Sunday, February 19, 2023

Vegetable Papyrus

A couple months ago, I attended a zoom presentation about making vegetable papyrus, with artist Yuka Petz. Yuka does a lot of cool stuff, which you can see on her website, We met at PBI one time, like, maybe a decade ago? Fun times. Gawd, seems like forever. Yuka is also now hosting a wonderful video series called 'Artist's Books Unshelved' which you can view on Youtube.

So, the vegetable papyrus demo was a great introduction to the process. Yuka provided a lot of incredibly useful information and tips on how to get started making this stuff and my first expiriments were quite successful, all things considered.

I started with celery and apples. I used celery because I thought the long stalks might result in something similar to Egyptian papyrus. I also tried the apples, mainly because I just had apples on hand!
Celery and Apples
This next photo shows the cooked celery before it was pressed, and then the resulting papyrus after all the pressing and drying.
Cooked celery
Drying time was surprisingly long. A couple weeks actually. Though, I'm sure that's largely due to the natural humidity living near the ocean and whatnot. So, these are the most successful pieces from my first round of papyrus making:
Finished papyrus sheets
I'm planning to raid the rhubarb patch in a couple months and try making papyrus with that!

Friday, January 13, 2023

Making bookbinding weights

Happy new year, blog readers! I was able to start off the new year with the Nova Scotia Book Arts Group, making some bookbinding weights. It was a fun little project to do as a group. Check out the NSBAG blog to see the results, as well as some guidance on making your own.

Here's what we made at the NSBAG meeting:
Smaller weights are very handy, particularly when making small books. I love having a variety of small weights on hand, so it's great to add to my collection. These get used all the time!

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Festive books!

I recently conducted a little workshop making these festive books, perfect for Christmas tree ornaments and whatnot.
The structure was a drum leaf binding and each book had printed pages, with a bit of holiday music. We used Japanese chiyogami on the covers because there are lots of beautiful Japanese papers that lend themselves to a Christmasy vibe!
This was a fun session to wrap up the 2022 workshop season. Thanks and Happy Holidays to all the folks who take my workshops and keep coming back for more!

Friday, November 11, 2022

Sewn Board Binding Workshop

I don't have many opportunities to use the sewn board binding structure, so it was a lot of fun to teach this in a workshop recently. It allowed me to make a few examples, which was fun, and then introduce it to a very eager group of students. And as expected, everyone loves this book structure.

Look at all the beautiful books they made!

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Bookbinding around the world

I really enjoyed teaching the most recent version of my "Bookbinding Around the World" course. I have taught a few variations of this course, including some different book structures each time. The course is typically just four sessions so there are obvious limitations to what can be done in that time. In past versions of this course I have included projects such as the Nag Hammadi structure, the Secret Belgian Binding aka Criss Cross Binding, also the Ethiopian chain stitch, as well as various Japanese styles.

This time around we started in China, of course, since books and paper were invented in China. In the second class, we made palm leaf books, a structure that probably originated in India. Next we did one of the many Italian longstitch techniques, and then we jumped to USA and made some books in the style of the Roycrofters.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Nova Scotia Book Arts Group

The newly formed Nova Scotia Book Arts Group will be having its first official meeting this week! On behalf of the NSBAG organizers, I can say that we are very excited about this adventure and we are looking forward to connecting with the book arts enthusiasts in our area.

The first meeting is Thursday, September 29th, at 7:00pm at the Halifax Central Library. Details and updates are available online at

Friday, July 22, 2022

Sunday Workshop Series

Anouncing a new Sunday Workshop Series starting this autumn! These are in-person workshops in Halifax, Nova Scotia. If you're looking for a quick fix of book and paper arts, then you might be interested in these upcoming workshops. Each is just two hours on a Sunday afternoon.

Box Accordion: This is a fun structure that can easily be expanded in length, incorporating more and more boxes. This type of accordion book can be used as an artist's book structure, as a display feature, etc.
Sold out.

Star Book: This structure is versatile and can be modified as a tunnel book or carousel book, which are both useful options for artist's books. This structure also works well as a unique photo album that can do double duty as an attractive photo display.
Sold out.

Christmas Book: Miniature book ornaments, incorporating beautiful Japanese papers and pages of Christmas music, bound using a modified drum leaf technique.
Sold out.

There will also be some more in-depth bookbinding workshops at the Centre for Craft this fall. Schedule to be announced soon.

Saturday, July 02, 2022

Switching online sales platform

Big news! I have a new website for selling my bookbinding supplies! I've been selling supplies online for a while, but the online sales platform that I was using has become incresingly problematic and expensive. So, I took a plunge and set up the shop through Sellfy. Just click the "Shop for Supplies" link above.

I really like the Sellfy platform so far. I did some testdrives with other online store options before I settled on this one, and so far, it's working nicely. I will have to maintain both sites for a while, but hopefully I can consolidate them at some point.

As before, I am optimmizing the products and shipping for Canadian customers but I do also accept orders from USA. Right now, you can use the coupon code 2022Final15 and get 15% off orders before December 31st, whoot!

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
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

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

Friday, February 12, 2021

Designer Craft Shop Online

Craft Nova Scotia has launced a sparkly new online shop at 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