HARVEST BOOK


A Book that Blooms


The harvest book is at the same time in and out of folklore

— STOPAN


THE HARVEST BOOK is a small manuscript containing two songs dedicated to the Sun and the harvest. They are written and decorated on specially made handmade paper and then bound in a flowering body of goatskin, cotton and silver.


THE SONGS


Първа Песен

Слънчо ле, ела ни пекни
ела ти де пек не стъпва
не стъпва, не хич припарва
че тука сенка дебела,
дебела, Слънчо дълбока.
Не капва ни дъжд, ни роса
не теква, че студ ни мъчи,
че втвърди от лед на камък,
на камък, Слънчо водата,
водата, наща скъпата
тая де живец ни дава,
тая де пръст черна храни,
пръст суха, Слънчо безплодна
безплодна, ма още жива
чака тя, да са полейе
пък от теб, чист лъч да глътне
да глътне, Слънчо да роди
пак бяла, едра пшеница
пшеница, чернокласица
да пълни, клети амбари
клети ле, Слънчо паднале
Грейни ни, пак да се стоплим
да стоплим, да разтупкаме
тая гръд, пуста ледена
че ни нас, Слънчо лъгаха
че ни нас, люто проклеха
Онез две, лами бродници,
бродници, житомамници
Два класа, Слънчо късаха
Два класа, от всека нива
Две чепки, от всеко лозе
Две дини, от всеки бостан
Тъй тия, Слънчо вещици
крадоха, не се спираха
не спряха, та пренесоха
все зрял плод от наща земя,
от наща, Слънчо на друга
На друга, земя дяволска.
Там, дето не щеш да грееш
не грееш, що друго съмва
Таз земя, Слънчо все свети
все свети, що са две слънца
Две слънца, кат кръв алени
две булки им брачно пеят
Две булки, Слънчо – месечини
На хоро се вият, гледат
гледат те, броят що жънат
що жънат, мамени момци
Сто момци, Слънчо лъгани
Лъгани от онез лами
Ламите, житомамници
Та изгрей, тука лъч топъл
По-топъл, Слънчо, по-жежък
От онез, две лоши слънца
де греят на кър дяволски
Твоя лъч, че пак ще пусне,
ще пусне, Слънчо водата
Да пои, нежно полята
Полята и гърла сухи,
Съхнали, веч напукани,
Молят се, Слъчно за капка,
за капка, за светъл ручей
за момци, бързо прибрани
за жътва, зряла обилна
За тебе, Слъчно прекрасни.

First Song

O SUN, COME SHINE UPON US
COME, WHERE THE LIGHT DOES NOT
DOES NOT COME, DOES NOT DARE
FOR A THICK SHADOW IS HERE
THICK, O SUN, AND DEEP
WITH NO RAIN AND NO DEW
NOTHING FLOWS, COLD IS UPON US
IT HARDENED THE ICE TO STONE
TO STONE, O SUN, OUR WATER
OUR WATER, OUR DEAREST
SHE, WHO GIVES US LIFE
WHO FEEDS THE BLACK SOIL
SOIL DRY, O SUN, BARREN
BARREN BUT STILL ALIVE
WAITING TO BE WATERED
FROM YOU, A PURE RAY TO SWALLOW
TO SWALLOW, O SUN, TO GIVE BIRTH
TO WHITE AGAIN, HEARTY WHEAT
TO WHEAT, OF OUR PUREST KIND
TO FILL, OUR CURSED BARNS
CURSED, O SUN, IN RUINS
SHINE UPON US, LET US BE WARM AGAIN
LET US BE WARM, LET US THUMP
WITH OUR CHEST, COLD AND WASTING
FOR WE WERE, O SUN, TRICKED
FOR WE WERE, BADLY CURSED
THOSE TWO, LAMIA WITCHES
WITCHES, GRAINSNATCHERS
TWO SHEAFS, O SUN, THEY TEARED
TWO SHEAFS, FROM EVERY FIELD
TWO GRAPES, FROM EACH VINYARD
TWO MELONS, FROM EACH BOSTAN
THESE, O SUN, THESE WITCHES
THEY STOLE AND DIDN’T STOP
DIDN’T STOP AND TOOK
ALL THE RIPE FRUIT FROM OUR LAND
FROM OUR, O SUN, TO ANOTHER
TO ANOTHER, A LAND DEVILISH
THERE, WHERE YOU DON’T SHINE
YOU DON’T, FOR SOMETHING ELSE DAWNS
THIS LAND, O SUN, IS ALWAYS ALIGHT
ALWAYS ALIGHT, FOR THERE ARE TWO SUNS
TWO SUNS, LIKE BLOOD CRIMSON
WITH TWO BRIDES, ALWAYS SINGING
TWO BRIDES, O SUN, TWO MOONS
TWISTED IN DANCE, THEY WATCH
THEY WATCH, COUNT THOSE WHO HARVEST
WHO HARVEST, OUR TRICKED YOUNG MEN
A HUNDRED MEN, O SUN, LIED TO
LIED TO BY THOSE LAMIAS
THE LAMIAS, THE GRAINSNATCHERS
SO SHINE, A WARM RAY HERE
WARMER, O SUN, HOTTER
FROM THOSE TWO EVIL SUNS
WHO SHINE ON THE DEVILISH FIELD
YOU RAY WILL AGAIN FREE
WILL FREE, O SUN, THE WATER
TO MOIST AGAIN, LIGHTLY OUR FIELDS
OUR FIELDS AND DRY MOUTHS
DRY AND THROATS BRITTLE
PRAY, O SUN, FOR A DROP
FOR A DROP, FOR A FRESH STREAM
FOR OUR MEN, SWIFTLY BROUGHT BACK
FOR A HARVEST, RIPE AND LARGE
FOR YOU, O SUN DEAREST

