BOOKSHOP OF THE MONTH | CARAVANSÉRAIL

Caravansérail is a gorgeous bilingual bookshop, gallery and cultural space nestled in London’s Brick Lane, which offers a wonderful aray of adult and children’s titles in both French and English. Head there to find your newest read and grab a coffee surrounded by beautiful books, shelving and art. The shop front is spectacular (the blue is so striking and inviting) and their signage and branding is stunning.

Since opening in September 2017, co-owners Laura and Anne have hosted various events featuring authors, artists and musicians, cementing themselves as a hub within the community.

There’s something for everyone in the shop, from a carefully curated selection of cookery titles chosen by a local chef, or the wide range of translated fiction – a focus for Laura.

We caught up with Laura and Anne and asked them a few questions:

1. Congratulations on being chosen as our February Bookshop of the Month! We’ve talked a bit about you and the shop but how would you describe Caravansérail in five words?  
A home for hybrid cultures.

2. Where is your favourite spot in the store?  
The children’s nook! A place to shelter and escape from the buzz of the city. A perfect spot to read, whether you’re with kids or not.

3. Where do you like to read? 
Anne: in the wilderness! I used to live on the West coast of Canada and my favourite spot to read so far has been in Dorreen – an abandoned mining town in British Columbia that you can only access by train. A heaven lost between mountains, forest and river. Comfortably seated on the porch of a cabin, a steaming mug of coffee in one hand, a book in the other… and not too far away, a bowl of freshly picked blueberries. Sublime!
Laura: nothing beats the combination of reading and fireplace for me, wherever it may be.

4. If you weren’t a bookseller what would you be? 
Anne: aside from Caravansérail, I am running an artist residency and an artists agency. Supporting and promoting the work of emerging artists is the cement of these three activities.
Laura: I’d probably be doing something in publishing.

5. Excluding Caravansérail – what is your favourite bookshop?   
Anne: I love browsing the beautiful bookshops in the Quartier latin in Paris – a day well spent!
Laura: without hesitation Daunt Books, Marylebone.


Caravansérail can be found at:
5 Cheshire St
London
E2 6ED

Follow them on TwitterFacebook & Instagram!

A TAXONOMY OF WHY I WROTE ‘A TAXONOMY OF LOVE’ | BY RACHAEL ALLEN

Firstly, a bit about the book – which is out now

The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it’s . . . something at first sight. He knows she’s special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of “friend” gets messier, too. Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn’t always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it’s this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.

Rachael Allen is the author of 17 First Kisses and The Revenge Playbook. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two children and two sled dogs. Visit her website here.


We fell in love with Spencer’s taxonomy charts in the book so we couldn’t resist asking Rachael to make a taxonomy about… Taxonomy! See her beautiful hand-written creation below:

a taxonomy of why i wrote taxonomy

From sibling relationships to neurodiverse characters to peach ice cream (x3), not only does A Taxonomy of Love span 6 years of the characters’ lives, it also incorporates some of the most important aspects of family, friendship, love and loss while subverting stereotypes in the process.


If you’re still not sure, you can dive into an extract here!

Let us know your thoughts at @ACBYA using #TaxonomyOfLove

BOOKSHOP OF THE MONTH | BUTTON & BEAR

Kicking off 2018, our January Bookshop of the Month is Button and Bear, a children’s bookshop in Shrewsbury owned and run by Louise Chadwick, former director of programmes at BookTrust.

Button and Bear has been designed with children and parents in mind with the goal of getting children interested in books as early as possible. Opening in September 2016 the bookshop also has a café, a gift shop, a breastfeeding area and what can only be described as a magical woodland events space. They run a multitude of regular events including their highly praised Stories & Rhymes in the Woodland (check out their Facebook reviews) and they’ve cemented themselves as a community hub for customers.

We caught up with Louise to ask her a few questions:

1. Congratulations on being chosen as our January Bookshop of the Month! We’ve talked a bit about you and the shop but how would you describe Button and Bear in three words?
Friendly, knowledgeable & unique

2. Where is your favourite spot in the store?
Our hidden woodland room downstairs where we hold storytimes, events & birthday parties. There are no windows & it feels cosy & magical.

