Saturday, November 27, 2010

Away You Go...

Recently finished a big (24 notebook) order for a business. They will be giving them out as gifts to visiting speakers and other guests. I boxed up my little children and sent them off to their new home, but now, sadly, there's no time to sit around drinking eggnog and eat rum-soaked cookies, as the holiday shopping season is here, and I am busy making many more books for my Etsy store. Not that I'm complaining--it's good to be busy!

I vaguely remember reading a story when I was a child about elves who came at night to make shoes for a cobbler and his wife. When the cobbler woke up in the morning, lovely shoes would be finished and waiting. Where are those elves when you need them? :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Quote Journals

Has is really been two months since I posted here? Where did the time go? Well, I haven't been lounging around (ok, well some lounging, but not too much, anyway :) . Among other things, I made some new quote journals.

This one has a George Bernard Shaw quote:

"You see things; and you say 'Why?'
But I dream things that never were;
and I say 'Why not?'

And this Writer's Inspiration Journal, with a quote by Ernest Hemingway:

"My aim is to put down on paper
what I see and what I feel
in the best and simplest way."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Thread that Binds, Part II

I finally finished binding my copy of The Thread that Binds. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had thought about doing a wooden cover, as a tribute to master bookbinder Jim Croft (who is interviewed in the book) but as often happens, went charging off in another direction altogether.

I created a medieval-style leather binding that emphasizes thread and stitching, which seemed to fit the content of the book:

This copy of The Thread that Binds will have a home in my ever-growing collection of books on bookbinding.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Small Universe

This is my latest coptic stitch book with wooden covers (you can see some others here). I'm working on a series of books that are interpretations of random designs that I find in nature. The cover of this book is based on a pattern of naturally occurring lines in a piece of mica. The name of this book is "Small Universe".

This was the first time I'd worked with milk paint -- lots of layers of colour, then working my way down through them to reveal the design.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Book Arts: Edinburgh

After spending a few days in Sterling, our next stop was Edinburgh. I'd briefly visited Edinburgh years ago, and was glad to have several days there this time. Book arts-ish places that I visited included the Owl and Lion, located at 15 Grassmarket in the old town (a hint if you plan to visit them--if you think you're at the right address, but there's a sort of dance studio where the booksellers should be, try looking across the street). They make silkscreen covers for their handmade journals, and have lots of lovely things to look at. Here you can see some of them in their front window:

Also in that same area (at 102 West Bow) is Analogue Books. They have a variety of zines on display:

I also visited the National Library of Scotland, but have no photos to share, alas. If you know of any other good book arts-related places to visit in Edinburgh, I hope you will post them in the comments.

And finally, to continue the animal obsessed portion of my journey, here is a photo of a little dog outside an antique shop. The owner has him tied up there, and if you squint at the photo, you can see above him a picture of Greyfriars Bobby, a famous former citizen of Edinburgh. Bobby's master died, and for many years the little Skye Terrier kept watch over his master's grave. The dog in the photo is also a Skye, and looks about as long suffering as the original Bobby must have been.

Other book arts related places to visit in Edinburgh are:

The Centre for the History of the Book

The National Library of Scotland

[NOTE: if you know of any other great bookbinding/book arts places to visit in Edinburgh, please do share them in the comments. Book arts - obsessed people like myself would love to know about them!]

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Traveling in Scotland

My husband attended a conference in Stirling, Scotland, last month, and I got to go along and just be a tourist. We stayed in a lovely old B&B called Kilronan House:

Later on, we moved to lodgings on the Stirling University campus. There was a beautiful lake in the middle of the campus, and I some happy hours walking around and taking photos of all the wildlife (Ok, confession time: this post isn't really about book arts at all. It's more about the fact that I'm a real softie where animals are concerned :)

Here is the lake:

and a sleeping duck:

And a tiny tree frog, who kindly, if somewhat reluctantly, posed for me:

A swan in the evening:

And a bunny, one of many, many, many, on the campus.

Can anyone tell my what kind of bird this is? It wasn't one I recognized:

To redeem myself on the book arts front, let me say that we did visit other cities in the U.K. on this trip, and I visited book arts-ish places in all of them. More posts to follow....

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Thread That Binds

A while back, I sent away to Oak Knoll Books for an unbound copy of The Thread That Binds: Interviews with Private Practice Bookbinders. Here you can see the pages:

For the last couple of weeks, I've been pondering what sort of binding I want to create for it.

