . To buy tickets for Sunday click here

It is an annual two day craft event held at Farnham Maltings. Now in its 21st year, the festival is well established in the craft calendar and features a curated selection of makers from across the UK. The work shown is across all media, including but not limited to, homewares, jewellery, ceramics, stationery, accessories, furniture, lighting, textiles and print.

The festival champions great design and the process of making, both traditional and modern techniques and skills. The show offers opportunities to well established craft practitioners as well as first time exhibitors and graduates. The craft festival showcases the very best UK craftspeople and provides a relaxed environment for visitors to browse and buy directly from the makers themselves.


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