How To Be Both

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Bound by Kate Holland

How To Be Both
by Ali Smith

A very special birthday present. A favourite novel rebound in a contemporary fine binding that reflects the text. We sourced a signed, first edition of Ali Smith's How To Be Both and rebound it in Hewit's Alum Tawed Goatskin, hand-dyed with gold tooling to a design created in collaboration with the client.

It's such a joy to be commissioned to read such a wonderful book. The overarching themes concern androgyny, bisexuality and transgenderism and society's view of them past and present. The one particular character who seems to embody all these is the effeminate boy holding the hoop and arrow depicted in the allegorical fresco by Francesco del Cossa representing March. There is so much throughout the book referring to the fluidity between the sexes that it seemed obvious to use the male and female gender symbols, originally derived from the symbols for mirror and spear, but here alluding back to the hoop and the arrow. And as a background colour to emulate the cracked plasterwork of the original fresco in the Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara which translates literally as The Palace or Escaping Boredom! Sounds like the best building ever.

Kate is happy to undertake commissions for design bindings.

For further examples of her work please go to


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