I continue my fun with three-signature bindings.
Today I did Keith Smith’s 2-needle Isolated Diamonds binding. Once you get the pattern down, it’s a pretty easy. I got the crazy purple leather from ReSOURCE (formerly the ReStore) last week.
I can’t decide on what type of closure to make. On the one hand, I have a shiny metal washer that would look cool, playing its shape off the diamonds. On the other hand, I have some crazy rhinestone buttons that could be fun, going with the diamond theme.
I’m up for recommendations!
I was visiting with my friend Elizabeth Rideout this weekend and she showed me this amazing collapsible book cradle she created. She just completed work at Preservation Services at Dartmouth and was recently named the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, MA.
I’m so psyched for her, but I’ll miss her terribly (clearly MA isn’t VT).
Back to the book cradle. It can be adjusted to accommodate a range of book thicknesses and breaks down to something can be shelved like a book.
Here are some pictures of it:
Seriously, this thing is genius.
And who doesn’t like Velcro?
Today I worked on completing one of my Book Arts Improv editions…
…and I was successful! WOOHOO! I have now have The Big Bomb in an edition of six (one was already spoken for). I feel so good.
And here’s the second book I worked on that did not get finished today. Poor, sad Circuitous.
I think that’s what all of the new Wednesdays are for.
Today’s instruction included what Yasmeen referred to as “down and dirty” gold tooling.
Here are her tips:
Before casing in our text blocks, we glued paper to the exposed board (without leather) with straight PVA to counteract the pull of the boards.
Here’s how we cased in our text blocks:
The doublures extend on to the first page of the text block. The paper can be cut in a zig-zag shape, which helps distribute the distortion of the paper.
It felt so satisfying to complete a book today!
I’d like to end with today’s notable quotes from Yasmeen:
“The book is about living in the hand.”
“Reading is a tactile activity.”
“No book feels good on a Kindle.”
“Leather work is for unclean people.”
I started the morning by working on the headbands for another text block. Still really difficult to do. Argh.
Today’s new work involved creating the leather case for our text blocks. A few good quotes from Yasmeen at the start of class:
“Nothing wants to become a book.”
“Leather wants to be on the animal’s back.”
Getting materials to become a book takes “coaxing and love”.
The cover boards came out away from the spine approximately 2 mm, then adding a bit extra to accommodate additional materials used on the inside of the cover. You use a piece of paper to mark off the width of the spine. Boards are cut flush with the text block.
Something I had never done before was to create spacers out of bookboard when gluing. The pieces of board stayed in place when in the press to keep the leather from losing its stretch. Pieces of mylar were placed under the spacers so they wouldn’t stick to the leather. This was a great tip.
Yasmeen told us that the proportions for the cover flap weren’t exact, it was more about what was pleasing to the eye. All of the board edges should be a little bit round.
Here’s the procedure we followed when pasting the leather for the cover:
Scored lines were common on Islamic covers and the procedure for making them was pretty simple:
We created hand-painted end papers, which I really enjoyed. These papers were often spattered with gold – they wanted everything to catch the light. For that reason, they liked the papers to have a high shine. We had two options for accomplishing this – burnishing or shellac.
You can burnish paper using stone or glass. We had glass blobs to use. I wasn’t very successful at creating a consistent finish and mostly ended up creating streaks.
I eventually gave up on the blob and went for the shellac – stinky, but highly effective. I added three layers to my papers before gluing them into my book.
I believe that the loss of brain cells was worth it – oh how shiny!
Today I started Session 2 of the Paper and Book Intensive. Talk about intensive, I had no idea what I was in for when I walked into that classroom.
FYI – Islamic headbands are HARD. And yes, we did the sewing.
Yasmeen Khan is teaching the class and she’s a Senior Rare Book Conservator at the Library of Congress. Those are some serious credentials!
