Friday, February 27, 2009

Marbling - A Demonstration - by Nick (age 4)

This is what happens when you leave your marbling materials out all over the place and the kid wants to know how you made those pretty papers.

Step one. Apply apron. Assure him that it is not pink, it is "salmon".
Step two. Skim the surface of the bath.

Step three. Apply first colour.

Step four. Apply additional colours.

Step five. Stir and rake.

Step six. Comb then stir a little more.

Step seven. Have the assistant lay the paper, pull it off, and rinse.
Step eight. Admire the results.

Repeat, ad infinitum, or until the kid hears the The Wiggles show starting.

Tonight's papers

I just spent the evening doing some marbling. I didn't really get much done since I discovered some of the paper I had prepared for marbling was unsuitable and I wasted several sheets. It is sad when a marble pattern runs right off the paper! But I was able to save a few from here we are, results of my first marbling session of 2009...need more practice, need more room, need a marbling studio separate from bookbinding studio, need better paper, need someone to clean up after me, etc etc etc

Monday, February 23, 2009

Freedom To Read

"All persons in Canada have the fundamental right, as embodied in the nation's Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to have access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity, and to express their thoughts publicly. This right to intellectual freedom, under the law, is essential to the health and development of Canadian society." Taken from the Canadian Library Association's statement on intellectual freedom.

February 22-28 is "Freedom To Read Week" in Canada. It is an annual event, ongoing now for 25 years, meant to encourage Canadians to think about and reaffirm our commitment to intellectual freedom which is guaranteed to us under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

If you are in Canada, then it is very likely that your local library is hosting events this week to recognize Freedom to Read Week. You can also check the website at

Read more about censorship, freedom of expression, challenged books, and historic bannings and burnings.

Occasionally a bit of censorship just makes me laugh out loud: In the 1980s, during a examination of school learning materials, the London County Council in England banned Beatrix Potter's children's classics, The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny, from all London schools because the stories portrayed only "middle-class rabbits."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spanish Ledger Replica

I was asked if I could make a blank book in the same manner as a particular limp vellum ledger binding from 1670, which can be viewed online at the Conservation Studies website for the University of Texas at Austin. Of course, I said yes.

Using an old parchment document for the cover (above), I was able to make a very old-looking replica.

On the original book, the decorative stitching was most likely done with narrow alum tawed strips; but, lacking a source of alum tawed skin, I used pigskin leather for the loop and toggle, and artificial sinew for the stitching.

For the blank pages inside, I used Old Master paper from Saint-Armand. Needless to say, that project ranks among my most favorite. If only I could have kept the finished book for myself...but alas it is gone off to the person who commissioned it. But I wish I got more requests like that.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Origami Hearts and a Valentine's Day Sale

Happy Valentine's Day! I found some online instructions for Origami hearts and made a few with some of my pink Suminagashi papers. The Origami Club has several Valentine projects including these winged hearts shown here as well as some little gift boxes and heart-shaped pockets and ornaments. I also found this video showing how to fold a double heart shape that is cute. Lots of last minute Valentine cards and gift box ideas if you need them!

And - the red and pink books in my Etsy shop are 25% off today only, just for Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Suminagashi meets Crayola

It has been almost a year since I did any Suminagashi marbling but I finally got some new inks and pulled out all the stuff last week. So as you can see, I was dropping Boku Undo inks right beside a Crayola marker artist.

Very simply stated, Suminagashi is a very old Japanese paper marbling technique. If you are interested in a little more detail, check out these sites:

Or get a copy of this book:
"Suminagashi" by Anne Chambers

So as I said, I had not done this for almost a year. And I had some trouble finding the right paper that would accept the inks well. And I diluted my colours a bit too much. Practice, practice... But here are a few decent results.

I should also add a couple links for purchasing supplies and kits:
Colophon Book Arts
Diane Maurer
Society of Marbling links

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Margarita Journals

The first crossed structure binding that I ever made was the CSB Solo, and it is still one of my favorites. It works best with a paper cover rather than leather, so I don't make it as often as some of the others. But I recently got some new Saint-Armand handmade papers which are perfect for making the covers. I've used creamy Mohawk Superfine text paper for the pages and attached pretty ribbon bookmarks too. I'm calling these my margarita journals, since the colours reminded me of margaritas... Blue Curacao, Lemon Lime, Strawberry, and Green Iguana.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

It really is my favorite

This hardcover pamphlet binding. It really is my favorite to make. Two small notebooks with Japanese fabric on the covers, and leather spines. This one has an orange leather spine and a photograph of a tranquil Japanese scene on the covers: lots of bamboo screens and low tables and a waterfall in the background. This book has mixed papers for the pages, similar to the next three shown here. These three books all have fabric on the covers that I have backed with mulberry paper to make book cloth. The blue and pink books have book cloth on their spines; the black & white book has a leather spine. These books also have mixed papers inside including handmade papers, cardstock, plain and lined papers, decorative papers, and even some illustrations salvaged from an old story book that was falling apart.