Embroidered Books

Chloe Gior­dano has done a beau­ti­ful cov­er con­cept for Penguin’s Lit­tle Black Clas­sics.

It’s for a selec­tion of Ger­ard Man­ley Hopkins’s poems, col­lect­ed under the title of one poem: As king­fish­ers catch fire. It’s an intri­cate design that Gior­dano has done and full of crafts­man­ship and small details, which fit the poem per­fect­ly. You can even see some love­ly work in progress pho­tos here on her Tum­blr

As king­fish­ers catch fire, drag­on­flies dráw fláme;
As tum­bled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mor­tal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Cry­ing Whát I do is me: for that I came.Í say móre: the just man jus­tices;
Kéeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thou­sand places,
Love­ly in limbs, and love­ly in eyes not his
To the Father through the fea­tures of men’s faces.

- from the Guten­berg edi­tion.

Gior­dano has done sev­er­al oth­er book cov­er designs using embroi­dery — her one for Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea is sim­ple yet bril­liant, the tex­tures some­thing you rarely see on a book. She’s had an Etsy shop (on hia­tus as of 10th March 2015) so per­haps some of these pieces, or some­thing like them, will be on sale there, but until then she’s also got items on sale on Society6.

Her cov­er con­cept remind­ed me of the enor­mous and stun­ning (lit­er­al­ly you could use it to stun some­one it’s that heavy) embroi­dered cov­er for Maggie’s Har­vest that Pen­guin Aus­tralia did in 2008.

 I actu­al­ly have a copy from when I worked at Pen­guin, which is why I know how heavy it is as I car­ried it home after find­ing it under my desk and no one else claim­ing it. Mine’s a bit dusty, but the feel of the fab­ric and embroi­dery is lus­cious — that real­ly is thread, not just the illu­sion in an image. As book cov­ers a so very flat and smooth in gen­er­al, it is real­ly some­thing else to have a book that feels so very dif­fer­ent and that tac­til­i­ty makes it stand out and puts it in anoth­er league from eBooks.