3. Where do you like to read?
Everywhere! But mostly when I can lose myself in the book and become part of the story.

4. If you weren’t a bookseller what would you be?
I previously worked for a book charity inspiring people to read focusing on children & parents, which is what I do now through Button & Bear. If I wasn’t a bookseller I would still be out there championing the importance of reading for pleasure & making sure as many children & parents had access to books.

5. Excluding Button and Bear – what is your favourite bookshop?
Tricky to choose just one but I would say that Booka Bookshop in Oswestry is a lovely environment and has brought some great authors to the market town.


Button & Bear can be found at:
28 Castle St
Shrewsbury
SY1 2BQ

Follow them on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram!

Star Wars | The Wish-List Awakens

The Last Jedi is now officially in cinemas, Christmas is around the corner and, if it hasn’t already, the force of the wish-list awakens… 

Here’s our guide to 5 of the galaxy’s greatest gifts for the Jedi/Sith/Droid/Porg in your life:  

1. For the fan who’s already booked repeat viewings:

The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Phil Szostak

Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattered box-office records as one of the highest-grossing films of all time, and its eagerly awaited sequel, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is sure to do the same. Written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, The Brothers Bloom, Brick) and production designed by Rick Heinrichs (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Captain America: The First Avenger), this episode, like every episode before it, owes its visual language and fully imagined cinematic landscape to an incomparable art department: the Lucasfilm ‘visualists.’ The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi explores their vision and illuminates their creative process in stunning detail. Featuring concept art and costume sketches, storyboards, and blueprints, fans will take a deep dive into the development of the fantastic worlds, characters, and creatures—both old and new—of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Featuring unforgettable art and exclusive interviews with the filmmakers, this visual archive highlights moviemaking magic at its finest.

Find out more here


2. The (Star Wars) mindfulness convert

Darth Vader and Family Coloring Book
By Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown’s reimagining of the Star Wars universe has delighted adult fans and young Jedi alike. This new adult colouring book is equally fun to share, featuring a careful translation of artwork from the bestselling Darth Vader and Son™ series to a large-format collection on crisp white paper, plus nine new images to colour.

Find out more here


3. For the Star Wars crafter:

Star Wars Kirigami: 15 Cut and Fold Ships from Across the Galaxy
By Marc Hagan-Guirey

Celebrated paper artist and designer Marc Hagan-Guirey has applied his genius to the Star Wars galaxy in this book of 15 unique kirigami (cut-and-fold) ships featured in the saga’s films. Ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert, each beautifully detailed model features step-by-step instructions and a template printed on cardstock—all that’s needed are a utility knife, a cutting mat, and a ruler. Clear tips and guidance through the tricky stages help readers craft their own X-wing, Imperial Star Destroyer, Millennium Falcon, and a dozen more ships and vehicles, each accompanied by colourful and inspiring photographs of the final model on display (or ready for a jump to Hyperspace).

Find out more here


4. For the Star Wars collector: 

Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie (100 Postcards)

Ralph McQuarrie is the most iconic artist in the history of Star Wars. He worked hand-in- hand with George Lucas to help establish the saga’s visual aesthetic, its inimitable look and feel. Carefully selected from the definitive volume, Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie, these postcards are a celebration of Star Wars as a masterpiece of design and world-building. The deluxe keepsake package also functions as a display frame: the box features a die-cut window, so fans can rotate their favourite production design paintings into view.

Find out more here


5. For the joker: 

99 Stormtroopers Join the Empire by Greg Stones

Ninety-nine Stormtroopers join the Empire, and then their troubles begin. One takes a lunch break in the carbon freezing chamber. Two underestimate a princess. One picks the wrong time to ask for a promotion. Another fails to show Jabba the proper respect. And one interrupts Lord Vader’s private time, failing him for the last time. A lifelong Star Wars fan, Greg Stones brings a playful wit and sympathy for the plight of the troops as they meet their amusing ends, filling each colorfully painted scenario with fun Star Wars details and appearances by Han, Luke, Chewie, K-2SO, and many other characters. As the trooper count ticks down, how will the last one fare as he receives a very special assignment (on the Death Star)?

