Study Mondays at Baseline, Kent

I may or may not have mentioned that I was lucky enough to be offered some experience at a local Kent based typographics magazine, Baseline. Having met owner and editor Hans Dieter Reichert briefly through my work on the UCA/Baseline exhibition, it was an unexpected opportunity to be able to attend their beautiful situated converted-stable studio for one day a week alongside my studies. This has meant much refinement of my timetable, but for being able to spend time in an environment with professionals and new ideas, I think it is worth learning the true value of time management!

Spending such little time in the studio means there is a few-and-far-between sort of consistency to the work I can do to help out. As well as the regular task of updating the magazine Facebook account (by choosing an interesting graphic item to photograph/scan and upload), today I was able to get stuck into an aspect of Baseline that I have come to further respect and love. Playing to my fondness for hand-working, the Scribble Books are compilations of blank and overprinted colour-rich sheets of paper that are clipped together to make an attractive alternative to the traditional Molskine. Due to their hand cut and made nature, each book is unique, as I well discovered today when I was cutting templates for the specially folded and creased covers and dividers.

Far from being predictable, there is a active decision making in how to frame each piece for the most pleasing combination of text and/or image. As you may (or not!) be able to imagine, I was in my element. Blisters and backpain forgotten, I think I whiled away 3 hours measuring and cutting, with still more to do next week.

But that element is precisely what attracts me to the Baseline ethic and studio. There is a tactility to the place that probably as a result of not working there 5 days a week, I find intriguing. From the rippled glass in the walls to that strange half metre of exposed original stonework before you get to the kitchen. And that tray of black-stained wooden letter printing blocks on the windowsill, with that wooden toy that looks like a clown but not quite. This odd metaphor for care in feel and quality extends to the end product, which (in my opinion) works effortlessly for its place in that stack of old IDN’s and Grafik’s, because it is a beautiful object in its own right. This is where I start getting misty eyed about how wonderful books are and really can be, when people take the time to think about them as more than just the middle-man between brains and the content, so I’ll do us all a favour and park this topic here.

Ultimately, its the eclecticism that I appreciate in the Baseline studio, which seems to be reflected in the infamous miniature library that Hans has collected on a vast range of art and design. Speaking today, Hans and I managed to start talking about how to properly cut the Scribble Book covers and ended up at the work of Shigeru Ban (here), via a consideration of the engineering behind the simplest of cardboard boxes. Design is not an island, I don’t think anything creative is anymore. From a tiny mundane object, to architecture. If you’d have told me this in the first year, I would have nodded anyway, but the fluidity of design and the nature of inspiration has been steadily dawning on me. Perhaps this is why the overtones of social issues as well as architecture and urban planning, have not been so alien to me as the basis of my Final Major Project. Design in the lens through which I am looking at these issues, as part of the world in which I live. There is more to life than poster campaigns!

Says the girl who makes installations and proposals out of everything she touches.

Perhaps I’m not explaining any of this very well. But the idea behind the Scribble Books has been summed up here:

The idea to produce the ‘Scribble book’ was initiated at a proofing session at the printers for Baseline, back in 2009. We decided to share with you the unique and limited ‘make ready’ sheets, which are made every time a new Baseline magazine is printed.

‘Make ready’ sheets are used to run the colour up to optimum level before the actual virgin paper is running through the press. Because those are waste sheets, the accidental and random overprints create unique and exciting imagery. We made a selection and used three ‘fold outs’ in each scribble book. Each one is unique!

Enclosed with the scribble book will be ephemera which we collected at Baseline. These include printed, handwritten or painted precious and inspiring small items. So, be prepared to find a signature by a famous designer, or an Hawaiian postage stamp. No repetition here either! We hope that this aspiring little book and collection will generate lots of imagination and stimulation for you. Our ‘Scribble book 59’ is published in a limited edition of 80. Enjoy!
A6, 140 pp blank with 3 one-off fold out pages and enclosed type ephemera.

You can find Baseline here

And here I thought I was too tired to blog anything significant this evening..! Tomorrow will be spent at the Graduate Show meeting, checking out my weight in library books and spending my wages on photocopying them. From Tuesday to Friday, life goes on as scheduled.

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One thought on “Study Mondays at Baseline, Kent

  1. Pingback: Study Mondays at Baseline: Perseverance | Nicola Tilley's Blog

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