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Collaboration forms a key part of their work, with both drawing on nature for inspiration. As well as being an artist, Kim is a poet and some of her work appears on their hand-printed cards. David has more recently begun using his own art-work. ‘David has never considered himself an artist but he can draw,’ says Kim. When we visit his workshop, David is working on a series of prints drawn from botanical drawings he has recently completed. ‘He wanted to learn print-making,’ says Kim, ‘but I didn’t fancy teaching him!’ So David did a course with Cameron Short of Bonfield Block Printers and then went on to focus on his own designs. Their most recent collaboration is the re-invention of the ‘autograph book’. Their inspiration was taken from David’s grandmother’s autograph book that was used more as a ‘book@home’: instead of collecting autographs of well-known people, his grandmother would ask friends and visitors to write or draw something that was personal to them. Inspired by this idea, David has produced a series of these books, with up-cycled cloth covers, for people to create their own book@home, which might also become a family memento. Meanwhile Kim had an idea for David’s’ new toggle notebooks. Through their binding, these books have a hoop at one end and a toggle at the other (you can see the nautical influence here). Each book can be hung from another to create a chain and the rope of books can be hung from a hook on the wall. Kim is inviting local creative practitioners to use a selection of the notebooks that she will install in the shop window as a visual demonstration of the connection between all creative processes. Then the book will be added to their range and find even more applications. Collaboration is clearly vital to their work but there’s also a personal touch. ‘David designs a new notebook for me each Christmas and I write him a love poem on Valentine’s Day or for our anniversary,’ explains Kim. ‘When we visited the Fine Press Book Fair in Oxford, David bought me a letterpress chapbook and we were inspired to use the platen press to do our own. At poetry readings people often ask for copies of the love poems, so that seemed a good place to start. David set and printed a selection of the poems I’d written for him and now we sell them in the shop.’ As well as bookbinding, David is passionate about printing and has bought several presses that are now housed in their print room in St Michaels. The purpose of his practice is to keep the old ways going

and also to produce a lasting product. ‘I have always been interested in printing,’ says David. ‘It began when I learned off-set litho as a teenager, although I didn’t find that very satisfactory. Then, while I was on my initial course, there was a technician who had a small letterpress, called an Adana, and he taught me how to use it. It got me interested in the immediacy of lead-letter printing, how you can just ink up with a penny-sized amount of ink and stick on the paper and print.’ He adds, ‘It’s precise, which is what I like, and now I have several of those presses.’ His collection includes a Harrild ‘Platen’ press that uses hand-set type and rollers. The seller also had trays of type to go with it and David couldn’t believe his luck when his offer was accepted. The once-retired press now has a new working life. Despite his love of print, when it comes to books David is less devoted. ‘I mainly read paperbacks,’ he says. He is, however, passionate about craft, precision and music. David has made a mandolin and is a self-taught player of note, often playing at local weddings. His ‘Monday mandolin’ on their Instagram account now has quite a following. ‘I did toy with the idea of being a luthier,’ he says. ‘I usually have my mandolin in the workshop and will periodically put down my work to play a tune if I’m in need of inspiration.’ So how does this complement book-binding? David says it’s the combination of precision and detail that is so similar. ‘Playing the mandolin is all about being precise with the left hand on the finger board and having equal control of the plectrum.’ He tells me that music doesn’t so much influence his art and craft as tap into how he works. ‘Music is very important to me and it’s such a great thing that I can share with others.’ Sharing is something that is key to this couple’s purpose and David is going to offer bookbinding workshops on the third Sunday of the month. Kim will also run writing and drawing workshops. She says people will often come in and say, ‘I love notebooks but never know what to write in them’ and, as she says, ‘What really makes a beautiful note book is the content.’ A Squirrell notebook takes on a life and journey of its own once it leaves the shop. In the possession of a new owner the humble notebook is elevated beyond the sum of its well-crafted parts. The virgin snow of hand-bound pages will us on, urging us to confide. A blank canvas on which to pour our dreams. inkandpage.co.uk bridporttimes.co.uk | 49

Profile for Sherborne & Bridport Times

Bridport Times March 2019  

Featuring Kim and David Squirrell of Ink on Page + What's On, Arts & Culture, History, Wild Dorset, Outdoors, Archaeology, Food & Drink, Bod...

Bridport Times March 2019  

Featuring Kim and David Squirrell of Ink on Page + What's On, Arts & Culture, History, Wild Dorset, Outdoors, Archaeology, Food & Drink, Bod...