Since the 1920s the Belgian factory Gevaert accidentally disposed tons of silver as a by-product of the production of photographic film. This outflow ended up in a nearby border creek. For its sludge coloured black by the ­silver, this creek was popularly called ­Zilverbeek (Silver Creek). In 1927 a tool maker working at the factory ­realised the kind of fortune the factory was washing away on a daily basis. The man invented a system to recover the silver from the sludge. He secretly drained the stream, and transported the dried sludge to a local metallurgical plant where the silver was extracted. The man recovered up to half a ton of silver a year, more than enough for a generous salary. This story fascinated Lucas Leffler (BE), who extensively researched the events, and tried to reenact them by taking mud from the bottom of the Zilverbeek, trying to find traces of silver. While he didn’t find any silver, he finally used the mud to make ‘mud prints’, of which a reproduction has been added as a poster in this publication.

As Zilverbeek is about a very small story, we wanted the publication to be modest as well. Therefore we came up with a kind of inside-out binding. The centrefold spread contains the whole story and is made of cardboard. It gives physical structure to the book, but also separates the historic found footage in the first part and Lucas’ own photographs of his reenactment in the second part. As very little is known about the protagonist of the story, his portrait is on the cover, but hidden away behind a translucent dust cover made of very thin paper.

Zilverbeek – Silver Creek
Lucas Leffler, 2019

200 × 286 mm, 36 p (EN)
offset-printed cahier with cardboard
centrefold, translucent dust cover,
and folded poster as loose insert

SHORTLIST (student selection)
Best Dutch Book Design 2019

Edit i.c.w. Lucas Leffler 
Design i.c.w. Rob van Hoesel
Text edit by Joy Phillips
Production by Jos Morree
Print by Wilco Art Books (NL)
Binding by Patist (NL)

ISBN: 978-94-92051-44-8
Published by The Eriskay Connection
€ 20 (more information)