Втора Песен

Чудо е, чудо тук стана
изря пак, Слънчo прекрасни
събуди, жадни юнаци
събуди, гладни невести
невести, млади гиздави
Жънат те, бели засмени
бели по черната нива
черна, со бели биволи
биволи, дърпат те тежко
каруци, пълни ковчези
връз пълни со златно зърно
златно кат Слънчо гидия
вирнат там, не ще да слезе
не слиза от три дни вече
взе нощта Слънчо за своя
държи я, не ще да пуска
дорде не всичко узрее
дорде не грозде се пукне
дорде не клас се прекърши
Тичат все, бързи жътварки
бързи кат сто пеперуги
подир тях, мек дъжд се сипе
благо ръси, ситна росица
Борят се те една друга
коя ще, ерген наджъни
коя ще, повеч прибере
да пече, че пак вси момци
вси момци, со пълна торба
пресна те пита да носят
пекната во слънчева пещ
пещ мощна, едра могила
Пратиха момци петлите
там отвъд, при земя долна
да пеят, да вечно будят
пустият, черен там дявол
да не спи, да не хич ляга
все нива, той да забрави
все лозе, той да не помни
да жънат, дорде остане
само сноп от свита брада
брадата, там на нивата
да роди, пак догодина
да бъде силна земята
да сипе дъждец небето
пак тежки, пълни каруци
да дърпат, бели волове
волове, со роги красни
красни со прежди червени
Бре, Слънчо, как ни опази
от пуста дълбока сянка
как пусна пак бистри потоци
как поля пак черни ниви
от камък вода потече
потече, жажда потули
вземи ти таз пита, Слънчо
бъди сит, па ни споминай
споминай, до догодина
тогаз пак, топло да грееш
пак лозе, ти да отрупаш
пак зърно, клас да навежда
Но иди, Слънчо легни си
че три дни, ти веч не лягаш
поспи пак, ела по утро
по утро нас да пробудиш
Пръв поглед, тебе да зърне.

