The first dummy of Other Mothers is made, and I am very, very fond of it.

I wanted everything about the dummy to be in keeping with the content it contains.

Various ideas for how the book will be presented have crossed my mind. I initially wanted something child-like so that the book itself might resemble a toy of some sort.

Then I began to think about my father as mother-father, that status of being more than one thing, brought visually home in Other Mothers by the boat brush (with which I used to play as a child).

Boat Brush

Might the book be packaged within a child’s float for example, or might I devise the spine in some way to accommodate a brush?

I have settled on something more understated, which I hope is of itself quietly consistent with the work.

Having had Other Mothers repeatedly described as “multi-layered” I sought out a binding that might reflect that in some way. I’ve chosen recycled birch plywood for the covers. It is cost-effective, easily worked and both smooth and warm to the touch.

I will be interested to explore its longevity as a covering as I have small concerns about its response to fluctuations in air moisture etc and the long-term stability of the glue between the layers.

Stitched using a seven hole kettle stitching technique through each folio, the book block itself is sturdy and lies flat with pages turning easily. I’ve included a book mark using the same string which appears in the second image of Fiona and it is ended with a small piece of blue Lego, which again references a small piece of text contained within relating Lego to a wish to make a world more manageable which in turn references the act of photographing.

Other Mothers, page detail

I’ve chosen light blue start and end pages to tie in with the cover image and a dominant colour throughout the work.

I’ve also taken delivery of a lower cost zine format printed by the Newspaperclub. The quality of the printing is great, but unless I print in very large numbers – more than 100 – the cost saving over self-binding in plywood might not be economically worthwhile. I am getting quotes for printing the book blocks so that I can arrive at a precise unit cost of both. The plywood hard version is so much more pleasing to hold and view.

The most important thing to have happened this week with Other Mothers was receiving the verdict on the work by Prof Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, the evolutionary anthropologist whose research provides the theoretical underpinnings of the work, and which led to my decision to include my father as an Other Mother. Her work also provided the context in which the work was discussed with my Other Mothers and enabled various enlightening conversations which would not have happened otherwise.

Her response is something I will for the main keep private. But it was hugely supportive and included an “elbow bump” from California, which made my day.

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