Sunday, September 28, 2008

Practicing Coptic Endbands

I've only tried this a few times so recently I decided to practice. I didn't photograph the first practice attempts! But I got a few books done with decent results. Although I'm not sure that I do it correctly, this is how it looks: And since I was in chain stitch mode, I made some itty bitty books too, but without the endbands:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mirror Words

The third item that I currently have at Abecedarian Gallery is called "Mirror Words". This is a small box with a stack of cards inside. The green cards are stamped with palindromic words and phrases. The peach cards are blank. The pencil is included so more palindromes can be added to the blank cards. Small mirrors are embedded in the cover, and also used on the inside of the box. The green and peach paper is some of the paper that I made and the text is rubber stamped.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

To Pack a Bag

"To Pack a Bag" is another one of my items in the Modest in Scale exhibit. This is a hardcover case bound book covered with brown suede leather and embellished with stitching and raised areas to resemble pockets, and decorated with bits of ephemera to suggest a well-traveled bag. I had made a suitcase book for the BEST book swap and it was basically the prototype. It was a blank book with a few pages cut from maps - designed specifically for the swap since we were doing a "travel" theme. The book shown above was made afterwards with some improvements to the construction, and contains a poem that I wrote, called "To pack a bag," laser printed onto parchment paper.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Time for China

There is a new exhibit opening today at Abecedarian Gallery in Denver, Colorado. The exhibit is entitled "Modest in Scale" and features bookworks five inches or less and modestly scaled prints, drawings and paintings. I have three works in this exhibit, including this little book. "Time for China" is a very small book that is shaped like a teabag and also the same size. It is a limited edition booklet that I printed using a set of rubber stamps that I carved depicting all the elements of a perfect little tea party. Abecedarian Gallery is operated by Alicia Baily, an artist whom I met at PBI a few months ago. Besides creating rather fabulous artists books herself, Alicia also spearheads some other very interesting projects through a group called Spondere.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Corrugated Cardboard

Once you leave the realm of archival materials behind you, there is no going back. When I first started making books, I never strayed from archival materials. Gradually, though, I have come to believe that not all books need to be (or should be) archival.

I've heard a bit about a movement in the art world to produce temporary art with the understanding that its existence is transient, temporary, and immediate; it does not need to be preserved; we simply cannot preserve everything, we do not have the means or the space to do so; so just enjoy it now and allow other works of art to take its place when the time comes. In this same spirit, I do not think it is reasonable to expect all books to be preserved and certainly many little notebooks and scribblers just don't need to last hundreds of many little notebooks full of "to do" lists will be of interest to our future generations?

So, these are tremendously non-archival books (which are also not works of art, they are just silly little books that might be fun to use for grocery lists or such things).

Each is made using 10 sheets of cardboard; a mixture of corrugated cardboard, pressed board from sketchbook covers, scraps of Eska board and mat board, etc. I'm not sure what the life span is for acidic corrugated cardboard... 10 years maybe before it begins to deteriorate? There are some varieties of corrugated cardboard that are archival, but I have not made any attempt to find archival materials for these books. All the cardboard used in these books was cut from boxes and boards that were lying around my workspace. The Eska board and mat board sheets were archival, but after lying next to acidic cardboard, they are not archival any more.

I used some of my paste papers to decorate the covers and also used folded strips of contrasting paste papers to make the sewing supports. The books are bound using a technique from Smith's book, "Sewing Single Sheets." It looks nice, creating little Xs on the spine like this:

Also, the books open completely flat with minimal sewing visible on the inside, just a neat pattern like this:

At times, I still like to get serious and do things 'by the book' and use entirely archival materials - but there is lots of room for these more temporary books. Maybe I will just stamp a little message inside, indicating that the book might self destruct in ten years!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Old Mail

I really do save everything. Including old envelopes and packaging materials from everything that comes in the mail (this pile of stuff can get unwieldy since I tend to buy online quite regularly with packages coming in the mail all the time!). So I made myself a new address book and two other blank books, all with materials from the mail. The address book has the inside security patterns from envelopes used as the patterend paper on the cover. This is a casebound hardcover book, the sections are sewn onto tapes cut from a tyvek envelope. The pages are various types of used envelopes that I dismantled and cut to size. This book is for me, but it may show up again elsewhere... The other two books tha I made are both exposed spine chain stitch bindings. The covers are mat board scraps with some used stamps mounted on them. Similar to the address book, the pages are all cut from envelopes and packing papers. These two books are in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Broken Needles

Is it unusual that I break needles so often? 2 or 3 per month? Is this typical? Must be related to the type of sewing I'm doing, using thick threads and sewing through leather a lot.

A few days ago, I had this particularly spectacular break resulting in a double fracture. One needle, three pieces. I use large-eye blunt #18 bookbinding needles as well as Crewel needles (maybe they are the same, I don't know). I'd be interested in hearing opinions on good needles!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I've been printing lino again

Recently I spent an evening making prints of some of my favorite lino cuts and rubber stamps that I've made. Some of the prints are being used for notebooks like these. Black and white chopstick notebooks with grey flowers... My picnic table and wooden swing lino prints. The peach and green covers are some of the paper I made a couple months ago. Images are printed in brown ink. These notebooks are bound with a simple 2-section sewing. And some simple pink and white notebooks with flowers printed in gold-coloured ink.