Find out more here


BONUS ROUND:

The Star Wars Cookbook: BB-Ate
Awaken to the Force of Breakfast and Brunch
By Lara Starr, photography by Matthew Carden

BB-Ate is rolling into shops in the New Year so store up any gift tokens or pre-order now for some delicious recipes from across the galaxy!

Fuel up with Hans Soloatmeal, battle hunger with Admiral Ackbars, and so much more!

These easy-to-make, mouth-watering recipes feature characters and scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens as well as from the upcoming film Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And photographs action figures Star Wars figurines re-creating epic moments from the films provide an extra helping of humour.

Find out more here


When it comes to Star Wars, there’s something for everyone. Now to watch The Last Jedi again

200 WOMEN | Alicia Garza

9781452166582_3D (1)Interviews with 200 women from a variety of backgrounds provide a snapshot of female life around the globe. Interviewees include: • Jane Goodall, conservation and animal welfare activist • Margaret Atwood, author and winner of The Booker Prize • Roxane Gay, author and feminist • Renée Montagne, former host of NPR’s Morning Edition • Alicia Garza, activist and co-founder of Black Lives Matter • Alfre Woodard, award-winning actor and activist • Marian Wright Edelman, head of the Children’s Defense Fund • Lydia Ko, professional golfer and Olympian • Dolores Huerta, labor activist, community organizer, and co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association • Alice Waters, chef, author, and food rights advocate • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author and Macarthur Foundation fellow.

Each woman shares her unique reply to the same five questions: What really matters to you?, What brings you happiness?, What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?, What would you change if you could?, and Which single word do you most identify with?

With responses ranging from uplifting to heartbreaking, these women offer gifts of empowerment and strength – inviting us to bring positive change at a time when so many are fighting for basic freedom and equality. Each interview is accompanied by a photographic portrait, resulting in a volume that is compelling in word and image—and global in its scope and resonance. This landmark book is published to coincide with an interactive website, building on this remarkable, ever-evolving project. A percentage of the originating publisher’s revenue from book sales will be distributed to organisations nominated by the women featured in the book.

The following is an extract from 200 Women Who Will Change the Way You See the World, edited by Ruth Hobday, Geoff Blackwell, Sharon Gelman and Marianne Lassandro, photographs by Kieran Scott.


© 2017 Kieran E. Scott kieranscottphotography.com
© 2017 Kieran E. Scott kieranscottphotography.com
Alicia Garza

Alicia Garza was born in Carmel in California, USA. She is an activist and organiser based in Oakland, California. In 2013, Garza co-founded Black Lives Matter (BLM), an ideological and political organising network campaigning against anti-black racism and violence. In 2016, she and her two BLM co-founders were recognised in Fortune’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. Garza is the director of special projects for the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She is also an editorial writer, whose work has been featured in publications including The Guardian, The Nation, The Feminist Wire, Rolling Stone and Huffington Post.

Q. What really matters to you?

I want to be able to tell my kids that I fought for them and that I fought for us. In a time when it’s easy to be tuned out, it feels really important to me to be somebody who stands up for the ability of my kids – of all kids – to have a future.

The other thing that really motivates me is wanting to make sure we achieve our goals. As I was coming up as an organiser, we were told we were fighting for something we might never see in our lifetime. I’m just not satisfied with that; I think change can happen much faster, but it requires organisation, and an understanding of power and how we can shift it from its current incarnation. We need to transform power, so that we’re not fighting the same battles over and over again. This is what I wake up thinking about every single day. And every night when I go to sleep, I’m thinking about how we can get closer to it tomorrow.