Second Song

MIRACLE, MIRACLE HERE HAPPENED
HE SHINED AGAIN, OUR SUN DEAREST
HE WOKE, OUR THIRSTY HEROES
HE WOKE, OUR HUNGRY BRIDES
BRIDES, YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL
THE HARVEST, BRIGHT AND SMILING
BRIGHT ON THE BLACK SOIL
BLACK, WITH WHITE BUFFALOS
BUFFALOS THAT CARRY HEAVY
CARRIAGES, FILLED TO THE TOP
FILLED WITH GOLDEN GRAINS
GOLDEN LIKE OUR DEAR SUN
HIGH UP THERE, DOESN’T COME DOWN
DOESN’T COME DOWN, FOR THREE DAYS NOW
OUR SUN TOOK THE NIGHT AS HIS
HOLDS HER, DOESN’T LET GO
UNTIL ALL IS RIPE
UNTIL ALL GRAPES BURST
UNTIL ALL CROPS FALL HEAVY
RUNNING, FAST HARVESTER
FAST LIKE A HUNDRED BUTTERFLIES
FOLLOWED BY A SOFT RAIN
KINDLY SPRINKLING, TINY DROPLETS
THEY BATTLE EACH OTHER
WHO WILL THE BACHELORS OUTHARVEST
WHO WILL TAKE IN MORE
TO BAKE, FOR ALL THE MEN
ALL MEN, WITH A FILLED BAG
EACH TO CARRY A LOAF
BAKED IN A SUNNY FURNACE
A STRONG FURNACE, A TALL MOUND
THE MEN SENT THE ROOSTERS
OUT BEYOND, INTO THE LOW LANDS
TO SING, TO FOREVER WAKE
THE DIRTY, BLACK DEVIL
TO NEVER SLEEP, TO NEVER LAY
ALL FIELDS, MUST HE FORGET
ALL VINYARD, MUST HE MISPLACE
ALL HARVEST, UNTIL IT’S LEFT
ONLY A TIGHT SHEAF OF BEARD
THE BEARD, THERE IN THE FIELD
TO GIVE BIRTH, NEXT YEAR AGAIN
THE LET THE SOIL BE STRONG
TO LET THE RAIN FALL
AGAIN HEAVY, FILLED CARRIAGES
TO BE PULLED BY WHITE BUFFALOS
BUFFALOS WITH CRIMSON HORNS
CRIMSON WITH RED WOOLEN YARN
O SUN, HOW YOU HAVE SAVED US
FROM THE BARREN DEEP SHADOW
HOW YOU FREED AGAIN THE STREAMS
HOW YOU WATERED TO BLACK FIELDS
YOU DREW WATER FROM THE STONE
IT FLOWED, ENDING ALL THIRST
TAKE THIS BREAD, O SUN
EAT WELL AND REMEMBER US
REMEMER, UNTIL NEX YEAR
FOR YOU, TO SHINE WARM AGAIN
TO MAKE HEAVY AGAIN THE VINYARDS
TO MAKE ALL CROPS BEND
BUT GO NOW, O SUN, LIE DOWN
FOR THREE DAYS, YOU HAVEN’T SLEPT
GO SLEEP NOW, COME BACK MORROW
MORROW, FOR YOU TO WAKE US
OUR FIRST GLANCE, YOU TO CHERISH


Both songs were written by me and are in a way day and night in accords to the idea of ​​the book. The first song is lamenting, it is a kind of request to the Sun to come to the aid of the people, to save them from the difficult times and the evil forces that have attacked them. People turn to him as to an older brother, with a lot of love but also deep respect. I imagined that this was a better way to look at the Sun than, say, as a king. The brother is a much more approachable figure. He is someone you know is there and ready to help you because he is more capable and experienced than you are.

The second song is more festive, praising and thankful. The Sun has already come to the rescue and people are listing its benefits as well as their consequences. Already enriched with his warmth and courage, people try to help themselves in some way too, to strengthen the good that has befallen them, but also to thank the Sun properly. This gratitude will ensure his goodwill and willingness to help in the future

Like most Bulgarian folk songs, these two do not have a rhyme in the verse. However, they are formed by syllables on the structure of 3 + 5 syllables of a stanza in a total of 65 stanzas , each placed on a separate page.


The paper is made by hand, here in the bindery from the quantities of paper scraps from previous works. Initially, they are cast in A4 sheets and subsequently cut and folded to A7 format. To prevent ink and paint from bleeding, it was sized with starch paste on both sides and re-dried and pressed. The sheets were sorted and paired in signatures of 4 sheets each and written according to the arrangement.

The writing is done with pen and ink, and the drawings with brush and acrylic inks dissolved in water.


THE BINDING


The most striking feature of the bindings are its endbands. The road leading to them started with my curiosity of a particular type of Gothic binding which had it’s endbands actually being saddle stitched covering leather to their core. This led me to consider adding a different piece of thinned leather as an endband, expanding decorative horizons while performing a quite firm form of protection as well.

I did a few experiments, such as tooling this particular leather piece like on the “BIRCH GROVE” book, also expanding and splitting it, for example in the “WHERE THE LEAVES FALL” Journal.

Considering endbands being a sculptural element of the book was the next step of the evolution of this idea. I already had the firm method of attachment and the trust of leather and its strength to move things forward.

This set of endbands is pushing the decorative aspect of things above the functional. That doesn’t mean that a fair bit of engineering hasn’t gone into them nonetheless. Each flower strand is reinforced with twisted twine, over which the leather has been stitched. The head of the flowers are woven balls of linen thread, later covered in thinned leather pieces at key points, while leaving a few areas open to act as a base to the additions of leather petals and cotton threads.

