Shiva’s suitcase

I am a magpie. I collect nice things with an idea of turning them into a piece of art one day. Rumour book was one example where I used antiques and shiny bits that I carried around for decades. Shiva’s suitcase is another. From time to time I feel like making a one-off exquisite journal, something special.

This one was based on a piece of carved and embossed Indian leather I scored years ago. It was too large to incorporate in an ordinary sized book, but it was too sumptuous to cut up to size. So I designed a book around it.

Text block is about 12 inches square, paper Edition 90gsm, about 400 pages.

Leather is wrapped around the case, so the central panel is extended with newbuck. Stitching is linen thread.

20 signatures are stitched onto tapes, glued onto mull, then glued into the finished case.

End papers are cut from old charts. For two reasons. Older charts were traditionally printed on thick high quality archival paper, and my prospective buyers mostly come from the Darwin waterfront, boat and ship owners.

Journal is large, ornate and intimidating. I could never write anything into it. The owner keeps it on the bridge of his motor yacht as a guest and visitor book. About a year later I made another variant on this design, as I had a pair of central pannels. Again, I wouldn’t dream of starting to scribble into it. It feels like a sacrilege and the journal is currently awaiting its new owner.

Photos by Nat from

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