I have long been in love with a book, A Different Kind of Luxury: Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance by Andy Couturier. What I love about this book is that it contains the stories of folks that, raised within the tumult of Japan's industrial powerhouse, have made the choice to diverge and lead simplified, sustainable lives of ongoing inquiry that are deeply fulfilling. This book contains the stories of eleven artists, activists, philosophers, educators, makers, farmers, and poets who reside deep in the mountains of rural Japan. Their lifestyles have been intentionally refined to include the depth and beauty of a life filled with art, nature, contemplation, nourishing food, and an abundance of time. I think this book offers a very relevant reflection for our times. It is a book that I read to recenter myself. It is one that I also share with my students within the classroom, as I think that the stories and voices of the individuals carried within express the much needed wisdom, beauty, and guidance that we need to survive and live meaningfully.
I was happy to learn that the author of this book is local to Santa Cruz, and had the pleasure of meeting him at one of our local Farmer's Markets. This connection led us totalking about possibly creating a limited edition of hand-bound copies of A Different Kind of Luxury to support future publication of this book.
To begin, I hand-bound two sample books with materials that I thought were suitable and supported the stories throughout the book. The hardcovers are bound in indigo dyed cave paper, as well as graphite cave paper made from (strong!) flax fiber. The books are sewn with waxed linen thread and given additional structural support with old redwood scraps prepared by my fella, artist and craftsman Vincent Waring. Here are some images of the completed books--