Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)



Friends and some readers have asked, from time to time, about my minnow activities in the ocean of Artists’ Books.

Well, the neatly laid clue is “minnow.” I have never bound a proper, hard cover book with sections stitched over cords and the whole covered in, say, Morroccan leather. Well, not yet!

What I cobble together are the sort of things 18th century political stirrers dished out in the coffee houses and taverns. Or, perhaps, what kiddies did on rainy days when Mommy was too busy to read them a story. Pamphlets and the like.

I’ve always loved intricately folded things, be they table napkins or origami place cards; “paper engineering” is one term. (Lately, I’ve coined a few other, more pithy epithets!)

But, despite having made more than enough to bore the family rigid at Christmas, I’m still a minnow.

As to the “what does one do with such books?” Well, that rather depends on the kind of book it is. Many are picture books. Many have text, with original illustrations; they may be hand-lettered or letterpress printed. Even computer-generated. In this case, eight of us made a book of our own interpretations of a poem. And not all of us included the whole poem, focussing, instead, on an element that resonated with us personally. Sara, for instance, did print the entire poem, but her “book” is a multiple-fold [called a tetraflexagon] of that. Furthermore, hers comes packaged in a handmade box!

Mine is a simple concertina fold, with cut-outs allowing a small drawing to be glimpsed through the void.

These are photos I took during the drying process so the light is not perfect.

And I have  left it for readers to seek  out the poem* if they want to.

The poem speaks of absences and of being alone, but at no point does it clarify this so we had a wonderfully open field to play with!

And a final note about my presentation of the thing.Years ago, I fell in love with a dress in one of those Indian/gypsy/hippie stores. The deep indigo, with its splashes of silvery streaks made me think of the night sky, with falling stars and meteor showers.

Sadly, the fabric perished in some places (to do with the dye, I suspect), but, although unwearable in that state, I kept it, thinking I might one day make something with the good bits.

And I did – it became the sachet for this book.

Did I struggle with this? Yes! Did I find my envelope being pushed to near-implosion? Yes. Did I enjoy the process? Oh, yes, very much!

Huge thanks to my fellow book artists. And to The Man for (very sensibly!) keeping a low profile. 🙂

you can read more on our group blog

Author: dinahmow

A New Zealander, currently living in tropical Queensland,Australia (with 2 cats and one Main Man).Old enough to remember George VI, white tennis balls and life-before-television.You want more? Read the blog!


  1. … although you describe your booky activities as ‘minnow’ – this is a whimsical wonderland – and I love the tale of the dress that became book envelope almost as much as I love the material itself

    gorgeous – and not at all minnow-esque


  2. ronnie…thankyou. It does, indeed, seem that these things gather their own bit of story.


  3. oh this has made me smile so!

    I remember the first book I made and then the bookbinding a few years later. . .

    . . .love love love the poem (I might borrow it, if I may? and link back to you. . . if that’s ok)

    and love love love the white walls and the windows and the washing line


    thank you for a wonderful start to my day



  4. (oh! and the material is perfect)


  5. iltv…thankyou. And of course you may link back to this (or the group blog).
    I’m glad you smiled. 🙂


  6. Hello Dinahmow, I think your dry sense of humour and self-deprecating style hides a multitude of talents and creativity! If you’re a minnow I don’t want to meet a whale… Sara


  7. Sarah wrote: “If you’re a minnow I don’t want to meet a whale…” that made me smile, and it’s so true!

    The poem is wonderful. I clearly should have a look at other works from this poet.

    It inspired a beautiful book, too, I like the air of vulnerable tenderness it has – at least for me. And the envelope is perfect 🙂


  8. Sara…thankyou. As you know, I had some doubts, but feel easier now that it’s done.


  9. Hilke… thankyou, too. “Vulnerability” was a word in my head when I was putting ideas on paper.


  10. I love Hilke’s “air of vulnerable tenderness” – that is such a good description of Rosemary’s poem. I’m still hopefully waiting for my copy of your book to arrive (or surface from wherever it is hiding). My fingers are crossed.


  11. I can only look on in awe as it’s something well out of my ability bracket. So glad you had fun with this project and love the sachet, too. And c’mon, Di, share with us som e of those more pithy epithets!


  12. andrea…thank you. Your bracket is far beyond me, so don’t feel too bad! As to those epithets, well, let’s just say that at times I went through several languages! I wouldn’t want WordPress to censure me 😉


  13. I love handmade books ,especially one with cutouts or popouts! This is so charming, wish I could see it in it’s entirety. And I’m a bit slow? (no, don’t answer that part) but where can I find the poem that this is based on?


  14. Ellen…thankyou. I know you like pop-ups and fold-outs! At the bottom of this post I have a perma link to our group blog’s post with the poem. If you have time, read through other posts as some of the group have photos there.
    And Googling Rosemary Dobson will yield more.


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