Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Canada Day

July 1st is Canada Day! Canada is 142 years old, so have a drink for Canada. And... is there any better way to celebrate a country and its heritage and its achievements, then by having a sale? A sale especially for Canadians? Great idea!

I'm offering 1 cent shipping to all locations in Canada from MyHandboundBooks and MyMarbledPapers. So, just 1 penny for shipping until midnight July 1st (or whenever I get home from the fireworks and celebration, whichever is later)!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Millenium in a Box

Last week I finally did something that I've been planning to do for nine years! I went to see the Millenium in a Box collection which was put together in 2000, at the turn of the millenium (obviously) by the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artist's Guild (www.cbbag.ca). This is a collection of work by 35 Canadian book artists. "Each artist produced a conceptual interpretation of where the new millennium may lead, whether technically, societally, in terms of personal development, where the book arts may go, or in any other way that challenges them."

There are 50 of these boxes; they are held in various locations across Canada, and there are a few outside Canada, and some that are available to be borrowed. Each participating artist created their work in an edition of 50, so there is one of each in each box. One of the boxes is permanently housed in the Special Collections library at Dalhousie University here in Halifax, which is where I did my MLIS degree and where I first started bookbinding and I even worked in this library for a while... but somehow I never managed to find time to check out the Millenium in a Box collection until last week.

The catalyst for this event is a separate story, but here's the quick version. I made some new friends recently, a couple who were traveling to Nova Scotia from their home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They are both artists, one of them doing book arts (among other things) and the other a painter and retired art professor. So I asked if they would like to come with me to see this collection as it would be much more fun to view it in the company of others with similar interests. It was a lovely way to spend our time and I'm so glad we were able to get together (thank you G & B!).

Here we are with a few of the items laid out on the table:

Since the Millenium in a Box collection was not on display last week, they pulled it out of the closed stacks and we were able to sit down with the box and all its contents and look at each piece very closely, read the descriptions, etc at our leisure. There is a full range of book and paper arts included in the box: artist's book, paper making, calligrapy, printmaking, etc. If you are interested in seeing it, check the CBBAG website where it lists all the public locations of the box.

As I mentioned above, each piece was made to show the artist's ideas about the upcoming millennium. Looking at this collection nine years after its creation means that there was an additional element of commentary as we worked our way through the objects. It is a fascinating comment on society of the year 2000; seeing the issues, ideas, and common themes that recur among the various objects and how a mere nine years can affect their meaning. I must remember to go back and look at it again...after another decade or two passes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Trans-Canada road trip & some really awesome giveaways

I am a member of the Etsy street team, called the "Trans Canada Etsy Team" and we are a group of artisans, spread across Canada, who all sell our work on Etsy. We work as a group to help promote each other, for example, we have collaborative advertising efforts and cross-promotions by including other team members' business cards in packages mailed to our customers. Socially we have done things such as secret Santa gifts during the holidays and we may do trades or supply swapping as well. It is a very supportive group and the active members see many benefits. I mention this, because, as you can see from that badge on the side of my blog, there is a "Trans Canada Road Trip" happening right now, which is a collaborative promotion that our team has put together. There are over 20 Etsy shops participating, including mine. All the shops are giving out ballots into a draw for two really amazing prizes. The promotion runs until July 1st, so this is our way of celebrating Canada Day! First of all, there is a gorgeous handwoven rag rug to be won. Who wouldn't want to win this?? (This rug is valued at $240.) To make it even more special, each of the participating members provided the raw materials to make it! It is made from t-shirts! All our participating members sent t-shirts to Fiveforty and she used the t-shirts to create this rug. It is stunning, and it is big, measuring 34"x55"! Also to be won, is a Grand Prize package containing handmade items from all the participating shops. This package of goodies is valued at over $350! And we are just giving it away!! So by now you must be wondering how you can get your name into the draw for this stuff?? It's pretty simple. Go visit the participating shops. And for every $10 you spend in those shops, you'll get a ballot into the draw. So, that's one ballot for any purchase that is $10 or less. But then additional ballots if you spend more. And when you make your purchase, if you mention the promo code "Road Trip" in your message to the seller, we will give you an extra ballot! It's never too soon to start your holiday shopping... especially if it gives you a chance to win one of those totally amazing prizes. Of course there are also lots of things in these shops that you might want to buy for yourself anyway... soap? We all need soap. How about some cranberry jelly, mmmmm. Reuseable food storage bags? They are better than plastic. Baby gifts? There will always be more babies who need stuff. Maybe you like to have a few birthday cards on hand? Maybe you need a leather journal?! Have fun shopping. And check out the full contest details on the TCET blog. Also on the team blog we are introducing our members from East coast to West coast as we make our virtual road trip across the country. Yesterday we visited a couple of places in Nova Scotia, and today we got as far as Moncton, New Brunswick. We'll keep going until we reach Vancouver on July 1st.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A visit to Gaspereau Press

For the edition of poetry books that I'm working on (which I mentioned here last month), I had to take the book covers to Gaspereau Press to get the text foil stamped onto the spines since I don't have that kind of equipment here.

