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Book Arts Improv Book #3: James Bond’s Bad Day

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I found myself quickly drawn to a few ideas when thinking about this week’s Improv themes. However, things didn’t really click for me until this morning.

It was the martinis that did it.

I became obsessed with why you never see James Bond in a bad mood. Sure, he gets in tight situations, but he’s always on his game. It bugged me and it had to change.

So, here are the themes I was working with this week…

  • An Irish drinking song: The Moonshiner
  • Something that’s comforting: our Tatra Mt. Sheepdog, Dolina
  • Famous last words: “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis”

…and here’s James Bond’s Bad Day:

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell – “James Bond's Bad Day”

The bookboard covers, carved with an inset of a martini glass, were covered with a gold Japanese bookcloth. The text block was printed in Book Antiqua on Mohawk Superfine paper. The end papers are made of a silver Stardream paper. The folded spine was made from an Indian marbled paper that picks up on the navy undertones in the bookcloth.

The book was bound using the Crown Binding, which was created by Hedi Kyle. It’s a brilliant structure with a folded spine that uses no sewing or glue to hold the signatures –  instead, folded triangles at the top and bottom of the spine fold down to secure folios.

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell – “James Bond's Bad Day”

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell – “James Bond's Bad Day”

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell – “James Bond's Bad Day”

I originally tried using the Stardream paper for the spine, but it proved too brittle and cracked. That’s when I decided to switch to a cotton-based paper that was much more forgiving.

I liked using the Crown Binding on the book because it reminded me of how James Bond works for the British Secret Service (get it?).

I had wanted to include some images, but there just wasn’t enough space. The way the paper is folded dictates how many signatures you can have. Two of the signatures were taken up by the title page and the colophon, so that left only four signatures that I could work with.

Here’s the complete text of the book:

I’d rather drive the Honda to work.

Gadgets, shmadgets.

Please stop hitting on me, it’s annoying.

The only one who loves me is my Tatra.

If you don’t like me, leave me alone.

Moneypenny, do you always have to be such a bitch?

Carrying a gun makes my butt look big.

I never should have switched from Scotch to Martinis.

This book was printed in a limited edition of 3 copies.

I’ll be posting the last batch of Improv themes tomorrow, so be sure to come back if you’d like to enter the weekly drawing.

I can’t wait for the final week!

Worktable Wednesday

Today I started working on this week’s Improv book and as per my usual, I’ve been adding inspirations to my Improv Pinterest board. One of the pins is for the Irish drinking song The Moonshiner, which has really fun lyrics.

I especially like the line – “If you don’t like me, leave me alone”. I think I have my cranky pants on today.

I guessed that Marianna’s dog had a meaningful name and I wasn’t wrong. According to Wikipedia:

Dolina is a Slavic toponym, meaning “valley” or “dale”.

What a lovely choice!

For whatever reason, I found myself drawn to Hedi Kyle’s Crown Binding. I’ve made the binding before, but not for an artists’ book. I decided to make a model as a refresher, so I followed Alisa Golden‘s directions in Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms.

The Crown Binding is simply genius. It starts with an origami-ish folded spine:

Crown binding - spine

The triangles at the top and bottom of the spine fold down to secure folios:

Crown binding model

Crown binding model

The binding requires no glue – the folds hold everything in place. Like I said – genius.

I’m not yet sure how all of this week’s themes are going to combine into a book, but I have some solid leads. Come back on Saturday to see the completed book!

Book Arts Improv: Week #3 Themes

Many thanks to everyone who entered this week’s Book Arts Improv!

And now, this week’s winning entry…

random number generator

number 5!

Congrats to Marianna!

This week’s themes are as follows:

  • An Irish drinking song: The Moonshiner
  • Something that’s comforting: our Tatra Mt. Sheepdog, Dolina
  • Famous last words: “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis”

The last call for suggestions will be posted on Sunday, January 25th and they will be completely different from those posted this week.

Come back to see this week’s completed book on Saturday!

Book Arts Improv: Call #3

Book Arts Improv logoWelcome to the third week of the 5th Annual Book Arts Improv!

In case you’re new here, in a nutshell, the Improv is a four-week stretch of improvisational bookmaking. Depending on the content and complexity of the book, an edition of three or more will be created each week.

Introducing this week’s questions:

  1. An Irish drinking song
  2. Something that’s comforting
  3. Famous last words

To participate in the Improv, just comment on this post with a response for each of the three categories listed above. I’d like to keep this suitable for all audiences, so please, nothing offensive.