Women inspire me to keep going. My foremost in influence was my mother; she initially raised me on her own, having never expected to be a parent at twenty-six. She taught me everything I know about what it means to be a strong woman who is in her power. I’m also very much in influenced by black women throughout history. I’m inspired by Harriet Tubman, not only for all the work she did to free individual slaves – which, of course, was amazing – but for everything she did to eradicate the institution of slavery, the alliances she built to do so and the heartbreaks she endured in pursuit of her vision. And it’s not only women in the United States who inspire me. In Honduras in 2016, Berta Cáceres was murdered while pursuing her vision of ecological justice and a better life for the people in Honduras being preyed upon by corporations and the United States government.

Black Lives Matter has been a big part of my activism. When it came onto the scene, there was a lot of pushback; people responded by saying, ‘All lives matter.’ I think the intensity of these reactions against Black Lives Matter is a testament to how effective our systems are in isolating these kinds of issues – they make them seem as though they impact individuals, as opposed to entire communities. The all-lives-matter thing is simultaneously fascinating and infuriating to me, because it’s so obvious. Obviously all lives matter; it’s like saying the sky is blue or that water is wet. But, when people say, ‘Actually, all lives matter,’ it feels like a passive-aggressive way of saying, ‘White lives matter.’

People seemed shocked that police brutality was an issue, but I thought, ‘Um, where have you been?’ The police are supposed to serve all communities, but instead, they aren’t accountable to black communities in the same way they are to white communities. The United States is rooted in profound segregation, disenfranchisement and oppression in pursuit of profits. And it feels like the country is being powered by amnesia.

Q. What brings you happiness?

My community – absolutely. This includes both of my families, blood and chosen – because my family is also my friends, the people I’ve been through things with. These are the people who stand with me, support me and love me. They are the people who feed me, and we just let each other be, because we understand each other.

Q. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

I’d call it capitalism. There is nothing on earth that makes people as miserable, that kills people as avidly and that robs people of their dignity so completely as an economic system that prioritises profits over human needs. Capitalism prioritises profits over people and over the planet we depend on. There are millions and millions of people living on the streets without homes because of capitalism. And there are millions and millions of people suffering from depression and other emotional and mental afflictions because of it – because the things we are taught should drive us and make us happy are unattainable for the majority of people on this planet. Capitalism shapes every understanding you have of who you are and of what your value is. If you have no monetary value – if you can’t sell something that you produce in this economy – then you are deemed unusable, unworthy and extraneous. There is no other force in the world that is so powerful and that causes so much misery for so many people.

Q. What would you change if you could?

I would start with all of the people who are suffering right now. I would give whatever is needed to every mama who is living in a car with her kids and is trying to figure out how she’s going to make it another day – if not for herself then for the people who depend on her. I would give to all the people who are dying in the deserts right now, trying to cross artificial borders pursuing what they think will be a better life here in the United States – if I had a wand I’d make it so that that journey was easier and that there wasn’t punishment on both sides. In fact, I would ensure that no one ever had to leave their homes in pursuit of survival – they would have everything that they needed right there at home.

The other area I would work on is within our own movements. I spend a lot of time thinking about how we could be clear about what we’re up against and how we each fight it differently; I think about how we can advance our goals without tearing each other up along the way. So, if I could wave a wand, I would also change some of the suffering of organisers and activists in our movements who are tired and burned out, who feel disposable and don’t feel seen.

Q. Which single word do you most identify with?

Courage. It takes real tenacity to be courageous.


3P3A2822 (3)

 

200 Women is out from 31 October, find out more here. You can view the official project website here, which includes the trailer and additional extra media content. Follow 200 Women on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

A GLORIOUS FREEDOM | INTERVIEW WITH CHERYL STRAYED

9781452156200_3D

The glory of growing older is the freedom to be more truly ourselves—with age we gain the liberty to pursue bold new endeavors and worry less about what other people think. In this richly illustrated volume, bestselling author and artist Lisa Congdon explores the power of women over the age of forty who are thriving and living life on their own terms. Profiles, interviews, and essays from women—including Vera Wang, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Julia Child, Cheryl Strayed, and many more—who’ve found creative fulfillment and accomplished great things in the second half of their lives are lavishly illustrated and hand-lettered in Congdon’s signature style. The perfect gift for women of all ages, A Glorious Freedom celebrates extraordinary lives and redefines what it means to gain wisdom and maturity.

