With students' work-in-progress filling the bindery, there's been no need to feel guilty about reading, rather than making, books this week. I'm part way through Orhan Pahmuk's My Name is Red, a glorious novel about a secret (and blasphemous) book put together in Istanbul at the end of the 16th century by the Ottoman Empire's best calligraphers, gilders, miniaturists and binders. Just a few pages in, I came across the following declaration by one of the characters: "To avoid disappointment in art, one mustn't treat it as a career. Despite whatever great artistic sense and talent a man might possess, he ought to seek money and power elsewhere to avoid forsaking his art when he fails to receive proper compensation for his gifts and efforts". It triggered memories of the business plans and prototypes (one of which is pictured above) that I put together when I was seriously considering trying to make a living as a full time bookbinder. I ultimately decided that heading down this track would quickly kill my passion for my art and held on to my day job. For me, it was the right decision. As New York photographer Bill Cunningham put it so succinctly, 'If they are not paying you, they cannot tell you what to do".