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.

Note: There are some possible refinements to this process, such as covering the inner edges of the boards before turning the paper, but most of the time this basic approach will work quite well on its own.

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.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Last Year

Every year I start by apologizing that I have not been updating my blog. There were a few things last year that I had intended to share here on my blog, though.

Hedi Kyle Workshop
I had the pleasure of attending this workshop last June. Hedi Kyle was in the neighborhood and conducted a workshop at NSCAD. She introduced several techniques and structures and folds that she has come up with over the years. Some of the things we did are included in her book, Art of the Fold, but she also had us doing some newer things too that aren't in that book. So that was a good time. Here's a sample of some of the things I made in that workshop.

Centre for Craft Nova Scotia
As usual, I taught a number of workshops at the Centre for Craft Nova Scotia over the course of the year. This included bookbinding, box making, and marbling. So, here are a few pictures taken during those workshops, showing what the students accomplished.

'Know How' Instructor Exhibit, Morgan Conservatory
Last year, the various instructors teaching at the Morgan Conservatory were invited to submit work for a small exhibit called "Know How," which was on display there last summer. I made these two books for that exhibit. They are both full leather, split-board library bindings. The larger book is a classic 1980s detective novel by Teri White, called "Bleeding Hearts." The smaller book is a blank companion journal, made to match.

Cleveland Museum of Art
When I was in Cleveland to teach at the Morgan Conservatory, I had a chance to visit a Medieval Monsters display at the Museum of Art. Much of the exhibit consisted of illuminated manuscripts like these.

Every day projects
In between the workshops and such, I spent most of my time just doing the work, day to day. This included making journals to sell in a couple of shops, hand binding lots of theses for local university students, plenty of book repair (mostly cookbooks and bibles), a few small editions, custom boxes, etc., etc.

I've probably forgotten something interesting, but that's a little taste of 2019 and a few examples of stuff that I could have posted about here on my blog, if I had been more organized. Onward into 2020!