The following is an extract from A Glorious Freedom by Lisa Congdon.


Cheryl’s famous memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail was published when she was 43 years old. It took her two and a half years to trace the steps, challenges, and revelations she faced during her three-month, 1,100-mile hike from the Mojave Desert to the Pacific Northwest onto paper—and about two minutes for the finished book to land on the New York Times bestseller list. In the months following, Cheryl experienced instant fame—from Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 to the film adaptation championed by Reese Witherspoon and Nick Hornby, Wild went, well, wild. It is an international bestseller and a recipient of the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and the Oregon Book Award. Cheryl is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough. Her first novel, Torch, was published in 2007. Her essays have been published in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, Vogue, and Tin House, among others, and her work has been selected three times for inclusion in the The Best American Essays. She anonymously authored The Rumpus’s popular Dear Sugar advice column from 2010 to 2012, for which she now cohosts a podcast. She currently lives and writes in Portland, Oregon.

AGF_interview_cherylstrayed2


Lisa: You worked for many years at writing, and it wasn’t until just a few short years ago, in your early 40s, you published the book that made you a household name. I encounter a lot of young artists who imagine that if they just concoct some magical formula they can have “instant success.” How would you describe the role of purpose, work, and patience in your own journey?

Cheryl: I was a successful writer long before Wild was published. What happened with Wild wasn’t “success.” It was crazy lightning striking. I’m always taken aback when people imply that I achieved success in my 40s. In fact, I had a pretty steady upward career trajectory as a writer, and all of that came about because, as you say, I showed up each day to do the work. I began publishing in my 20s. By the time I was in my early 30s I had won many awards and grants, and was publishing in respected magazines, and I’d earned my MFA in creative writing. In my mid-30s I sold my first novel to a major publisher and it was broadly reviewed and sold well. Meanwhile, I was continuing to publish essays in prominent places and I was also teaching writing.

I was known in the literary community. Then Wild happened and with that came fame and a much broader international audience. It was astounding and glorious, but it didn’t, for me, mark the beginning of the sense that I’d arrived as a writer. I was already there and I’m still here—working my tail off. That’s the magic formula: work.

Lisa: One of the most life-changing lessons I’ve learned over the past ten years is the power of embracing all of my life experience, and this is something you write about as well. Why is this idea of owning and learning to love all of your experience (even the stuff that makes us cringe or that would normally make us feel shame), why is it so important?

Cheryl: I’ve long believed our mistakes and failures teach us as much as our victories and successes. When you acknowledge the full spectrum of your possibility—as both someone who can be great and as someone who is sometimes not so great—you can bring the full force of your humanity to everything you do.

Lisa: What for you is the best part of getting older?

Cheryl: Feeling more secure about who I am. Feeling stronger about being okay with disappointing people. Putting up less of a facade. Being gentler with myself and others, too.

Lisa: What do you think is the relationship between forgiveness and the ability to age joyfully?

Cheryl: I’ve written about forgiveness a lot and it all pretty much boils down to the fact that when you can’t forgive people who have harmed you (or forgive yourself for the harm you’ve done to others) you stay locked in that struggle. Forgiveness is, to me, really acceptance. Accepting that what’s true is true. It’s saying, this is the way it was and onward we go.

Lisa: What are the three greatest lessons you’ve learned in the last ten years?

Cheryl: 1. Saying no is one form of saying yes. 2. Our ideas about famous people are projections of who we are, not a reflection of who they are. 3. Everyone struggles. Everyone hurts. Everyone wants to be told it’s all going to be okay.

Lisa: What advice do you have for women who fear getting older?

Cheryl: The fear of getting older is about the false notion that one’s power was rooted in the things that youth offers us—namely, beauty. My advice would be to see that for the lie that it always was. Our power is never about how pretty we are. Our power is about how we live our lives. Start living it.


A Glorious Freedom by Lisa Congdon publishes on 03 October 2017. Find out more here. 

