Scrolling, Old Style

Before digital, there were books1. And before books2, there were scrolls.


This scroll, pictured with a teaspoon for size, was made out two sheets of ordinary A4 printer paper.

I folded each sheet into three equal parts, longways, then wrote across it in columns, as you see in the other photo.


I carefully tore the narrow strips apart, and stitched them together, end to end, with an ordinary needle and cotton thread, using backstitch (stronger than running stitch).

The immediate inspiration for this particular scroll was the memory of my school teacher Mr Cutler, who composed songs on a massive scroll that he carried to and from lessons, unrolling it to the relevant place for us to sing from while he played piano.

The inspiration for his own scroll, I strongly suspect (though it’s only a guess) was the Torah, the sacred scroll containing books of the Hebrew Bible.

As you see, I addressed this scroll to Claudia, who like me was taught by Mr Cutler – but it has been sitting on my desk for four months. Claudia, if you’re reading: sorry.

1 Obviously, there are still books today.

2 In this particular phrase, I mean “codex”.