This piece of work is a binding about our understanding of letter forms. To me letters are very much visual abstract shapes that have a life of their own. I'm interested in how we begin to form writing - how we quickly learn as children to recognise and organise those abstract shapes into meaning.
This book is inspired by my daughters early understanding of forming letter shapes, expressing wonderment in the drawing and writing process by turning shapes upside down, repeating them or drawing them backwards. I have collated hundreds of her early attempts at letter shapes and by playing with them I am re-creating a personal secret language.
In the context of my practice, the subject of letter forms has appeared frequently throughout my work over the past ten years. It is a subject that I am continuously drawn to, as I am fascinated by our visual de-coding of writing. I enjoy playing with letter forms and also with the unspoken space between words. Working with the traditional technique of gold tooling onto leather and reshaping old hand letter tools into new shapes is also an important aspect in the development of my practice.
This piece of work ties in with my work as a professional bookbinder, developing structure and function of a book alongside the importance of the words and pictures inside the book. The physical structure of each of my bindings is as important as the contents, as together they take you on a small journey.
Jo Bird, 22 September 2017