She started off the class by passing around samples of Islamic bindings for us to check out. We learned a number of things that are characteristic of these bindings, including the following:
We started off by sewing up a text block. We punched four holes in each signature, but only sewed them together using the inner two (traditionally, holes were punched and not cut). The outer two holes are involved in sewing the headbands. We used link stitches, but no kettle stitches. I can’t exactly remember why that was the case.
The sewing was traditionally done with silk thread, which holds no tension – not the best idea for a book. In general, this book structure wasn’t built to be strong.
After the sewing was complete, we pasted up the spine:
Next came the headbands. The fact that I can still type right now is a miracle as I have serious hand cramps. Ow.
Headbands are sewn with silk thread that is wrapped around a leather core. The traditional design is a chevron. The direction of the chevron depends on the direction of your sewing.
Before you start sewing, you place slips of paper the center of each signature so you can easily find the center and don’t have to open the book up. Always move in the direction of the sewing. No matter what direction you use, it’s really important to be consistent.
I wish I could give a tutorial here on how to do the Islamic headbands, but the fact is that I just don’t get it yet. My brain hurts as much as my hands – cramps in both places. I recommend getting a copy of Headbands: How to Work Them by Jenny Hille and Jane Greenfield (ISBN: 0938768514) – it’s a great book and contains the directions.
Here are some pictures to tide you over until you get to your local library:
Here are the day’s fun quotes from Yasmeen:
“Where are those child laborers?” (referring to difficulty threading needles)
“Nobody cares about the spine until the British arrive.
“”Maybe I should have some of that wine before I do this.” (referring to her headband demo)
I hope my hands recover for more work tomorrow!
Today was my last class with Sarah. Sadness. I lovvveeddd her class.
We started off with a pochoir demonstration:
After that, she showed us a basic book structure that we could use to present our prints – she referred to it as a tipped folio book. She said that it’s a good structure for one-sided items.
Here’s the procedure (although most of you might already know this one):
She recommended that you work on the folios in pairs so that it would be easier to keep things lined up.
For the cover, we used cover weight paper. Here’s the process:
Sarah used 3M 415 adhesive to attach the covers, but you could easily use PVA. The 415 takes a few hours to reach full attachment. To attach the covers to the text block:
The finished book structure:
After that, were left to work on our own books. I decided to wait until I get home to get working on my book. I think I might want to incorporate papers from my stash.
At the end of the day, we put out all of our work so we could see what everyone had done. It was amazing to see how much work had been generated in just 4 days – and 1/2 days at that! And with only ONE PRESS available to everyone!
Examples of work by other students:
I highly recommend taking a class with Sarah if you have the chance. She has a wonderful teaching style and contagious positive energy.
It’s time for my annual nod to the many book artists participating in Open Studio Weekend. All of these talented folks are also members of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont, an organization I hold near and dear to my heart.
I created the Google map below, which includes all of the studios to help you plan your travels. Unfortunately, the book arts studios aren’t very close to each other. By the way, I’m studio #199.
I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the Vermont Studio Tour Guide. The colors of the studio numbers in this post match the colored markers in the Google map below.
There are several ways to get your hands on a map:
First stop on the book arts tour is #17 Meta Strick. Meta really is a Jackie of all trades. She does wonderful mixed media work, including dolls that have a book component. It’s quite wonderful to read the “history” of each doll. She has a great philosophy that you can make anything into a book. Meta has lots of fans, so don’t be surprised if you get to her studio and it’s mobbed. Perhaps pick up some coffee and a snack before you head on over?
Next stop is #138, Nancy Stone. Nancy is one of the founders of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont [insert Elissa's sweet gaze of admiration here]. Not only is Nancy an amazing book artist, she is also a well-known teacher in the books arts throughout Vermont and has inspired many students. If you can’t make it to her studio during Open Studio Weekend, you can see some of her artists’ books at the upcoming exhibit Drawn to Music, which runs from 6/4/13 – 8/29/13 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington, VT.
