The Songlines

  • The Songlines
  • By Bruce Chatwin
  • Illustrated by Simon Pemberton
  • The Folio Society, 2010
  • Book: 230mm x 165mm x 42mm
  • Box: 245mm x 177mm x 72mm
  • Bound in 2011
  • Private Collection, USA

Full leather binding in yellow goatskin with black back-pared leather onlays.
The leather is embroidered over the onlays and through the body leather with silk and metallic threads in gold, orange, purple, brown, white, black and rust.
Lathe-turned coloured frosted acrylic ‘windows’ are set in to the front and back boards. These have hand pierced and drilled details on the front and back.
Three gold-plated, hand-shaped and patterned brass pieces are inserted through the book covers to represent the largest ants eyes. Carbon tooling and flecks of gold tooling are scattered over the whole book, tooled using hand made finishing tools.
Acrylic-painted edges tooled with carbon and gold foil.
Soft-plate off-set printed endpapers and doublures, designed so the ants walk around the Perspex ‘holes’. Both are tooled with gold foils.

Description of Design  

In the book there are references to honey ants which is what I have based my design on. Honey ants (or ‘repletes’, as they are also known) are ants that are gorged with food so that their abdomens swell enormously. Other ants then extract nourishment from them, they function essentially as living larders. They are found deep underground and are valued highly during time of little food and water.
The endpapers are made from a hand-drawn original, the ants are specifically laid out so they walk around the holes in the doublure.