I will accept suggestions until 5:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 20th. On that day, one entry will be selected at random and not only will that person’s suggestions be used for that week’s book, but the winner will also receive a copy of the book.

I look forward to seeing your entries!

Book Arts Improv Book #2: Godzilla, Extreme Couponer

I had such a hard time developing content for this week’s Improv book. Thankfully, this week’s winner sent me some additional inspiration – “Spam”, she said. Thanks Marcia!

I discovered that in the United States, Spam has the highest consumption in the state of Hawaii. The state is also home to the annual Spam Jam, a celebration for the whole family with food (Spam in its many forms) and entertainment.

That information seemed to get my brain moving. This morning I woke up, headed to the computer, and started writing. I wonder why it took me so long to realize that Godzilla was a compulsive bargain shopper?

Here are the themes I was working with this week:

  • A rejected theme for a restaurant: Canned goods
  • An intriguing title of a straight-to-video movie: Godzilla Goes Hawaiian
  • Something that should never inspire a topiary: Dumpster

I proudly introduce Godzilla, Extreme Couponer:

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell – “Godzilla, Extreme Couponer”

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell – “Godzilla, Extreme Couponer”

The bookboard covers were covered with a gold and black embossed lizard paper. The text block was printed in Book Antiqua on Mohawk Superfine paper. The end papers are Construction Blacktop cover stock.

The signatures were sewn over goat leather straps. I scalloped the ends of the straps to mimic the shape of the spikes on Godzilla’s back.

The images were created using a linoleum cutter and Speedball Speedy-Carve. I hand-stamped the images using dye-based ink. I’m really proud of my Spam stamp. I ended up not using the Hawaiian flower stamp I carved on Wednesday – I just couldn’t find a good place for it.

Hand-carved stamps and ink pads

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell – “Godzilla, Extreme Couponer”

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell – “Godzilla, Extreme Couponer”

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell – “Godzilla, Extreme Couponer”

Here’s the complete text of the book, along with notes in parentheses so you know which image goes where:

They call me a monster, but that’s no good.
The truth is that I’m misunderstood.

When I seem to be acting out in rage -
it’s because I don’t get a decent wage. (dollar bill image here)

I’ve had to become thrifty in order to be    
able to afford things needed by me

The thing that has the most appeal
is to discover the perfect deal.

Into the dumpster I often go,
looking for coupons that hide below. (coupon image here)

When I look at my stockpile
I just can’t help but widely smile.

I’ve got it all, but I’m most a fan
of anything that comes inside a can.

And I’ll do whatever it takes
to get for free what Hormel makes.

Every year, I save my money
with dreams of going to Waikiki.

So if you really give a damn,
just help me get my ass to Spam Jam. (Spam image here)

This book was printed in a limited edition of 5 copies.

I’ll be posting the next batch of Improv themes tomorrow, so be sure to come back if you’d like to enter the weekly drawing.

I’m looking forward to next week!

Worktable Wednesday

I have to admit that I’m pretty darn stumped with this week’s combination of creative inspirations. I’ve done some research (mostly on Godzilla) and pinned some things to my Improv Pinterest board, but nothing seems to be gelling yet.

Okay, so maybe I do have the spark of something, but it seems so small that I can’t tell if it’s going to go anywhere – The Psychology of Godzilla.

Oh, and I did some rubber stamp carving. I love the idea of Godzilla wearing Hawaiian shirts, so I carved a hibiscus flower.

Carved rubber stamp in progress

Here’s the stamped image (it still needs a little bit of cleanup):

Hand-carved hibiscus flower - stamped image

HawaiianGodzilladumpstercannedgoods.

I swear – by Saturday, it will work.

Book Arts Improv: Week #2 Themes

Many thanks to everyone who entered this week’s Book Arts Improv!

This week’s winning entry…

random number generator

number 5!

Congrats to Marcia (your time has come)!

This week’s themes are as follows:

  • A rejected theme for a restaurant: Canned goods
  • An intriguing title of a straight-to-video movie: Godzilla Goes Hawaiian
  • Something that should never inspire a topiary: Dumpster

The next call for suggestions will be posted on Sunday, January 18th and they will be completely different from those posted this week.

Come back to see this week’s completed book on Saturday!