The bookbinders interviewed talk about their lives in the book arts -- how they got to be bookbinders, and the ups and downs of a bookbinding life. Jim Croft, who taught me many things about bookbinding, is one of the interviewees, and so I want to make a binding that honours his passion for gothic books with wooden covers, but also reflects my own bookbinding interests, too.

This part of designing a cover is always the most fun--thinking, making little drawings, thinking some more, messing about with papers and leather and wood and things, drinking tea, rejecting what I just thought about, thinking some more.....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Journal with Plum Wood Button

Here is a journal with a plum wood button on the cover. My sister kindly saved me some of the wood when she was pruning her plum tree. I'd never made buttons from fruit tree wood before, so it was interesting to see how they came out. I really like the dark swirl in the center of the button.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Journals with Buttons

I've been busy the last couple of weeks making more wooden buttons for my journals. The photo above shows some of them. They are mostly walnut and cherry, plus a few made from plum, birch, bird's eye maple, and hickory. I've started making some journal / sketchbooks with them, including this large leather journal, which has a birch button on the cover:

...and the small leather journal/sketchbook below, which has a bird's eye maple button on the cover. I will be making more journals next week--I'm all excited about some buttons I made from a piece of plum wood I saved when my sister was pruning her fruit trees, and I'm keen to use one of those. Stay tuned for more photos...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Very Small Vandercook Press

The Vandercook proof press was originally used in commercial printshops, but in recent years artists have been using the Vandercook to create wonderful letterpress work. There is even a Flickr group dedicated to the Vandercook -- you can see photos of real Vandercooks and examples of letterpress printing there.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Vandercook, the Pacific Center for the Book Arts sent it's members (including me) a cardstock scale model of the press. The pieces had to be assembled, and in spite of being not one who excels at poking tabs into their correct slots, I did manage to put the thing together.

This is the finished model, looking surprisingly Vandercook-like. It even has a tiny little foot pedal -- you can see it on the lower left side.

The Ampersand (pictured, with a photo of the model Vandercook on the cover) is the quarterly journal of the Pacific Center for the Book Arts.

The model of the Vandercook even came with the most excellent Vandercook logo on the side.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cherry Wood Book

Just finished another Coptic book with wooden covers. This one is made from quarter sawn cherry wood, with a piece of mica inset into the cover.

I used an old time finish on the wood (thanks to Jim Croft, who brewed it up). It's made of beeswax, pine pitch, and raw linseed oil. I just rubbed it in with my fingers, then buffed it with a soft cloth.

When I got the piece of wood, one edge was rough (on the right side in the photo). I decided to leave it that way when I cut the book covers.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Several Ways to Keep Your Journal Closed

One of the things I like about the kind of leather journal/sketchbooks I make is that there are several ways to use the wrap-around strap to keep a journal closed, depending on how you want to use it.

One way is to simply wrap the strap around the journal...

....and on the back side of the journal, tuck the end of the strap under the length that wraps around.

I tend to be a bit of a magpie when I travel, picking up ticket stubs, postcards, pamphlets, etc. Because of the way my journals are sewn, there's room for expansion, so you can store lots of those irresistible little items in between the journal pages.

I make my journals with straps that are long enough to still go around the journal even when it's gotten quite fat. Here is one way to tie a knot in the strap to keep the journal snugly closed:

This is one of my little pocket sized leather notebooks. You can keep it closed by tucking the end of the strap under the rest of the strap from above:

Or below:

To make it even more secure, after you tuck the end of the strap under, loop it around and tuck it under a second time:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ash, leaf, and twig book

It's been a while since I had a chance to post--hope you are all having a good start to the new year. Christmas was a busy time in my studio this year, so I've been taking some time to hibernate now that things have slowed down a bit. I got a chance to finish a book I've been working on for the past few months -- this coptic book with wooden covers (also pictured above):

It is made from spalted ash, and has fossils set into the front cover. Here is a detail showing the fossilized leaves and twigs, and, on the right hand side, the piece of driftwood I used for the closure:

The design reflects my interest in the Japanese aesthetic principles of Wabi Sabi and Shibui.

I'm planning to make a series of wooden coptic books. For me, they're a way to explore memories I have of growing up in the mountains of the Northwestern U.S. I spent a lot of time roaming around the woods by myself, so trees, rocks, fossils, mica, volcanic rock, and other suchlike things were (and still are) an important part of my life. (I wrote in a vague way about how I started on this book project in some earlier posts).