Stone Six: Copy no. 3 'Basalt'
Completed November 2002


Binding • 28.5 x 20 x 2.5
In full black calf with mottled markings, over sculpted boards of paper pulp from handmade paper scraps; low-relief linear markings on front and hollowed 'pit' inset with a wild mussel seed pearl. Doublures of suede over irregular turn-ins, abraded to create changing tones. The endpapers and flyleaves are mottled in deep charcoal and blacks with touches of warmer earth colours using acrylic paints, gradually lightening towards the text block. The head is airbrushed and mottle 'gilded' with palladium. Silk head and tail bands blend with the edges.

Container • 33 x 27.5 x 5.7
'Clam' type box, flattened polygon with central flat facet on base to allow steady seating. Covered in paper stained with acrylics, pinpricked and textured with added colour implying an amygdaloidal basalt. Lined in black velvet. Black calfskin spine.


A beautiful, smooth, dense stone with linear marks and a hollowed pit, home to a diminutive snail shell, was my inspiration. The rounded, heavy form and smooth, cool surface suggested the sensual black calfskin and to create the same response to holding the rounded form in one's hands I gradually sculpted the boards over a base with pulp from my hoard of scraps, allowing time for pressing, drying and warpage. The calfskin was pressed into incised marks, rather than tooled, as suggestion seemed more subtle. The texture of cracked-open stone is rougher and irregularly angular, so the turn-ins of the front and back covers were left wide and irregular with the black suede-side doublures laid over and sanded to create shaded areas, further changed by a hand brushing over it. The treatment of the head has an elusive quality achieved by layers of fine airbrushing to reflect the fine grain of basalt, with palladium and hints of 'olivine' and rusty colours. (I try to understand geological structures by reading up as much as possible, although as a complete amateur I depend initially on my aesthetic responses to them.) I used to live in Ireland, and the Giant's Causeway links with the structures on the Isle of Staffa off the west coast of Mull, which I can see on my walks. The box alludes to the polygonal pillars, though obviously flattened; it is hard and its angularity and finely textured surface is in contrast to the rounded smoothness of the binding.


2008 © Faith Shannon. All rights reserved.