Get curated editors’ picks, peeks behind the scenes, film recommendations and more.
While a rarity on modern shelves, marbled book covers span both the globe and the centuries, with the craft found in East Asia, the Middle East and Europe, and dating back to roughly 1100 CE. This short documentary from 1970 highlights marbling as practised by William Chapman for the now-defunct Douglas Cockerell & Son Bindery in the English village of Grantchester near Cambridge. The film captures Chapman as he layers watercolours onto a base of carrageenan (or seaweed). He then forms intricate designs by stirring the pigments with a comb – in a process that’s perhaps even more aesthetically pleasing than the final product itself – before finally applying them to the paper. With each of Chapman’s designs crafted by hand and subject to artisanal imperfections, every cover is a true original.
Director: K V Whitbread
What is it like to clean the world for tomorrow while the rest of a city sleeps?
The nearly forgotten origin myth of Hawaii’s third-gender healers, as told by one
A whirlwind tour of Hong Kong’s high-rises is an awesome meditation on urbanity
An artist grapples with the loss of his brother, and the problem of canine abduction
Sports and games
After a day’s toil in California’s fields, labourers let loose in street races
History of technology
Remarkable historical footage is locked behind paywalls. It’s time to set it free
Thinkers and theories
Bigger isn’t better – the renegade ‘Buddhist economics’ of E F Schumacher
What do tropical fish make of the strange creatures who love them so?
Sports and games
You’ve likely never heard of the only woman drafted into the NBA – and that’s fine by her