Saturday, April 02, 2022

Winter workshop results

Just a quick update with some photos taken during recent workshops. These classes were all in-person sessions at the Nova Scotia Centre for Craft.

Most recently I taught a workshop about making albums, for photos or other things. The students made books that used standard post or ribbon bindings and then we added some pizzazz with windows, fore-edge ties, and even some corner embellishments here and there.

handmade album handmade album
handmade album handmade album
Not long ago, I also taught another workshop where the students made bookcloth and then made a blank journal using the buttonhole binding technique. Everyone did a small practice journal with a paper cover, then used one of their prepared fabrics to make a hardcover journal.
handmade book handbound books
handmade journal handmade books
handmade books journals
There was also a chain stitch workshop where everyone learned to make books with exposed chain stitch binding techniques. Different types of covers and cover attachments were explored.
handmade books
bookbinding
journals
Impressive work by everyone. I always seem to have the best students!
The spring session is coming soon now. Workshop links are in the right sidebar.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Getting ready for 2022

For those of you, or your friends, who still like to keep an agenda on your desk! These 2022 desk planners look super classy and they're also very practical. (Available on Etsy.)
Each one features my own, original marbled paper on the covers. The spine and corners are faux leather. Inside, a monthly calendar for 2022 with a two-page spread for each month on brownish paper, with a few extra pages for personal info, contacts, notes, etc.

Saturday, October 02, 2021

Recent Workshops

Seems like I should start every blog post apologizing for such long delays between posts! At the moment, I've just come to post a bit about some of the workshops I've been conducting recently. Last week, I taught a workshop called "Tricky Books and Boxes." We made a little video to demonstrate the tricky boxes.


For the tricky books, we started with a few little structures that involve mostly folding and a little bit of cutting. There was a one-sheet folded book, a non-cyclic tetra-hexa-flexagon, a little woven accordion that opens two different ways, and a panel book. For the panel book, we used a template created by Cathryn Miller of Byopia Press, which she has posted to her blog and she kindly permitted me to share it with everyone in my workshop.
After all that, we also made a Jacob's Ladder book.
And the last book we made was this, which I'd seen on Alisa Golden's blog, for which she includes the name "Flat-Style Australian Reverse Piano Hinge" binding. It is also basically the same as a technique I learned from Emma Fraser, who lives in Scotland, and we named her book the "Secret Scottish Rubbish Binding" since we were using repurposed papers at the time. So this structure has some international representation.

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Making a book in 6 videos

I made a few little videos while I was making a book. These videos don't show every single step in the process, of course, but it hits the high spots. The file compression was a bit much, I think, so the quality is fuzzy. Maybe someday I'll try it again and see if I can make better-looking footage!













Monday, May 03, 2021

Craft Nova Scotia Virtual Pop-up Market

In lieu of the traditional in-person craft shows, Craft Nova Scotia has been working extra hard to promote its members during this past year. Thank you, Craft NS!

Right now, and until May 5th, CraftNS is hosting a virtual pop-up market with a curated selection of work from its members. Here are a few of my own items that are included in this collection. Click on these photos for full descriptions, more photos, and purchasing!

Hardcover Journal


Hardcover Notebook


Tiny Leather Journals


You can have a look at the whole collection here, and maybe find something for yourself, or for your mom perhaps! Visit the Virtual Pop-up.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Craft Pays Me podcast


Recently I had a great conversation with Duane Jones, host of the Art Pays me podcast, for episode 5 of the Craft Pays Me series. (Seriously, I used Zoom for the first time, to do this!) The podcast is available at https://artpaysme.com/

About the Craft Pays Me series:
In response to the current global crisis, Craft Nova Scotia's current focus is on how to make use of available digital technologies to help maintain and grow the craft industry on a regional level. Our goal is to facilitate online showcases, and to assist our members in reaching national and international audiences through innovative use of online marketing and social media platforms. Working with content creator Duane Jones, who currently produces a podcast called “Art Pays Me”, we are excited to be producing a mini-series of craft-focused podcasts using Duane's expertise.

The "Craft Pays Me" podcast will include six episodes, produced bi-weekly in January through March 2021. We will introduce six craftspeople from varying backgrounds, and representing a cross section of mediums (wood, metal, glass, leather, clay, textiles, stone & bone, and visual art) and skill levels, from emerging, mid-career, and master artisan levels.