See the stunning book trailer here

F*CK THAT’S DELICIOUS | RECIPE

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Part cookbook, part memoir, part travelogue, and wholly original, F*ck, That’s Delicious is rapper Action Bronson’s comprehensive guide to the food, chefs, food makers, regions, neighborhoods, and restaurants that every food obsessive should know. Organised as a full-colour illustrated guide with 100 entries, the book captures all the foods that get to him: When his mama makes him a good ol’ bagel and cheese with scrambled eggs. The tacos in LA. Dominican chimis. Jamaican jerk. Hand-rolled pasta from Mario Batali and Michael White. The best Chinese red-pork char siu buns in the world, found in London. And more, lots more. F*ck, That’s Delicious also includes 40 recipes inspired by Action’s childhood, family, tours, and travels—like the Arslani Family Baklava and Bronson’s Original Lamb Burger—and adapted from name-brand chefs and street cooks he’s met on his show. Richly visual, the book is layered with illustrations and photographs of Action’s childhood, food excursions, tours, lyric notebooks, and more.

The following recipe is from F*ck That’s Delicious by Action Bronson, with Rachel Wharton, photographs by Gabriele Stabile


Photographs by Gabriele Stabile
Photographs by Gabriele Stabile

Flatbreads with Ricotta and Pickled Jalapeño Honey

Olive oil before, during and after.

MAKES 4 FLATBREAD PIZZAS

This started as a Neapolitan-style pie I made for myself at my birthday party at Otto, but it is also banging as a flat-bread pizza on leftover Balkan bread like the ones on the previous page. I like to use La Morena pickled jalapeños as they have a good kick to them. Pair it with a ginger ale.

  • 1 12 ounce (340g) bear of clove honey
  • 3 pickled jalapeños, diced
  • Calabrian chile oil, optional
  • 4 Balkan flatbreads or thick pitas
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces (245g) good-quality ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup (135g) hazelnuts

1. Preheat your broiler and set out a sheet pan.

2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the clover honey and the pickled jalapeños. If you want, swirl in a little Calabrian chile oil for color too. Set aside.

3. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of the breads, then spread each with of the ricotta cheese and sprinkle on of the hazelnuts. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil again.

4. Coat the bottom of a small skillet with olive oil, then heat it over medium-high. Add one of the flatbread pizzas and cook just until the bottom has toasted. Remove it to the sheet pan and repeat with the remaining 3 pies.

5. Toast the pies under the broiler until the edges of the bread and the top of the hazelnuts are well toasted. Drizzle on some of the pickled chile-honey (you’ll have some left over, but it keeps forever), then some more olive oil and eat right away.


F*ck That’s Delicious by Action Bronson, with Rachel Wharton, photographs by Gabriele Stabile is out now – find out more here. 

You could win a copy of F*ck That’s Delicious, a meal for two at Pitt Cue Co in London and a free bottle of Pitt Cue wine over at Munchies UK. Find out more here!

Learn about STAR WARS™ KIRIGAMI with Marc Hagan-Guirey

Get FOLDING for Force Friday II…

In STAR WARS™ KIRIGAMI, celebrated paper artist and designer Marc Hagan-Guirey applies his genius to the Star Wars galaxy in this book of 15 unique kirigami (cut and-fold) ships featured in the saga’s films. Ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert, each beautifully detailed model features step-by-step instructions and a template printed on cardstock—all that’s needed are a utility knife, a cutting mat, and a ruler!

Curious?

We asked Marc everything you need to know about the world of kirigami, getting started with the craft and his interest in Star Wars:

Photograph by Seamus Ryan
Photograph by Seamus Ryan

What is kirigami?

Kirigami is a bit like origami except that instead of just folding the paper, you cut it too. ‘Ori’ - means fold and ‘kiri’ means cut. Kirigami is traditionally used to create architectural replicas but it’s perfectly suitable for spaceships too! The cool thing about kirigami is that it’s just one sheet of paper – nothing is glued or added to it. It’s part of the joy that you can create something so interesting from a ubiquity of a piece of paper.

How did you get started creating kirigami?

