Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Henry & David Whirlwind Book

Been feeling a bit gloomy lately-- several of the older members of my family have died recently. It's part of life, and they all lived long, industrious, humor-filled lives, but still. Sigh. To try cheer myself up, yesterday I started digging in my vast collection of paper left from earlier projects and decided to make a whirlwind book.

I've been reading about them--apparently the whirlwind book (xuanfeng zhuang) was invented in China. Not a lot is known about this binding structure, but it may have been used for rhyming dictionaries in the Tang Dynasty (CE 618-907). It seems to have been a transitional binding between the scroll and more modern book structures.

Basically, a whirlwind binding consisted of several sheets of paper stacked together and clamped on one side between two halves of a piece of bamboo that had been split lengthwise. The book could be rolled up like a scroll for storage, or unrolled to be read.

I decided to make my own loose interpretation of the whirlwind book. Here it is, rolled up and tied in a little scroll:

And here it is unrolled:

I wanted it to have creativity as a theme, so I included two quotes. Here is a photo of the first one, by Henry David Thoreau:

The quote isn't very readable in this photo, but it says "The world is but a canvas the the imagination."
The second quote, shown here is by William Wordsworth: "Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart":

The reason it's called a whirlwind book (I think) is because the papers curl when it is open. Here is a photo of the book when it is open flat:

I had thought I'd put this little book in my Etsy shop, but I've gotten quite attached to it. I might put it in the store in a few days. Or maybe I'll make another one, and keep this one.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Crafting Your Business: Start & Run a Craft Business

Time for another book review! This time, I'm reviewing Start and Run a Craft Business, by William G. Haynes (published by Self-Counsel Press, 2001).

This book is another one of my favorites. It is clearly written, with lots of solid, sensible advice from the author, who has run his own craft business since 1976. This book covers a range of topics, including setting prices, doing wholesale v.s. retail sales, and record-keeping. It also includes a CD-ROM with useful forms to help you plan how to start your business and keep it running smoothly.

One of the biggest strengths of this book is that it goes into the various aspects of planning a business in much more depth than many other books on this subject. For example, one of the forms on the CD-ROM, called "Forecasting the Future," walks you through a series of questions designed to get you thinking about factors that might affect your business. For example, what if that fabulous printmaking paper you've been using, and completely depend upon, is suddenly discontinued? What if your usual supplier for that really-hard-to-get-ahold-of supply goes out of business? By thinking ahead about issues like that, you can be prepared for whatever comes up.

All in all, a very useful book for us artsy-type people who are looking for ways to get our work out into the world.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Yart Sale

Some of us over on Etsy are having a yart sale. Yup, a yart sale. It's an online yard sale with an artistic bent (yard + art = yart). I am offering 65% off on some guest books, plus 50% off on a journal. They all have small imperfections, which is why they went into my yart sale.

Through making these books, I learned two important lessons.

One, when you buy price stickers that are supposed to be removable, test them out on a piece of scrap paper. Otherwise, you will have an otherwise perfectly nice book that has a little spot of sticky residue if you take the price sticker off. :/

Two, always, always, double check that the grain of your paper is running in the right direction before gluing you book together. I made about five guest books in one go a while back, and later realized that they all had some puckering in the first couple of pages because I hadn't checked the grain.

So, my slightly-less-than-perfect creations are going into the yart sale, and hopefully off to new owners who feel that a few puckers and a price sticker on the last page that can't be removed just gives them a bit of extra character. Or something like that. :D

Monday, June 9, 2008

Women's Quote Book

Here's another quote book that I've just listed in my Etsy shop. All the quotes are by women.

This book was so much fun to design! I wanted to make a book that had a wide range of women's quotes--funny, thoughtful, crazy, inspiring... spent a lot of time going through books of quotes, and searching the internet to find them. Here are a couple of examples:

"Inside every older lady is a younger lady--wondering what the hell happened."
--Cora Harvey Armstrong

"What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner."

This is what it looks like on the inside:

For both this quote book and the Wise Words Quote book, I used Thai handmade paper for the cover, and bound it using a stab binding. I used a hemp cord to bind it with. The cover illustration is adapted from a 19th century illustration from Punch Magazine.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A Little Book of Quotes

I've been selling this book of quotes for a couple of years at craft markets, but have only just now gotten organized enough to post some in my Etsy store.

Took me a while to create this book, as I wanted to include lots of good quotes, so I had to hunt to find them. Here are a couple of sample quotes:

"What most people consider as
virtue, after the age of 40 is
simply a loss of energy. "

"To know you have
enough is to be rich. "

I made the cover from handmade Thai paper that has pieces of fern in it, and used a stab binding with hemp cord. The illustration on the cover is adapted from a 19th century drawing from Punch, a British humor magazine. I'm very fond of pre-20th-century illustrations (as you can probably guess from looking at my banner), so most of the books I design have something of a Victorian/Arts & Crafts vibe.