Smell the coffee, by Gwen Simpson, Leigh on Sea, Essex, UK, is an amazing piece of work, tucked away, for safe keeping,  in one of the Lit & Phil’s glass cabinets.  The Inventory of al-Mutanabbi Street has contributions from a wide spectrum of artists and practitioners. Gwen gives an insightful account into the  process of making her book.  The exhibition continues until the end of September, with an evening of readings taking place 23rd September at the Lit & Phil.

Trying to understand something that happened in a place that at first felt so different from mine was difficult, until I began to think about my own town and the coffee shops, booksellers and print shops. After a few false starts and complicated beginnings, I stumbled upon the idea of re-using dried coffee filters, cleaned, folded and torn into four with Coptic stitch to hold the pages together.  

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Using only the coffee filters from my one morning cup of coffee, rather than set up a production line was important.  As the message/poem on the inside of the front cover alludes to this ritual and meditative quality of that first peaceful morning cup of coffee. 


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