I got a little tour, and they have the coolest sewing machine!

Gigantic, though. I don't think I'll be getting one of those any time soon. Besides, I like sewing by hand!

Here we are setting up the foil stamping equipment to do my book covers.

Gary did all the work, I just "supervised." So after a couple hours, I came away with thirty foil stamped book covers. And they are all cased-in now. Although the project still is not complete since each book is going to have a Japanese-style wrap-around case, and those are still in production!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Journals

It seems that Summer has finally arrived here - we had a very slow start and even yet, I'm not convinced that the Spring weather has truly vanished. In anticipation of the season, I have been making some fun summer journals...which just means they are a bit more colourful than others! Halifax recently had Bike Week to kick off the bike season. So I carved a bicycle rubber stamp and made some notebooks. We were there watching these guy race and my kid zoomed around on his tricycle. I had the bicycle stamp with me and gave the kids bike tattoos too. I've done a bunch of leather and suede journals too, lots of summer here. Including two of my "margarita journals" in Blue Curacao and Green Iguana! The leather and suede books all have a rainbow of pages inside, using seven different colours of paper. This one is a lemon-lime suede mini book: Here's to some real Summer days!

Friday, June 12, 2009

A lot of swapping

I am a bit behind showing off some swaps that I have done recently. I did a swap with Simon (PaperCurious) a while ago. He posted our swapped goods over at his blog so you can see pictures here: papercurious.blogspot.com. He sent me a bank note notebook and some really fabulous handmade papers that he made, as well as a set of boards for me to work with! While I was at PBI last month I made my very first wooden book, so now I have no reason to be hesitant about using these boards from Simon. I'll be sure to show photos of whatever happens with those boards! Also, to follow up on my very last post where I showed the book that I made for the Book Arts Forum swap, this is the book I got in return. Fun, eh?! This garden journal was made by Peter Zillig (Vuscor). Unusual material, indeed! The album itself is wonderfully made with a colourful spine created by using multi-coloured spacers between the pages. Then to top if off, the fake gardens certainly add an element of whimsy and surprise. Thank you Peter! One more! The Bookbinding Etsy Street Team just completed another book swap and I got this wonderful casebound journal from Celine, at AlternativeJournals. It is a perfect combination of fabrics and colours. You can check out the rest of the BEST swap books on the team's blog.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

An exhibit and a swap

The Exhibit:
I have a couple of items in an exhibit at Abecedarian Gallery in Denver, Colorado. The exhibit is called "Boxy Books". There are two of my items in the exhibit and both are made with papers that were painted and scribbled on by my son when he was two and three years old. One is an origami cube full of origami cubes and the other is a book inside a box. This exhibit runs until July 3rd. If you happen to be in Denver, be sure to check out the show.

The Swap:
Over at the Book Arts Forum, we are having another book swap. This time we were supposed to incorporate a material that we had never used. I decided to get some FIMO clay and see if I could incorporate it into a book since I've never worked with any clay products before. This clay is shaped and then baked (shape-n-bake, heheh); a rather simple process. In the end, I decided to go with a few FIMO "inlays" on the front cover. And there are a couple matching beads attached to the fore edge ties. I sent this book to Kiley. It is covered with purple leather and the clay stars are embedded into the front. There are two signatures sewn through the spine with an X stitch. The pages are a mix of purple and green papers, cardstock, mulberry paper, etc.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

PBI classes that I didn't take

Unfortunately, at PBI, I could not take all the classes. There were ten classes being offered, but each person can only do three of them! At the end of each session, though, there is a show-and-tell where we share our work with each other so I was able to see what everyone else had been doing.

There was a session on making pop-up books, with Shawn Sheehy. Sadly, I didn't get any photos of the books they made in the class - and they were very impressive! You can get an idea of how cool the books must be if you check out Shawn's own work at his website: www.shawnsheehy.com.

There was also a writing class, with Audrey Niffenegger (author of The Time Traveller's Wife). This class did some fabulous readings for us at the show-and-tell. Audrey also did a reading from her new novel which will be available later this year. Based on the bit she read, I'm hooked, I need to know what's going on with those people.

Audrey Niffenegger

James Reid-Cunningham's class made pierced vellum bindings which is a stiff board binding that originated in the 16th century. I had never seen this kind of vellum binding before - and these ones were quite spectacular.

There was a papermaking and pulp painting class, with Beck Whitehead. It was really intriguing to see the results from the class.

The most colourful table at the show-and-tell was certainly the origami class. Jerry Marciniak had his class folding and folding and folding...it was contagious actually and even those of us who weren't in the class found ourselves folding origami boxes and flowers from time to time.

Paul Denhoed did an intensive Japanese papermaking class. These folks were working hard - they started from scratch, cleaning and cooking the kozo plants, pounding it with mallets, etc etc to produce a variety of beautiful mulberry papers.

There was also a box making class. Specifically, Barbara Mauriello's class made these puzzle boxes. It is a set of 12 blocks inside a larger box and the smaller blocks have parts of images on them like those kid's puzzles where each side of the block makes a different picture.