Previous episodes are also online, and the sixth and final episode will be available in two weeks. Find all of them at https://artpaysme.com/

Friday, February 12, 2021

Designer Craft Shop Online

Craft Nova Scotia has launced a sparkly new online shop at DesignerCraftShop.ca. I'm happy to have some of my handmade leather journals available there. Currently there are about a dozen juried members of Craft Nova Scotia with work now available to purchase through this new online shop and it continues to grow!

Currently available from MyHandboundBooks:
Everyday Journals Leather Notebooks
Sketchbook Writers Journal

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Old Spine Linings

I like finding interesting things in the spines of old books. Of course, after sewing a textblock there is often paper glued to the spine and it is entirely invisible once the book has been cased. I've taken workshops over the years where much fuss is made about what to use for spine linings and how some types of paper are perfect for this purpose and others are not. That is certainly true sometimes and hand binders can take the time to think about that nowadays, I suppose. Though, evidently, in commercial binderies a hundred years ago, when full editions of books were being made by hand, they used whatever paper they had for the spine linings and it was not unusual to use offcuts or scraps from the bin. So, we often find printed material in there when we're repairing books now. A few lines from The Winter's Tale, why not!






Saturday, May 16, 2020

Dealing with a window


Here is a little demonstration of how to cover a board that has a window in it. I am not going to include all the steps of making this book. I am just dealing with the window.

First of all, there are a few ways to do this. The method I am using here is just one option. This method should work with most covering materials. Before you undertake a project, though, it is always best to practice with the materials so that you know how they behave.

Here is my case. As you can see, the back cover already has the covering material in place. I have another piece of the cover material cut and ready for the front.


Spread paste on the back of your cover material, and put it onto the front cover, like this. Right over the window.


Flip it over, trim the corners and turn-in the head, tail, and fore-edge.


Now, the window. Cut an X in the middle of the window. Be careful that you do not get too close to the corners. Leave a little bit of the paper uncut in each corner. Here is the window, after I cut the X.


Now you can gently fold in each of the triangle pieces. Do not worry about the corners too much. For this step, just leave the corners alone. Here, you can see that I have the four triangles pasted down, but the corners are still loose.


Flip over the case and use a bone folder to gently push the cover material into the corners.


Now the outside is finished.


But, we still have to finish the inside of the cover. I have applied the paste-down to the back cover and I have another piece of paper ready for the front cover.


We need to cut a window in this piece of paper before we glue it to the book. If you like measuring, you can do lots of careful measuring here to figure out exactly where to cut the window so that it aligns perfectly with the hole in the cover. Or, as I have done, you can carefully place the paper underneath and trace the window.


Now you can cut out the window. It should be bit bigger than the square you traced, about 1mm larger. You can discard this little cutout.


Spread glue on the back and place it onto the cover. Now the inside of the case is finished.


Here is the book, complete with pages.



Thursday, April 23, 2020

Zhen Xian Bao on screen

I have written here previously about Chinese Thread Books, or Zhen Xian Bao. Of course, most of us learned about these wonderful folded books via Ruth Smith's research, which she published in A Little Known Chinese Folk Art: Zhen Xian Bao in 2012. It's an obscure Chinese folk art from a specific region of rural China, now popular with a niche group of folks who are interested in folded books.

Imagine my surprise, as my daughter and I were watching a movie at home this evening, and a Chinese Thread Book appeared on screen.

So, although Dolittle didn't quite become the smash hit they were likely hoping for, I am now a fan of this movie because they used a Chinese Thread Book as a prop! A nice little surprise in these quarantine times. Here are a couple of screen captures from the movie. These few glimpses occur between 1:10:50 and 1:11:00.





I have made a few of these over the past few years and you can see some pictures if you want to scroll through earlier blog posts. But more exciting, I acquired a real one a couple years ago. So, here are a couple photos of the real one that I have:





I mean, really it doesn't make much sense for Dr. Dolittle to have a Chinese Thread Book given where they originate and what they were typically used for. It does look nice on his desk, though.

If you're interested in learning more about these books and their Chinese origins, Ruth Smith has written a book of instructions as well as a book about the history. I believe you can purchase from her directly if you contact her through Instagram, username: foldedsecrets

Also, I hope you've had a great World Book Day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Lighthouse



The Lighthouse, a film directed by Robert Eggers, was released in October 2019. It was filmed nearby and I got to make their prop books. The entire film was shot on black and white 35mm film and is referred to as a psychological horror film. I watched it recently and I think that's a good categorization.

Here are a couple of the books I made for them. The colour photos were taken on set during filming. The black and white images are screen captures.