a Wish Scroll
of the best things about the internet is the way it brings together
people with common interests who would never otherwise meet.
been corresponding with Lillian, a Norwegian lady, whose hobby
is also bookbinding and whose English is so good that it's difficult
to believe it isn't her first language. She happened to ask
if I'd ever made a wish scroll. Not only had I never made one,
but I'd never even heard of them. When I checked them out, I
found that they originated in Nigeria where they are used as
a talisman. Apparently people there write a prayer, cure or
wish on a small scroll, which they then store in a leather or
metal container. I loved the idea and it was interesting to
find that many of the links I found were to bookbinding websites.
When I started to make them myself, I understood why they were
so appealing to bookbinders.
you like what you see, wish scrolls like the one below can be
bought in my online
shop, which gives all its profits to PDSA,
the UK's largest veterinary charity.
Each scroll costs £9.99 inclusive of p&p.
began by using up the small scraps of leather that all bookbinders
have lying around, but found that chromium dyed leather, which
is much softer than bookbinding leather was much easier with
which to work and produced a better finish.
chromium dyed leather I had here was left over from a previous
addiction to covering empty and well washed cat food tins in
leather and turning them into pencil holders. (You had to see
them, but they sold very well and raised a satisfying sum for
PDSA, the charity with whom I'm a registered volunteer.) The
leather was far too thick to use for such a tiny item as a wish
scroll however, so the first step was to put it through the
paring machine. The piece draped over the top is the "waste".
on the picture to see the difference in the thickness of the
leather after it has been pared. It is now no more than a millimetre
thick and very pliable.
needs 4 separate pieces of leather.
When I first
began, I made card templates as the measurements have to be precise
for the finished containers to look good and, most importantly,
so that the lids are a snug fit. (I also discovered that, unlike
much of the maths I learnt at school, 2TTr
still has its practical uses!)
economical layout is for 2 wish scrolls, so I've used the templates
to draw outlines of 2 on the leather.
is carefully cut out, and despite already having been pared once,
the edges are pared again so that they are almost paper thin.
the picture to see a close up of the pared leather..
piece of preparation is to cut wedges out of one end of the leather
which will go around the body of the container and also out of
the round piece of leather that will cover the lid. This gives
a neater finish.
is to cut a carcass for the container out of card. Again, there
are 4 separate pieces and again, the measurements are very precise.
When I acquired
a compass cutter a couple of years ago, because it happened to
be in a pack that contained something else I wanted, I had no
idea it would be so useful!
rectangular piece of card and the smaller disc make the tube.
The tube is held together with masking tape and a dab of PVA on
the rim holds the disc in place. I find it easiest to work with
the tube fitted onto the shank of an old brush. At this stage
it is quite a loose fit.
lid is made in much the same way with masking tape holding the rim
together and a dab of PVA fixing the top in place. The button is
an exact fit and helps to keep the shape of the lid nice and round.
is glued to the side of tube and the overlap eased over and pressed
onto the card base with a bone folder. The wedges that were taken
out ensure that it lies flat.
is taken off the brush shank and the overlap at the top turned
in and smoothed down with a bone folder. When it is put back onto
the brush shank it is a very neat fit indeed, which helps to make
it perfectly round.
of the 2 leather circles is glued onto the bottom of the container
to neaten it off. Because the leather at the very edges has been
so finely pared, the join is unobtrusive.
circle of leather is glued to the lid and again, the wedges of
leather that were cut out ensure that there are no overlaps on
the apparently changing colours of the leather, due to the varying
light and my shortcomings as a photographer, the same piece of
leather has been used from start to finish.)
The lid is
finished off by adding the long narrow strip of leather to the
rim. The join where it meets the top is worked with a bone folder
to obtain as seamless a finish as possible. The bone folder is
also used to smooth out the turn-in.
The lid is
a snug enough fit that when the container is held upside down,
it still remains in place.
made by the compass cutter when I cut out the card circles are
useful guides for where to pierce the leather so that the ribbon
and ornamentation can be added.
is drawn through the bottom of the container with a crochet hook
and the beads are tied to it with the ends of the filament on
which they are strung. The filament is then drawn through to the
inside of the container and trimmed.
I like to
include natural materials in the decoration and these brown stone
chips match the leather very well. I have no idea what they are,
but I bought them from a reputable shop and am assured they are
some kind of semi precious stone. My guess would be jasper, but
I'm a bookbinder, not a jeweller, so I could very easily be wrong!
ribbon is drawn through the lid and a bead and a lobster clasp
are added. Finally the wish scroll itself is inserted. The coin
is a 10p piece, to give an idea of the finished size.
the ribbon on this one very short, partly because it's much easier
to photograph, but mostly because this wish scroll will be stay
here with me and I like to hang them from a handbag.
scroll shown in these pictures was made on 17th and 18th August
wish scrolls are available in the
online shop on the main website Catsup.
They cost £9.99 each, inclusive of p&p.
All profits from their sale are given to PDSA,
the UK's largest veterinary charity.