When you visit Shelburne Pond Studios, you’ll be able to see two artists. At studio #132, Jill Abilock of Six Loons Studio creates one-of-a-kind work that is really inspirational. Her compelling storytelling and creative voice are enhanced by her innovative combinations of materials and structure. One of her pieces was featured in an exhibit review in Vermont newspaper Seven Days. And the woman is a fantastic folder.
#132, Lyna Lou Nordstrom, is the other artist with a studio at Shelburne Pond Studios. She is a wonderful printmaker, focusing her work on the painterly aspects of monoprinting. She recently taught a monoprint workshop for the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. I had so much fun playing with gelatin prints for the first time!
The fifth stop is #42, Marianna Holzer. In the Holzer family, binding and preserving books is a family tradition. Marianna is a third generation bookbinder following in her father and grandfather’s footsteps. Before founding a bindery of her own in 2008, Marianna helped to preserve and restore the permanent records of hundreds of municipalities across the United States for thirty years. The history behind her work is reason alone to go see her studio.
#93 – Carolyn Shattuck. A seasoned printmaker, Carolyn cuts up scrap monotypes and uses the pieces in her handmade books. For her, the book arts have been the focus of a body of work combining drawing and print assemblage techniques in three dimensional form. Many of her books include pop-up elements to set the scene for her deeply personal storytelling.
The last stop is #218 – Ken Leslie. Ken primarily creates books in a circular format – a practice that developed out of his dissatisfaction with rectangular painting shapes. His themes often focus on natural cycles, such as day and night. The size of his work ranges from miniature to really ginormous – you can walk through some of his books when they’re open. Ken shared his work at a Guild meeting and it was wonderful!
If you do go to any of the studios, share your experiences here and I will live vicariously through you. If you have any pictures, I’d love to see them…you can even do a guest post on my blog!
Vermont’s 21st Open Studio Weekend is just around the corner (May 25 & 26)! If you’re planning on visiting my studio (you know you are…), you can visit other great artists within a 20-ish minute drive of here.
There are 10 studios participating in the Montpelier/Calais area. Artists are offering exhibits and demonstrations of pottery, sculpture, photography, mixed media, painting, and more.
I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the green 2013 Vermont Studio Tour Guide. There are several ways to get your hands on a map:
Here’s the rundown of who’s who (click on the links to learn more about specific artists):
I created the map below to help you plan your travels. Because the studios are so close to each other, you can visit quite a few of them within a short period of time.
Today was another of my not-so-fun, running around like a crazy person, appointment days. Luckily, I was able to squeeze in a shopping trip.
My friend Nancy has told me multiple times to go to Hides Pride in Essex Junction, Vermont – she praises their selection of leather.
So I trot myself on over there, really wanting to spend some bucks for my upcoming leather journals workshop.
All of the leather is on shelves behind the counter. I tell the leather dude that I want to make journals and I’d like to see what he has in an upholstery weight. He tells me that I need to be more specific. I tell him that I’m not really sure how to be more specific.
At this point I’m really wishing that I brought one of my journals with me. I ask him if I can check out the leather myself so I can show him what I’m looking for.
Leather dude says no.
He remarked that he doesn’t like it when people mess up his leather. I ask him if he can bring out some different weights and I’ll pick the one that would work the best. He gets cranky and tells me that there are too many different kinds of leather and that it’s too hard for him to do that for me.
Wuh? I thought that you were in the business of selling leather?
So then I just point at some leather that looks about right and ask him if he can bring it over. He lets out a sulky sigh and brings it over. Luckily, it was about right. With pain in his face, he agrees to bring over similar hides in different colors.
In almost any other situation, I would have walked out. It rare to find a business that prefers to hide (no pun intended) its inventory from you so you can’t buy it. I’m pretty sure that it was the leathery smell that kept me in there.
I really love the grain of the different hides and all of the marks that remind you that the leather came from something that lived a life.
I can totally smell those pictures. If you’re thinking about taking my upcoming Leather Pocket Journals workshop at Studio Place Arts, then this what you’ll get to play with!