The first picture is the bottom endband, while the second is the top. It being a bit more simple than the lower counterpart but having the interesting property of “blooming” as the book is opened. This is possible because the 5 small flowers are a bit too much for the width of the book and when closed are 2 over 3.



The other new element is the cotton wreath-sun piece attached to the spine of the book. In essence, it is made on the principle of an embroidered endband but woven in a circle instead of in a line. On the blue-green piece of leather, an odd number of holes are made to which a twisted cord hoop is stitched. Then the cotton thread is wound around the seams of the hoop until it covers the whole, thus completing the wreath.

The rays are tied bundles of thread around the bottom of the seams. The same holes were eventually used to sew the entire element to the yellow leather of the binding.


The fittings are again the work of my father Ivo Daskalov. They are made of 925 sterling silver and consist of 8 buttons, 4 on each cover and one clasp on the outer edge, the bases of which are also buttons. The silver hardware is the most classic element of the bindings and create a calm and symmetrical frame of the otherwise wilder rest of the decoration. The contrast between the classic type of hardware and avant-garde decorative elements ground the book in some way in our eyes.


The special shape of the book and its elements required the construction of a suitable type of box for it. In this case, it was made in two parts. The upper one serves as a cover, and the lower one to fit the book itself. Two volumetric attachments were made to hold the book at the top and bottom, but at the same time leave room for the endbands to be freely placed in the space without deforming.

The box is covered with linen fabric and for extra strength, each lid has an additional leather panel. It serves both for protection from surfaces and for gripping when opening.



The decoration on the cover itself is a mixture of blind tooling, sewn leather onlays and gold tooling. It is largely an attempt to improve the technique used in the making of our “FOUR GOSPELS” from 2019. The leather pieces are pre-decorated in blind, pasted, punctured and sewn to the main piece with linen thread. The gold decoration was made only on the red leather pieces, and after the book was already bound. For the job, 24 carat transfer sheet gold was used, as I was afraid that a free gold sheet would stick to the seams.


THE CONCEPT



From the very beginning, my idea was to link the book with Bulgarian folklore, with a custom or ritual practice performed now or in the past. The main problem with this idea was that books have never occupied such a place in our traditions. Examples of beautiful fitted hand-bound books are largely limited to liturgical books such as the Gospels, the Hourglass, the Psalms, and so on. However, in the past, literacy was a privilege mostly for church people, for a teacher here and there. I even wonder if illiteracy to a large extent has given impetus to this lively and colorful tangle of folk ideas, customs and beliefs that were prevalent in the village communities. The question was, how to connect the book as a folk art object with them, but in some credible way?

In the end, I decided that I would just use folklore as a framework to build something fantastic onto. Something non-existent, but not so isolated, not so impossible to have existed in some remote geographical or supernatural corner of Bulgaria. Maybe some continuation and development of the handmade book, if the practice in the past was not interrupted.

As the name Harvest Book suggests, it is to be used at harvest, but under certain circumstances. I imagined that the Harvest Book was a family heirloom filled with the most treasured songs about fertility of the said family. Representatives of this household either made themselves or commissioned this book to be written and bound. Its goal, however, is not so much to serve the family, as they pass these songs on by word of mouth anyway. The goal is, if another family has the feeling that its harvest is in danger, that the crops may not be good, then to ask for the Harvest Book of another household to sing foreign songs in its field.

This singing is done at the time of reading and the idea is that these songs cannot be memorized by the requesting family and thus the treasure of the giving family can be respected. There are two songs, the first being to beg the Sun or another force that the respective household has chosen, to arouse pity in her and to encourage her to help. The second is sung after the harvest is done for gratitude. The reason for singing foreign songs in the field is inspired by the practice of replacing the crops from time to time, so as not to deplete the soil. The belief in this case is that singing another’s song revives the life force of the earth in the same way, but in a supernatural way.

The fact that you have to formally request the Harvest Book from others also has a moral effect, from the point of view that it encourages good relations with the neighbors, as you may have to ask for their help.

In conclusion, the Harvest Book unites in itself the respect for the earth and the elements, for the family and the past and future generations, but also for literature, education, and enlightenment as a treasured value.

The book is with dimensions of 10.5 x 8 cm or 4.1 x 3.1 inches.


A Film About the Work



THE WORK IS AVAILABLE TO BE INCLUDED IN THE COLLECTION OF A CONNOISSEUR OF OUR WORK. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, PLEASE CONTACT US VIA THE CONTACT FORM ON OUR WEBSITE.

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