Book Arts Improv: Call #2

Book Arts Improv logoWelcome to the second week of the 5th Annual Book Arts Improv!

In case you’re new here, in a nutshell, the Improv is a four-week stretch of improvisational bookmaking. Depending on the content and complexity of the book, an edition of three or more will be created each week.

And now, the call for suggestions:

  1. A rejected theme for a restaurant.
  2. An intriguing title of a straight-to-video movie.
  3. Something that should never inspire a topiary.

To participate in the Improv, just comment on this post with a response for each of the three categories listed above. I’d like to keep this suitable for all audiences, so please, nothing offensive.

I will accept suggestions until 5:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 13th. On that day, one entry will be selected at random and not only will that person’s suggestions be used for that week’s book, but the winner will also receive a copy of the book.

I look forward to seeing your entries!

Book Arts Improv Book #1: Craft Show Love Affair

I just completed my book for this week’s Book Arts Improv. Thankfully, the creative process was on my side this week and I didn’t have any major catastrophes.

Here are the themes I was working with this week:

  1. What’s the last thing you photographed? My booth at my last show for the year
  2. A bad response to “I love you”: I couldn’t say it until I really felt the same
  3. Something interesting you keep in your attic or basement: Several boxes of stone sculptures

And here’s the finished product – my first Improv book for 2015, Craft Show Love Affair:

Handmade book by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

The covers are covered in a reversible Unryu paper (the reverse is a dark green). I printed the text folios using Book Antiqua on Speckletone True White cover stock. The base accordion structure was made from Canson Mi-Teintes paper. The book measures 3.5 x 2.5 x 0.625 inches.

The form of the book is a nested accordion. It involves a slight variation from the form presented in Peter and Donna Thomas’ book, More Making Books By Hand: Exploring Miniature Books, Alternative Structures, and Found Objects. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the base accordion structure (grey) is all one piece of paper.

I rather quickly developed the concept of two people falling in love at a craft show. Craft shows are so intense – a lot can happen over a period of just a few days. It seemed that two artists could easily see each other across a sea of booths and instantly be smitten with each other.

I imagined that the gentleman (aren’t artists always polite?) in the relationship created indoor stone sculptures, so there are collages of cairns throughout the book.

Close-up of handmade book by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

Here’s the story:

I set up my booth,
put out my life’s work.
A typical show.

Then I see him
across the aisle,
obscured by boxes of sculptures.

I catch his eye.
He smiles.
I smile.

Opening time.
We brave the crowds.
An occasional furtive glance.

He mouths “I love you.”
My heart skips a beat.
But I’m not ready to say it back.

Two days go by.
The doors close.
He comes over.

He takes my hands,
smiles warmly,
says, “See you next year.”

We go our separate ways.
Inventory in the van
and longing in our hearts.

As I have done in previous books, I incorporated a pocket in the back of the book to hold the colophon. Mmm…pockets. This book was made in an edition of five.Colophon close-up - handmade book by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

I hope you enjoyed the book!

I’ll be posting the new Improv themes tomorrow, so be sure to come back if you’d like to enter the weekly drawing.

I look forward to next week’s challenge!

Worktable Wednesday

Today I started working on this week’s Improv book and I’ve created a Pinterest board to share my inspirations thus far.

I began by searching for images of stone sculptures and was immediately taken by the amazing work of Jiyuseki (Hirotoshi Itoh). He creates fantastic pieces that incorporate zippers (and teeth!) in the stone. His work was a wonderful discovery, but I don’t believe that this week’s book will be influenced by it.

I then moved on to cairns. As a fan of hiking in National Parks, I’ve always loved the stone sculptures that are created to help guide you as you travel. This is something that seems to be sticking with me as a solid concept.

Cairn collage

I like the idea of incorporating collage into this book and found myself drawn to the papers below (used in the cairn collage above).

Handmade papers

Then I spent some time looking at different booths – diner booths, craft show booths, even John Wilkes Booth (that was my hubby’s suggestion).

In thinking about how all of the inspirations come together, I developed the concept of two artists falling in love at a craft show. I have a rough draft of a storyline – here’s a bit of it:

Time for the doors to open
We brave the crowds
An occasional furtive glance

I don’t yet know what of my writing will make its way into the final book. I also don’t know what structure to use. I went through Alisa Golden’s Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms in hopes of being struck by something, but I’m not there yet.

You’ll just have to wait until Saturday to see happens!