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Shakespeare, limited edit

© Graphic design,

calligraphy and bookbinding

by Diana Bychkova.


Year of creation: 2012

This is the first copy of a book. 

A limited edition can be produced upon request of a publisher.

There will only be 10 + 50 numbered copies of the books with handmade bindings.

The book was exhibited at the Biennale Designer bookbinders international competition, and published in the catalogue, Oxford, UK.



The short comment to the book project:

The book’s journey was a very long one. 

All the 154 sonnets are written by hand, linking elements of ancient calligraphy with my handwriting, as well as adding graphic elements to the title page. While I was writing the calligraphy I was living in a world full of letters and I forgot about everything else: I took pleasure in the process, I was delighted by the outline of every single letter… I like the letters “e” and “k” the most – when you write them, your shoulders and neck become tense and your hand slides over the paper on its own. I also like the capital letters “L” and “H” with their horizontal lines like waves on the ocean, and the “S” too for its importance and smoothness. I like to write the combination of letters “th”, more precisely I like their tails that create rhythms for the entire page and consequently, the book.

I made a careful choice of which paper to use. It would be terrible to cut hand-made paper off with a knife, therefore the pieces of paper for each page were carefully torn off by hand.

The book binding was created from natural leather, previously worked to reach the necessary thickness and softness. The book headbands were sewed from two-tone Iris threads.

The entire composition of calligraphy was cut out by hand and applied on the book cover, creating a relief, the contours of which reflect the calligraphy from the title page, creating a resonance with the content of the book.

The metallic parts of the cover were produced by hand from zinc plates, and in their silhouette they resemble tongues of flames – like the flames of love in the sonnets. At the same time, the apertures between the flames and the contrast of the light zinc placed on the dark leather creates an impression of openwork lace. The engraved grape leaves on zinc are designed to impart romance to the flames of love, and the parallel patterns of leaves and vines have something in common with the parallel elements of calligraphy inside the book.

Before being fixed onto the cover, the etching of these metallic elements was printed onto the bookmark and colophon.