I feel like it was a bit of a serendipitous moment that lead to me experimenting with the craft. I’m a big fan of the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and back in 2012 my partner and I told a few white lies to get a private tour of one of his most elusive buildings – the Ennis House in LA. It was a condemned building and had been out of bounds to the public for over 20 years. We may have told them we had the $14 million needed to buy it and were very keen to come and see it. The experience had a huge impact on me – I’d go as far as saying it was spiritual. I wanted to mark the occasion by making some of sort of memento. As a kid I always loved to craft, my currency was egg cartons, toilet roll tubes and cereal boxes (it still pains me to see these things put in the recycling) but as an adult we all know too well that life gets in the way. I’m a designer director in digital but I still had that yearning to use my hands again. When I was researching what to make, I happened upon examples of kirigami. I felt paper was the perfect material to make a replica of the Ennis House due to its fragility. I quickly saw that kirigami wasn’t just limited to buildings and I started making scenes from movies.

Is your book suitable for complete beginners of kirigami?

There are a few ‘beginner’ projects in the book to get you started. I feel kirigami is easy to advance in and you’ll soon want more challenging projects. The most important thing is to be patient, take breaks and enjoy the process. I find it meditative to concentrate and not be distracted by the ‘coke machine glow’ of mobile devices.

Do you need any special tools to do kirigami?

You need a few inexpensive things – a cutting matt, a metal ruler, an x-acto knife with replaceable blades. Also a toothpick will be really useful to pop out some of the smaller folds.

Why did you decide to create Star Wars ships using kirigami?

Why not?! It was more of a necessity for me. I was already creating Star Wars kirigami back when I started experimenting with it. The idea to do a ship focused book was suggested by Mike Siglain, the Creative Director of Lucasfilm publishing – he’s a man with good ideas.

Have you always been a Star Wars fan?

I’ve always been a Star Wars fan and was essentially born into it. I’m an 80s kid so never saw it first time around at the cinema but I have an older brother who was the right age. I feel a bit guilty now for commandeering all of his original Kenner action figures – it must have been torture for him to see his baby brother destroy them but I did just buy him a full scale licensed replica of Vader’s helmet for his 40th birthday so I think we’re even now.

How did the book come to be?

A lot of knocking on doors and badgering people with emails. I started talking to Lucasfilm about the idea in 2014. During that time I was invited to the set of Episode VII and in a serendipitous moment I ended up chatting to JJ Abrams about my work. He was really excited by it and frog marched me across the set of ‘Star Killer’ base to meet Kathleen Kennedy. It was the only time I ever had a business card in my wallet – albeit a very dog-eared one. I had an unofficial exhibition of Star Wars kirigami scenes in 2015 – it had a lot of press and went viral. Lots of big media outlets such as the BFI, Wired, BBC World News, CNN were covering it. I guess it was inevitable that Disney took notice and that dog-eared business card eventually made its way to the business development department. I thought I was in trouble when they called! I’ve got to say the process of working with Disney, Lucasfilm, my publisher Hachette and my US publisher Chronicle has been wonderful.

Click here to find out more about STAR WARS KIRIGAMI, which publishes today!

House of Ash | Extract

House of Ash

After hearing voices among an eerie copse of trees in the woods, seventeen-year-old Curtis must confront his worst fear: that he has inherited his father’s mental illness. A desperate search for answers leads him to a cursed mansion that burned down in 1894. When he glimpses a desperate girl in his bedroom mirror, he’s sure she’s one of the fire’s victims. But, more than 100 years in the past, the girl in the mirror is fighting her own battles…

This spine-tingling novel will have you captivated from the first page: click here to read an extract.


House of Ash by Hope Cook is out this September – order your copy today.

A Taxonomy of Love | Extract

A Taxonomy of Love

The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it’s . . . something at first sight. He knows she’s special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of “friend” gets messier, too.

Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn’t always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it’s this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.

Click here to read an extract from this swoon-worthy YA romance.

Have you fallen head-over-heels for A Taxonomy of Love? Let us know @ACBYA using #TaxonomyOfLove


 

A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen is out January 2018 – click here to pre-order your copy!