Tuesday, 6 August 2019


Looking at those square, tree- and leaf-based pictures in the previous post, it struck me that cropping a chunk across the bottom of each would give a more satisfying composition. A square canvas is ideal for a balanced arrangement of elements – it pretty much demands it – but this can be boring, especially when combined with that other most stable shape, the circle. So that's what I did, with what appeared to me to be an instant improvement.

Then, thinking about the way the new shape emphasised the bilateral symmetry, and how much this suits a square "layflat" book, I decided to stretch them sideways a bit to fit a 2:1 frame. Again, the slight distortion seemed to add interest to the resulting picture by an almost imperceptible disruption of the patterning, in the same way as the more attractive "bonds" used to lay bricks in a wall can do. The eye seems to respond positively to subtle variations within an overall uniformity, without necessarily realising why.

So, yet another layflat-style book is in the works, titled Arboretum. Only this time from a new source. I hadn't realised that, unlike their regular books which are made in Europe, Blurb manufactures its layflat books in the USA. Which means that, on top of the initial high price, you pay a higher shipping rate and run the risk of getting a Customs import charge plus Post Office "handling fee", which knocks the stuffing out of even a 40% discount. As a consequence, I had another look at Zno, a US-based enterprise selling a range of mainly cute, ornamental items based on uploaded photos, but whose range also includes layflat books. As I know from a couple of previous purchases, their production values are very high, but when I saw what they had done with a 6" square version of Trine, I was impressed: it's a delightful little thing, much more like a child's "board book" to handle, and very nicely finished. What's more, the delivery charge was comparatively low, it got through customs without any extra charge, and it also arrived twice as fast as the Blurb items.

However, Zno don't run an on-demand shopfront like Blurb, so this one will most likely remain a purely personal production [1]. As a book, that is: I am making it available as a PDF on a home-produced CD in a plastic sleeve with printed insert as usual: £5 + £2.50 post & packing, anywhere in the world. If you're interested, email me (address in the "Complete Profile" top right).

1. ADDED 7/8/19: Today, yet another 40% discount offer arrived from Blurb (this begins to strike me as a little desperate: the presses must be idle in summer) so – acknowledging the risk posed by the eternal vigilance of the Queen's revenue men – I went ahead and created a Blurb version and ordered a copy, which means I can offer it to you. You lucky people! It's here:

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